Social life – Self-care – Musicianship – House-keeping. Pick 3.
I’m guilty of skipping self-care and minimizing my social life to find time to do the things I want to do. The result is that I get some extra things done. But my mental health suffers in the process.
Musicians have crazy lives. There is no way around it. Our craft demands hours and hours of practice and performance. On top of the rehearsals, performances, practice time, and well – time for anything else (social life, grocery shopping, cleaning your house) – how do you make time to take care of yourself?
First off – I should define what it is I mean by self-care. For me, self care is exercise, yoga, meditation or some combo of all three practices. It’s time in my day where I am intentional with developing my mind-body connection. For me and my body, that might mean an intense cardio session, lifting weights, practicing yoga, or lying on the floor meditating (Alexander Technique: semi supine). But for you and your body that might mean something else entirely.
Exercise and self-care are my therapy. The time I set aside for self care is the time in my day where I get to process and work through my emotions, reconnect to the present moment and find my inner peace.
It was a grueling habit to get into but one that I cherish each and every day. When I am practicing my mind body connection, I feel confident in my skin and ready to take on the world. This confidence spills over into every facet of my life – including my music practice. I know I’m a much better musician when I am confident and empowered in my body and mind.
As I’ve developed my own self-care practice, I’ve found 3 tools that have really helped me hone in solid self-care routine.
1.) Find Your Why
What is a why?
Finding your why for daily self-care (i.e. working out) will be the ultimate game changer for showing up. A why is a single reason that will motivate you to go do the thing.
A rock solid why is something that will drag your ass off the couch each and every time you “don’t really feel like it.”
A few things a rock solid why is:
- A deep exploration of the prompt, “What will motivate me to show up each and every day?”
- A infallible mantra to lift you up on the days you don’t want to show up.
- An acceptance that who you are is enough.
A few things a rock solid why is NOT:
- A belief that who you are right now is not enough
- An “I want to be in shape for XYZ event” statement
- A “I will be worthy of love and attention when I have an XYZ body” statement.
The most powerful motivational tools are the ones that lift you up, not tear you down. ‘I want to get fit for X event’ as a motivational tool is not a rock solid why. It implies that who you are right now isn’t good enough and tears you down before you even begin! I will challenge the hell out of the statement each and every time I hear it. Who you are right now is someone with amazing strength and courage that is ready and willing to take care of themselves. Hell, if you are reading this article, who you are right now is someone to be celebrated for wanting to make this change. Who you are right now is enough.
That said, the best way to discover your why is to dig deep into this prompt and really brainstorm what is it that motivates you.
My rock solid why is that I don’t break promises to myself. Ever.
For me, it’s infallible. It lights a fire in my core and drags my ass off the couch when I’m not feeling it. The phrase “But you promised” lifts me up every. single. time.
Ask yourself,” what motivates you now?” and if you find your wheels spinning on empty, ask, “what would motivate you?”
Perhaps your rock solid reason includes one or any combination of the following statements:
- I will show up for myself.
- I will show up for myself and be a role model for my family, significant other, kids.
- I believe in myself.
- I am worth all of this hard work.
- I can do this. I will do this. I am doing this.
Or your rock solid reason is a statement that is equally powerful.
What will set your heart on fire? What will kick your ass to get off the couch?
Some whys that have failed me in the past were:
“I want to look good for my sister’s wedding.”
“I want to be skinny.”
“I want to lose the fat around my stomach.”
These whys were so shallow that each and every one of my attempts powered by them failed within the week or month. I steer people clear of them because as soon as the event is over, the motivation is gone. Or when it becomes challenging to lose the weight around a certain body part (Just a reminder – I’m in the best shape of my life and I still have a nice plump belly), you’ll lose motivation or worse – incite intense shame.
When the work gets hard (and it will) you’ll say “eff this” so quickly you won’t even remember the attempt.
2.) Make This Time Sacred – aka – Something’s Gotta Give
Most musicians don’t have the luxury of taking 2 hours of out their day to go pump iron at the gym. So how do you find time in your busy day? You have to make this time holier than thou.
If your schedule has open space for a workout – commit to working out and keep this time sacred. Like my girl Rachel Hollis says – if you had a lunch date with your favorite person – you wouldn’t reschedule it for anything. I.e. if Zac Efron was going to take me out to lunch, you bet your ass I wouldn’t skip it to stay at home and watch his new show on Netflix.
I know working out isn’t the same as going to lunch with a celebrity – but you have to treat it like it is.
This time for yourself is sacred. Working out is your time to center yourself, give back to your body, sweat out the days toxin, keep your heart healthy, strengthen your immune system and so much more.
If your schedule is jam packed – we need to have a talk.
Your life is too damn important to put off taking care of yourself. Eventually your mental health will suffer. Your musicianship will suffer. Burning the candle at all ends is detrimental to you and your health.
Have a deep long look at your schedule – and see what can reasonably go.
I’m going to be super drammatic when I say – your life depends on it.
3.) KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid
There’s an acronym in design called KISS which stands for keep it simple, stupid. The idea is to keep systems simple rather than complex or complicated.
I like to apply the same approach to working out.
Make it simple to go workout. If that means going to a gym – join a gym! If that means working out at home – have a dedicated space to workout at home!
When you are planning what will work for you, ensure that you have a solution that is simple and practical, not complex. If you have to drive through hellish-traffic for 20 minutes to get to your gym or if you have to move a couch every time you workout at home – how likely are you to do that every day? That would be making it complex – and complex routines aren’t easy to follow every day.
When you can make it as simple as possible to show up – it’ll make it that much easier to show up.
What’s an example of a simple routine?
I thrive on working out at home and it’s usually the first thing I do when I get home from work. I change my clothes, tie my hair up and press play on a workout video. The space is setup, my clothes are there and it takes me less than a minute to start sweating. That is keeping it simple.
You can do this!
Get that rock solid why squared out – and the rest will fall into place. And if you need a little help – reach out to me. I’d love to help you get started! I don’t care about the path you choose – I care about your health and you finding what works for you.