Seeking Creativity: These Designers Live Well to Boost Their Creativity

The path to well being varies for everyone. It might include spending time with children, playing pickle ball, drinking green juice, getting enough sleep, being in nature or following a specific diet.

Scientific research shows that being creative boosts brain power, improves concentration, strengthens problem solving skills, benefits mood and supports well being. But the flip side is that when creative people don’t work (we all have the capacity for creativity) and don’t avidly practice self care, a devastating funk can ensue. Depression can happen—and send our lives into a tailspin. Perhaps that’s why so many artists, writers, fashion designers, interior designers, musicians and other creatives have turned to wellness as the rocket fuel that keeps them on track. The path to well being varies for everyone. It might include spending time with children, playing pickle ball, drinking green juice, getting enough sleep, being in nature or following a specific diet. The goal is to figure out the recipe that gets you to your harmonic happy place. We talked to a few vibrant creatives to find out what they do to stay mentally and physically well. Their answers will inspire you.

Nicole Miller, Fashion Designer, New York City

Fun Facts: Renowned for her colorful fabrics, body-clinging cocktail dresses and neckties, this fashion designer also boasts her own wine label.

“My favorite exercise is spin class– I go several times a week. I feel like I get both cardio and upper body in one session. I didn’t get to work out as much during Covid since so many places were closed but now things are back to normal. I prefer to work out in the morning and not after work.There are so many exercise options in Tribeca and I do go to Pilates as well. I am also very into sports and I ski, ice skate, water ski, wakeboard and roller skate. I am rarely sitting still. I think it’s really important to keep moving and walk when you can and make sure you are active. I only have one coffee a day in the mornings.  My diet is pretty much a French idea. Only eat things that taste good and don’t over eat. I love having fresh juice in the  morning, especially grapefruit. I try not to deprive myself but I don’t really have a sweet tooth ,so one bite of dessert is usually plenty for me. Also I get on the scale everyday and have always maintained the same weight. That pretty much sums up my routine!”

Jay Jeffers, Interior Designer and owner and designer of the boutique haven The Madrona in Healdsburg.

Fun Facts: On ELLE Decor’s A -list, he’s best known as founder of JayJeffers Inc., the author of two design books and as the designer of luxuriously liveable interiors. 

I always find time to prioritize my wellness routine. I’m a big fitness buff. I’ve got a personal trainer in San Francisco whose office is about a mile away—sometimes I run to my workout for added cardio. When at The Madrona, we do our workout on Zoom in the boutique hotel’s gym. I love the Peloton strength classes on their app—particularly the bodyweight core classes. I enjoy doing them on on The Madrona’s private gym deck for an added sunshine boost. This year, I’ve added some additional dynamic stretching into my routine. For stress reduction, I aim for “sofa puppy time” with my two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for at least an hour each evening.

Lane McNab, Interior Designer at Lane McNab Interiors, Berkeley

Fun Facts: Lane McNab Interiors specializes in homes, boutique retail spaces and larger projects. Her forte, incorporating contemporary elements to historical architecture, has been widely touted. 

“On top of it being a new year, I am turning 50 in a couple of weeks and taking time for myself is essential. I start everyday with a meditation /wellness podcasts.  My current meditation is on abundance. I try to really visualize where I want my business and life to go in the coming years.The other thing Ive been doing consciously is working on strengthening my female friendships. I have a lot of amazing women friends but I am making a conscious effort to spend more time with them and nurture and cultivate those relationships. It’s the best kind of self care.”

Johanna Preston, Shoe Designer, Co-Founder Preston Zly, Melbourne, Australia

Fun Facts: An integral figure in the Australian fashion scene with a global presence, Johanna Preston began Preston Zly in a small warehouse workshop in Fitzroy. Her bespoke, hand-crafted shoes, comfortable, edgy and stylish, have been featured in thousands of fashion shows and photo shoots around the world. 

“In terms of self care, I have spent many years struggling with anxiety, so I rarely drink anything with caffeine – even my tea is decaffeinated. When I am particularly anxious, I find that grounding myself by engaging all 5 of my senses calms me down.We really like to go camping over the summer months, away from phone or internet coverage. I like get out into nature and let my bare feet touch the earth. We have recently stopped drinking alcohol – as we find ourselves going pretty hard at times – and are determined to keep it up for at least a year. This has had a huge impact on the quality of my sleep. I aim to get at least 7 hours of good quality sleep a night. And, I love good sheets, so it’s great quality linen that helps me achieve this!”

Stephanie Gottlieb, Jewelry Designer, New York City

Fun Facts: Garnering a huge celebrity following and 400k Instagram followers, diamond expert and trendsetting jewelry designer Stephanie creates sophisticated, fun-to-wear pieces with distinction. Look for them on Bethenny Frankel, Kyle Richards, and Abby Wambach, among others.

“Self-care for me is a fun day with my husband and kids, followed by a bath, an eye mask, and a glass of red wine, and then 3 hours of trashy TV to follow.”

Holly A. Kopman, Interior Designer at Holly A Kopman Interior Design, Mill Valley

Fun Facts: Based in Mill Valley, Holly’s style epitomizes rebellious glamour, with pops of color and artistic riffs throughout. Marin Magazine dubbed her Marin County’s best designer this year. 

I am an avid downhill skier, so during the week in winter, I do HIT training (High Intensive Training) three to four times a week. I have to move my body every morning. It’s the answer to my job stress. HIT is very intense. The days I don’t do that I workout with a personal trainer. 

Melissa Bowers, Interior designer, art consultant, and stylist, New York

Fun Fact: With clients as delicious as Sonia Rykierl, Miami Beach’s Faena District and Helmut Newton, Melissa Bowers started her career in fashion as a visual merchandiser for Katayone Adeli in the 90’s. Recently, she has become the go to interior designer for a bevy of restaurants and bars in New York City.

“I practice, Vedic Meditation, twice a day for 20 minutes with a mantra. I’ve been doing it for six years.  its been 6 years. I meditate within the first hour of sunrise and the same in the evening at sunset. There is no better way to clear the head and get into a creative state.  My wellness routine includes: a meditation, a work out or a run (client Anna Kaiser’s are my favorite work outs) and  every few weeks I visit Healing Arts New York ( for vitamins and supplements.”