Self Care in Creativity

Words and art by Cherelle Buscall. Art is titled 'Always Remember to Water Your Roots'.

In 2014 I worked in a managerial healthcare role. I had worked for the company for 13 years and I absolutely loved my job. When I found out I was expecting my first child I, maybe foolishly and certainly naively, expected that nothing would really change. 

Along came our boy. Our boy who nursed every 30 minutes day and night, who screamed hysterically and inconsolably. After several months of having what felt like no sleep, my husband, who has ME, really began to suffer with maintaining his health and so after much deliberation I left my job and became a stay at home mum.

It was upsetting for me to leave my much-loved job but upon discovering that my son had had a missed tongue tie (finally corrected at 6 months), a palate defect and several food allergies, and with my husbands health improving again I knew it was the best for our family as a whole.

But it left a hole for me in terms of how I viewed myself. Suddenly I was ‘just a stay at home mum’. Something I didn’t want to be back then, but something I now know takes real grit and internal strength to do. I was physically exhausted, mentally numb, emotional and tearful because I suddenly felt like I had no purpose other than to clean, nurse, wash clothes, change nappies. I also found that I had become completely isolated and would go for days without seeing another adult other than my husband. Even then, he worked 12 hour shifts in a demanding job and more often than not, he didn’t want to talk when he got home. 

I didn’t just lose my job but I also lost everything I did socially because I felt I couldn’t leave my son and go out. 

I can’t remember what the driving force was but one night when my son was asleep I picked up a pen and started to draw. It was therapeutic. Just a doodle of a feather. My body was relaxed and for the first time in what felt like an eternity I wasn’t thinking about cooking, cleaning, being a wife or being a mother. The process was almost meditative. I took a photo of my doodle and uploaded it to social media and went to bed. 

The next morning I woke to a flurry of notifications and encouragement about that little doodle and that day I found myself looking forward to getting a chance to draw again. For the first time in months people were saying positive things about something I was doing that wasn’t related to being a mum or a wife. 

Cherelle Buscall art

Over the next few months that little bit of joy turned into a passion. It was also like a healing process. During this time I met a network of amazing mums running small businesses who I still speak to daily now (some of whom I have since met in real life and consider friends). I stepped outside in nature daily seeking inspiration. My son, who was walking by now, would run around the meadows near our home in the long grass while I snapped inspiration shots of the bumblebees that were zooming about from flower to flower. While out walking I chatted to the dog walkers and as soon as evening came and my son was asleep I would draw and paint.

I realised that I felt driven to learn and master techniques and I felt so much pride when a painting turned out as I had planned. I also rediscovered my lifelong love of nature and re-connected with myself spiritually when I developed my art style and I started making decisions that benefited myself before anyone else. I studied some colour related subjects and last year I registered as self employed and started selling my art to the public. 

Now I have rediscovered my worth and sense of self. I am happy again and there is passion in my soul. I am also earning money for my family and I think that my sense of purpose and complete contentment feeds back into our home and makes it a much happier, laughter filled place than it was a few years ago.

I don’t think it makes a difference whether you earn money from what you love doing or whether you just allow it to nourish your soul. But I absolutely know that it is crucial to a woman’s mental, physical and spiritual well being to allow yourself the time to experience joy.