When it comes to this time of year it feels like the air is filled with joy and happiness. The holiday season can be a favorite for many, but others might find this time difficult. There is the added stress of exams for students, special performances for performing artists or even just trying to find the perfect gift for someone special. It is important to remember that everyone has a past they carry in every situation. It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed during this time, but I tell myself that I will get through it.
Selfcare is important. From the reading I have been doing lately pertaining to injury prevention specifically with musicians and music educators, I became more aware of a couple things. First, intrinsic and extrinsic stress can be a significant factor. Ok, that wasn’t too much of a surprise. But second, musicians will oftentimes not listen to their body and push through the pain. As an athletic trainer that’s not the best thing to learn, but this goes beyond practicing and playing. If your mind or body need a break, try to give yourself that break. I’m aware that deadlines exist and sometimes there just isn’t the time, but let’s try to make a conscious effort.
I remember in one of my professional development courses I was asked, “what do you do for fun?” I struggled to answer. That’s when I realized I needed to find something other than work. So, I turned to things that used to make me happy when I was younger. I am far from a professional musician or dancer, but I find them both to be outlets that help me recharge, check in with myself, and make sure I am at my best mental capacity. Finding an activity to help with selfcare is ideal. It can be a simple as watching your favorite movie, reading a book or baking a fresh loaf of bread. Make time to focus on yourself. Learning something new can help you learn more about yourself. From my journey of relearning how to knit I became disturbingly aware of my perfectionist mentality. In a single day I restarted a project at least 20 times, and that went on for an entire week. I didn’t get frustrated by that though, because I knew that this knitting project was only for me and I was just doing it for fun. Having opportunities to try with no pressure on the outcome help you grow.
So, were does this fit in with PAISOC? By the sounds of it selfcare is universal, it is but it can take many shapes. I understand the sense of feeling like the minority (I loathe the term minority because on a global level people of color are far from the minority.) This goes beyond just color and culture, if you feel uneasy about yourself in whatever place you are in life, you can take solace in the fact that you can be comfortable with yourself. Sometimes at school, it’s difficult for me to turn to someone that understands where I’m coming from. It can be frustrating, if you know what I mean you know but for other people can be hard to understand. This is another time that having selfcare activities come in handy.
I’m not much of a resolution person, but as the new year approaches I will try to think about the small moments in every day that I can use to check in with myself to make sure I’m doing ok. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself that everything will be ok. I encourage you to give that a try. If you feel that you have a good handle on your selfcare look out for the people in your life that you care about. They may be struggling and need someone like you to reach out and listen. If you are struggling and are in search for professional help please refer to the resources at the bottom of the post.
Happy holidays, stay safe and healthy and remember to be kind to each other