Holiday Survival Guide for Musicians
I don’t know about you, but all the advice during the holidays of taking care of oneself never really worked for me. Who wants to pre-eat before going to a party, so you don’t eat the tasty stuff? And who has time to exercise during musician’s busiest month? Here are my suggestions for surviving the holidays, culled from ten-plus years experience of making hay while the sun shines. Or making money while the carols jingle.
Know your minimum requirements for self care. Does having a clean house help you feel less stressed? Then keep that on your list. Don’t care if the dust bunnies multiple? Then they and their growing families can all wait until January. Does exercise help clear your brain? What is the simplest and easiest form you can partake in to get the clear head and boost of energy? Does bringing healthy food with you to a gig help you function better? Then cooking healthy food is a good idea at 7 am, or 11 pm. What is it for you that helps you function?
Adjust expectations. Once you know your minimum requirements for self care, try to let everything non-work related go. For me, eating healthy food really helps me function, so I bring snacks and meals with me everywhere. I’d rather take 10-15 minutes in the morning to put together a really delicious and satisfying salad then trust that I’ll find something half as good when I’m out and about. And sleep! This is at the top of my list always. I've left many a fun holiday party ridiculously early so that I can prioritize sleep. But I let go of just about everything else – exercise, cleaning, paying bills (I don’t recommend letting this one go!). What can you let go of, and what needs to stay on your priority list to stay sane?
Set boundaries and ask for help. Let loved ones and roommates know that life is different in December. Let them know about your minimum self care requirements and your adjusted expectations. Ask them to help pick up the slack, and perhaps promise to return the favor in January.
Focus on the positive. Remember why you are working your tail off this month. Remember why you love being a musician. Think about your favorite colleagues you get to spend time with this month. Find your favorite phrases in your performances. Keep them fresh and engaging to you.
Remember that this is temporary. Many of us will have a slow month in January. Know that December has only 31 days, and we are already one week in. Remind yourself of how you will take good care of all your needs once the dust settles and the carols end.
Finally, please enjoy this post from my friend Emily about making friends with eating during the holidays.
Happy Holidays, thanks for reading, and I look forward to communicating with you in the New Year!
With love and gratitude,