As a fully remote company made up of musicians, the topic of self-care often comes up around the virtual watercooler here at Bandzoogle. We regularly share tips on how to keep ourselves healthy, focused, and strong, both mentally and physically.
Now more than ever, musicians face unusual circumstances, and more creative people are contained at home. Although the journey towards self-care is an ongoing process, we thought we’d brainstorm and share a few of the things that have been collectively working for us.
Exercise and fresh air
Sounds obvious, but the number one suggestion from our team to help maintain a sense of self-care was exercise. This isn’t necessarily something that comes naturally to a musician with a sedentary lifestyle, but with fewer gigs, making up that physical activity can do wonders for an active mind and a healthier body.
As a producer and studio owner, our Support Manager Adam emphasizes how important it is to get that outside time in, saying “it's really easy to get insular when working as a musician / producer type, and studios are not known for things like windows and fresh air. While social distancing is a thing, even getting out to a park for an easy walk for an hour I find is critical to maintaining a clear head. Getting fresh air, practicing breathing on a casual walk clears out mental cobwebs and when I get home, I find I have more mental clarity and focus.”
Customer support tech Sinead also reminds us that “getting some sun exposure and Vitamin D is key to synchronise your biorhythm, improving subjective well being significantly, and improving your sleep.”
Bored of going for walks? “Walking a different route than you usually do breaks up routine and invites new energy,” suggests Developer Justine. Or try a different form of exercise that you can realistically fit in and do at home, such as a yoga practice after tucking in your kids for the night.
Making small goals
Making small goals each week is a good idea, as is breaking your tasks down into smaller pieces, so it's easier to manage.
Support tech Hailey does this to help find balance, saying, “my goal each week is to go to my jam space and practice music. I keep it pretty lenient on when and how long, so I don't feel daunted by scheduling. Don't think of what 'other people' are able to do, think about what you're able to do.”
Even fitting in the little things might seem overwhelming, and choosing how to spend your limited energy without pressure or self-expectation may help to conserve that mental strength.
Be kind to yourself
Support tech and folk musician Anita notes that the pandemic has, understandably, put a pause on so many creative endeavours - and that it’s ok not to be creative during a time of crisis. As a musician and artist, she’s been undertaking smaller processes and projects to lay the groundwork for future creativity, should it happen.
For musicians, she suggests “organizing your studio/jam space, learning cover songs or expanding some technique, and helping someone else with their creative project” as a way to dip your toes back into creative work.
Our Head of Growth Marketing Wes echoes this, noting that it’s important “not being too hard on yourself if you feel like your creativity is missing, or if you feel like you're not creating your best work. Just keep the momentum in your practice.”
Trying something new
Many of us here at Bandzoogle rely on hobbies and have developed these for when we can’t go about our normal routines. Channelling these hobbies into a form of self-expression can be a saving grace in darker times. And giving yourself permission to not necessarily be good at said hobby is totally ok.
Support tech and drummer Luis says, “because I wasn't going out to restaurants and bars, I saved some money and decided to invest in new instruments to experiment with (synths and drum machines). This made me put attention into them instead of wanting to go to a rehearsal when I can't. It helped me stay connected with my main passion and hobby (music) even when shows and rehearsals are not allowed.”
Setting up 30 minutes a day to explore something new could be enough to improve, and also to notice progress (which may boost your self love). If a hobby feeds your soul and clears your mind, it’s worth trying. From gardening to beekeeping to baking, we all have pastimes that we talk about amongst the team. And of course, there is music.
Connecting virtually, even if not in person
Technology can be so sweet in helping us connect these days, with funny Facebook filters and Zoom chats. One way to beat the isolation blues is to make time to Facetime or otherwise call your friends, family, and loved ones.
Our entire remote team recently ‘met’ online via a Google meet to eat pizza and play Minecraft on a virtual server. It’s not the same as in-person time, but works to help us connect to each other across time zones and distance.
Meditation as a tool for self-care
Our Project Manager and former opera singer Justin uses meditation as a way to allow positivity to enter his mind. “You can start out with as little as five minutes a day,” he advises. “Generally, it's better to practice for short times, many times, than for super long sessions every once in a while. So, if you can, try to get that five minutes in! And don't worry if you don't feel calmer right away, or if your meditation isn't 'perfect'. Trust that the process works and you will see positive results if you keep at it.”
Things to be grateful for
It can be difficult to remember what things used to be like, or to clearly see a way forward without getting lost in the now. Making time to write, and to think about the good things that exist, mindfully, can be a great spirit booster.
Our QA analyst Desi has developed a tool called Three Good Things that reminds her to record 3 things, big or small, to be grateful for each day. On a not so good day, it’s also inspiring to look back and remember those things that you felt grateful for.
Spending time with animals
Setting aside time to be with your furry friends can have such a positive affect on your mind and mood. Support tech Marce, an avid animal lover and pet owner, recommends “spending time with pets, just playing with them, caressing them, even talking to them. Sounds silly, but they can really calm you down when feeling stressed or anxious.”
We truly hope that anyone out there who is suffering knows that they are not alone. Have you adjusted or added any routines or things that have helped you adapt to the strange new normal that musicians are facing? We would love to hear what you have tried, and what’s working for you.
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