As a college music major with a demanding schedule, how do we begin to take care of ourselves in ways that are meaningful?
In this blog, we will be navigating through what self-care is and how we can embrace it in a way that nurtures us to be our best selves.
There are many misconceptions revolving around self-care, especially in the college music environment. The first is that music majors do not have time for it. That is 100000% false. We are indeed swamped, but there is always time for ourselves. If we don’t have ourselves, we don’t have anything.
Another misconception is that self-care takes up a lot of time. It doesn’t need to! Whether you take an hour to meditate in your practice room or a whole day off from thinking about music school, you can find activities and intentions that suit your schedule.
Misconception #3 is that self-care is selfish. SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH. Taking care of yourself and your mind is the greatest thing you could ever do for yourself.
Misconception #4 is that you have to spend money on self-care. That is wrong. You do not need to spend $100 on a mani-pedi or go to retail therapy (even though you most certainly can, and I have done). It can be as simple as journaling…or even drawing a bath and going to bed early.
The thing about self-care is, it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and sparkles. Sometimes, the best form of self-care that you will need is tough love. It is about making that dreaded phone call to your parents. Taking your hygiene seriously. Cutting out toxic people in your life. If you are behind in schoolwork, taking a night in instead of being with your friends to catch up. Or, the opposite! The same goes for practicing; if you are behind on your practicing, take a night in to practice and find ways to make it therapeutic—prioritizing the connection behind music-making. Some of these things may not be considered self-care, but they are if they are tied to your needs. Anything that will ease your mental state of mind or help you move forward can be regarded as self-care—even blocking that ex off your phone!
How do you know what self-care is right for you? Take some time to reflect. What do you need right now, in this moment? Where are you feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Exhausted? And, do you feel recharged by alone time or by activities that connect you with others?
My Favorite Forms of Self Care
I will share some of my personal go-to’s for self-care that have made a difference in my daily routine. Some of these may work well for you, some of them may not- and that’s okay! What is important to note is that everybody is different. So find what works for you and let that be your guide! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Taking Breaks off of Social Media
- Here we go… the phone talk. Whether you believe it or not, that thing is attached to your hip. You will be AMAZED at how you feel when you even take a couple of hours off of Instagram or Facebook. Not only do you become more mindful about yourself, but you can begin to be more present with others. Consider scheduling daily breaks or limiting scrolling to specific times during the day.
- A Nice Hot Bubble Bath (Or Shower)
- I don’t know what it is, but cleaning off the stress of the day with a candle and music playing is good for my soul. It allows me to relax, as I am very prone to being stressed.
- Making Comfort Food
- I love pasta! If I am having a tough day, I love to make some of my favorite food, such as pasta. Cooking is a welcome distraction from the grind of music school, and it is nice to be reminded of the other simple gifts of life.
- Journaling/Letting Out Your Feelings
- If there is a lot on my mind, keeping it bottled up inside is extremely unhelpful. So I always try to find some healthy outlet to let it out, whether confiding in a friend, writing it down, or recording a voice memo. You could consider keeping a notebook by your bed a conducting a “brain dump” at night when your head is spinning. Writing down your thoughts and reminders from the next day can help provide some clarity for rest.
- Calling a Loved One
- For me, this is my mom. Calling her and hearing about her day and telling her about mine gets my mind off things. I love being able to talk to her about anything. It keeps me grounded and helps me remember that there is a life outside of music school.
Repeat after me: I deserve self-care. We all do. We all deserve the love that we give to others. So let’s normalize treating ourselves with kindness and respect as we do for other people. Being a college music major is really freaking hard; the least we can do is take care of ourselves, so we can get through it and enjoy it.
What about you? How do you practice self-care as a college student? Or, if you’ve graduated, what advice would you give your former college student self?