Jasmine Ash Harmonizes With Clarity
From early mornings to late nights in the booth, singer-songwriter Jasmine Ash understands that balance is an ever-shifting equation. An avid artist and collaborator, she walks us through how self-care is crucial to her success in the studio.
What does self-love mean to you and how do you show yourself love?
The ultimate thing that you can do is love yourself. That's really all that you have. Nobody's going to love you like you love you. Right? My ultimate goal is to practice that self-love every day, in as many ways as I can. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Especially not right now when there's lots of moving parts and lots of things going on, and lots of big stressors happening in my life.
As far as tangible ways to practice self-love, I’m going to call it a good tonight and watch a movie. Put on Netflix and take a bath, eat chocolate, and drink extra water. And sleep in! It's not that easy to do those little things.
Is self-care important to you and your creativity?
I have to make self-care and self-love a priority. Otherwise, I'm useless. I have to be better at finding balance to avoid burnout. And now I'm working all the time. Right now, I’m moving and taking care of a lot of stuff. I always hope it’s not going to be hard. But a month in it feels never ending. So, I have to find that balance and be better at choosing those moments intentionally. Daily, weekly, whatever timing it takes to not burn out. Otherwise, I will be useless.
How does burnout affect your creativity and productivity?
Massively. Burnout is a real thing. I think this is an interesting time anyway because of the pandemic, and for somebody like me who lost their job overnight. I centered my career around going into studios, traveling and using other people’s gear, being around other people and collaborating. And I felt stranded, like I have nothing, and there’s nothing I can do. So I had to reimagine my whole life for the better part of two years, and to be in charge of everything. I could see myself going and going and going without ever stopping to take a breath. And that’s definitely burnout.
Mentally, when I get to that point, and I do get there often, I try to be better at balancing everything. When I’m burnt out, I’m not productive, I can’t work on anything, and I’m not creative. It zaps all of the energy out of me. I work hard at being creative and come up with new song ideas all the time. But it doesn’t come naturally to me, so it’s really important to find that balance to avoid burnout.
What have you kind of learned about yourself or your own process from burnout, and throughout the past couple years with all these challenges?
I think the biggest thing that I have learned about life in general is that it is okay to rest. I should be resting and not judging myself, or beating myself up for not having that high level of productivity all the time. It doesn’t work like that. If I’m burned out, I can still get stuff done, but maybe it isn’t work that I'm even necessarily proud of. A real big mental issue is that because I'm self-employed, I can make my own schedule for the most part.
I work with companies, and I have some structure that way, but my schedule is really up to me. I get what I give. If you think that way, it’s really easy to overdo it. I say yes to everything. I need to learn how to say no to things. There’s a lot of exciting projects that are happening, and it’s not easy to say no. What if I miss a great opportunity? But I’m trying to find balance in all of this. It’s an ongoing equation. When life or work is grueling, another challenge can become an opportunity. But you have to find balance in all of it.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in finding time to practice self-care or self-love?
I've worked to establish myself as an artist and as a writer. I have these other creative things that I've also been interested in, and that's growing. And I could work till 2 in the morning, or I could wake up at 5 in the morning. I just need sleep. I'm a person who really loves sleep and feels better having a great night's sleep. That's my number one challenge right now, and I’m up for whatever way I can get a good night’s sleep. That makes me way more productive and excited and inspired to be doing things, and going places and all the challenges that come along with my job. To put myself out there. If I don't get enough sleep, I'm totally useless. It carries over to the next day. And the day after that, too. It's cumulative.
How do you recharge your creative energy?
Definitely being outside. I'm from the Pacific Northwest. I love the fresh air and the mountains, hiking, camping, all that outdoor stuff that I just rarely get to do here. Getting outside and just pulling myself away from the computer and my microphone equipment. Taking a vacation helps too, but that's very few and far between. We just moved to a place that's way more walkable than our old place. There's lots of coffee shops and stuff. I'm hoping once I get a little bit more settled into a rhythm, I can make that a part of my routine. Just being out in the world, taking a walk with the dog. I always feel better afterwards.
How do you maintain your focus?
I'm pretty well trained at this point. I think I’m very used to collaborating and getting the job done. When I'm in a room you know, there's a real specific job, and that is to write a song, and I'm pretty good at it. But I think there’s always ways to be better at it, and that it's all the same answer. It's just about balance and making sure that I am having as much self-love and self-care as possible to be the best I can be in the room at that moment. And that's always going to be a goal.
Focus is hard though. There are so many distractions now. It's so real, especially with having “the world at our fingertips.” I've tried to have no electronics in the bedroom. It was very short lived. Or not looking at it after a certain time. I think there's a lot of studies and research that says if you're looking at a screen right before you go to bed, you don't get a great sleep.
How has Off Grid impacted you?
I've been using Focus and Mind and Body. I’ve noticed a difference and have felt more clarity and calm. Sometimes I get anxiety, and it manifests itself in a shortness of breath. It’s something that I have struggled with as an adult. When I notice that it’s coming on, I have been using a little bit of the Focus, and I feel like it does calm me. I feel like the anxious breathing doesn't happen as strongly. It’ll usually be really hard to take a full breath when I'm really experiencing that, and I think CBD has been really helpful. I've been loving it. It also has such an easy flavor. The other ones that I've tried, I haven’t really enjoyed the flavor. It can sometimes make me not want to use it. But Off Grid is subtle and doesn't really taste like anything, and it’s great.