Are you always too tired to paint your miniatures? Do you lack the energy to slay the unpainted “gray horde“? If you have a lot of miniatures and models in your collection, but can’t seem to find the physical energy to tackle them, consider improving your general health. Painting miniatures is a poor way to get exercise, of course. You’re sitting at a desk for hours, and your heartbeat never goes above resting state.
In this article, I share 9 ways to improve your miniature painting endurance. If you’re like me, even leaning over to pick up a dropped plastic bit off the floor is taxing. And, your entire body strains to get upright again. This is a sign of poor health and can put a serious damper on your ability to enjoy your hobby.
What is miniature painting endurance?
It’s not this. Miniature painting endurance isn’t about motivation or the desire to paint minis.
No, I literally mean your health endurance to sit for long stretches.
If you want to truly enjoy your free time, then you need energy.
Your physical endurance in your day-to-day life strongly effects your hobby time (source).
Unfortunately, I think most miniature painters lack good health.
(I know there are exceptions!)
Many of us are sedentary and only getting older. It sucks, but the Truth hurts.
And, no, we can’t avoid any of this. It catches up to us and we slow down. In recent years after having kids, I’ve discovered my inability to have enough energy to focus on painting models for long stretches.
I’m simply exhausted at the end of the day. Aren’t you?
According to a publication in the Journal of Gerontology (source), it is clear that physical exercise can improve mental health and combines well with mental relaxation associated with creating art.
Although I understand the importance of exercise when it comes to making art, I also admit it takes a lot of time. But, investing time into our health can improve our ability to create more (and perhaps better) art.
For miniature painters, this could mean the difference between crashing on a Friday night, or having enough energy to crank out another painted model before the new week starts.
If you go into a store, you’ll see row after row of vitamins and food supplements meant to increase your energy. But, there’s little scientific evidence that these products like ginseng or chromium picolinate will help you in the long run. They only boost your energy, temporarily.
In the long run, drugs and vitamins are all fake energy. You pay for it later.
No, there are more durable ways to improve your health and endurance for miniature painting and other hobbies.
Here are 9 natural ways to improve your miniature painting endurance.
- Control your stress!
- Reduce your responsibilities
- Don’t smoke
- Limit your sleep
- Eat often for energy
- Use caffeine to your advantage
- Restrict alcohol
- Drink water
1. Control your stress!
Reducing your daily stress is amazing for those looking to paint miniatures.
Sure, miniature painting is a way to reduce stress. But, think about the mental strain painting miniatures can take on you, too.
Painting miniatures requires mental and physical endurance.
Stressful emotions and events in your daily life suck up a ton of energy from you. Are you a “spoonie”?
If you know what I’m talking about, then you’ll understand how reducing stress will make every other hobby and pass time activity you do more fun.
Control your stress. Talk with friends or family. Join a support group or community of likeminded individuals. Go play a game. Learn how to relax. Be mindful of yourself.
2. Reduce your responsibilities
Don’t overwork. If you’re feeling tired and lack motivation to paint miniatures, it’s possible you’re simply burnt out.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated “burn out” as a syndrome in the ICD-11(source)
Suffice it to say, working too hard is a problem.
And, when I mean overwork, I also mean burdening responsibilities with professional as well as family and social obligations.
Set your priorities and only do the most important ones. Reduce or remove tasks that are less necessary for you to your daily living (and health).
You’ll find yourself at the hobby desk more, and it won’t feel like “you have to” be there, either.
This is a simple one.
Exercise will help you with everything you do in your hobby and daily life. You’ll sleep better with more exercise.
Sleep is a key factor in maintaining your energy levels throughout the day. With exercise, your entire body will become more efficient.
This also means that your mind will have to expend less thought on survival, and can devote energy to creating things, e.g., your hobby, your painting.
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Exercise also releases the same pleasurable hormones and chemicals, e.g., dopamine, that create a sense of pleasure that you get from creating a new art piece or painting. The release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones released during exercise, can also make you feel more energized.
If you haven’t got the point already, I’ll say it another way:
Exercise will boost your creativity.
Look, I know exercise is hard. But, it doesn’t take much effort to get moderate exercise.
Even a good walk around is a good start and can yield benefits. If you’re looking to paint miniatures with more energy and vigor, get up and move.
4. Don’t smoke
Yeah, I said the obvious.
Smoking wreaks havoc on your brain and body. I know smoking is common among us tabletop gamers and hobbyists.
A smoke break is a time to hang out with buddies and an excuse to escape from whatever you’re doing.
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Here’s one major way smoking kills your energy for other activities you might want to do: it contributes to insomnia.
Nicotine (the chemical released in burning tabacco) is a stimulant. It raises your wakeful state and keeps it running for a long time. Although you may feel a boost or high from smoking, this is temporary. And, you’ll need to continue smoking to maintain that the same “normal”.
The cravings to smoke will also interrupt for your miniature painting “flow“, pulling you out of the zone.
5. Limit your sleep
Did you know it’s possible to “over-sleep”?
It’s a bit counter-intuitive to say in the context of needing more energy, but finding the right amount of sleep you need will help you sleep better.
If you limit your sleep to only when you need it, then you will find yourself falling asleep faster and have a more restful sleep.
Importantly, for those who want to paint miniatures, but find themselves with too little time, restricting sleep may free up that extra hour a day.
Here’s how you limit your sleep to only what you need:
- Don’t take naps during waking hours of the day
- On your first night, go to bed late and keep to four hours of sleep
- If you feel rested with four hours, build up your sleep time, adding 15-30 minutes of sleep the next night
- Keep adding sleep on each night as long as you find yourself sleeping soundly the entire time you’re in bed
What you’re doing is training yourself to be in bed only when you need to sleep.
You’ll find yourself with more time during the day, and feel more energized.
6. Eat often for energy
To naturally boost your energy levels, learn to eat smaller meals throughout the day.
This goes against what many of us have learnt over the years, but frequent, small snacks will give you a more energized feeling during your day. If you’re working on a large painting project, or working long hours, you won’t experience that postprandial thermogenesis fatigue, e.g., “food coma”.
Experts say to eat foods with a low glycemic index, which are foods that your body absorbs slowly (converting it to energy).
(Don’t always believe what experts say.)
Foods that your body doesn’t breakdown quickly will give you more constant energy, rather than the sudden boost. The constant flow of energy you gain with more frequent eating and healthy snacking is more useful.
Foods with low glycemic index that are great for people who want constant energy throughout their day include high-fiber vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, protein and fats. Stay away from high-carbohydrate foods, which have high glycemic indexes.
If you’re painting miniatures, this means cutting back on the potato chips and soda. Instead, nibble on beef jerky or high-fiber granola bars.
7. Use caffeine to your advantage
“Moderation is the key to life”(source)
I don’t really believe this, but when it comes to caffeine, too much or too little is a waste of time.
Caffeine is a stimulate found in many tasty beverages. A cup of coffee is a great way to increase alertness, but is also only works within a short window of time.
You have to drug yourself carefully.(me)
If you don’t, you’ll break your carefully honed sleep pattern.
When you’re painting miniatures, a cup of coffee is awesome. It kicks you into high gear and maintains cognitive fluency (at least in some people).
Basically, I’m saying that caffeine is great when used in moderation.
Or, it can royally screw you up.
8. Restrict alcohol
If you’re painting miniatures, alcohol is probably a great drug, too. As a sedative, alcohol relaxes you. If you’re feeling a bit on edge with your next painting project, maybe that beer won’t hurt.
Look, and if you’re serious about focusing on doing a great job on those miniatures, you’ll want to keep alcohol to a minimum to keep your energy levels going when you need it.
But, if you’re looking to maintain your energy levels through the day, you may want to avoid alcohol to avoid the slumps after it wears off. As your body tries to breakdown alcohol, you become dehydrated (the main cause of wicked hangovers).
And, that gets me to my next point.
9. Drink water
Staying hydrated is probably the easiest and hardest way to boost your miniature painting endurance.
When you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
It’s too late. Your body is now in deficit mode.
To stay hydrated and maintain your energy levels, your body needs water constantly.
If your body runs low on fluid, you’ll get tired. Simple as that.
You should be consuming 15.5 cups (or 3.7 liters) of water a day (source). This sounds like a lot, but it includes the water in your food, too.
So if you manage to drink 2 quarts (or about 1.9 liters) of water a day, you should be good to go!
Painting miniatures is all about control.
Here’s what I mean.
In many respects, miniature painting requires that you control your brush and paint. But, it is also about controlling yourself.
If you’re frustrated with your lack of energy, then take a look at other things you’re not doing.
Get more sleep, stay hydrated, and avoid those things that sap you of strength.
I hope this article was useful as an overview of things you can do to maintain your desire and energy levels to enjoy your hobby. Miniature painting is amazing in that it can change how you perceive things around you. It can also be the focal point for a healthier lifestyle.
Thanks for reading; happy painting!
4 thoughts on “9 Natural Ways to Improve Your “Miniature Painting Endurance””
Great article, you can apply these principles to really any part of your life. As a photographer I recently found myself trying to capture a protest/march. I had to run to keep up with the march and try and get out in front of them. Let’s just say I was a little winded lol. I’m not in terrible shape by any means but I know I could still do better.
Absolutely informative and useful content! This “If you want to truly enjoy your free time, then you need energy” is fully correct words, I like this sentence. All points are really effective, this is also supportive for me. I like your article and thanks for sharing this!
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As a fellow miniature painting enthusiast, I found your article very helpful. Your tips on posture, lighting, and breaks are all great reminders to take care of ourselves while pursuing our hobby. I also appreciated your advice on hand exercises and hydration. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and helping us all paint better and longer!