By: Gabby Jones, Music Therapy Intern
As I’m nearing the end of my internship, I’ve reflected a lot on how far I have come. It wasn’t a straight or smooth path, nor was it all downhill. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a therapist and a musician, but also as an individual navigating the end of my time as a student, and the beginning of my journey as a professional. In the last several months, I’ve come to realize the ways in which I work best, and also the ways in which I recharge best. As someone who is passionate about preventative self-care and mental well-being, I want to acknowledge the importance of rest in the midst of hard work. Here are the ways in which I have learned to take care of myself, despite working the hardest I’ve ever worked:
2. Eat healthy.
Although quick and easy junk-food meals often sound the most desirable, I recognize how important it is to fuel my body with good food for my brain. I eat meals with enough protein to keep me going, as well as carbs that immediately kick in and help me refuel faster. Although I often treat myself with a piece of candy or a starbucks, I make sure to balance it out with food that won’t let me crash when the extra sugar wears off. It’s about balance! Here is more info on the effect that various healthy foods have on your memory and overall brain functioning.
3. Similarly, drink water!
Water is known to increase energy levels and help with concentration. Therefore, the more water you drink, the more productive you can likely be. We are supposed to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. However, water intake also depends on how much you’re using your body AND brain. I’ve realized that I thrive on about 3 refills of my hydroflask - that’s 94 ounces of water per day. The more water, the better! Here is more info on the benefits of drinking water.
4. Set personal work boundaries.
In the professional world, there is pretty much ALWAYS something that needs to be done. I’ve learned that my to-do list in my planner is never empty, and probably never will be. However, I work hard to make sure that I am allowing myself to rest at the end of the day and on weekends. I set deadlines for myself, of course, but I also make sure that if I’m feeling drained at the end of a long day, I step away from my emails and revisit them in the morning. Overworking leads to burnout.
5. Do things you like to do.
After a long week of hard work, I often treat myself on the weekend. I read a new book, watch a few episodes of a show I’ve been wanting to watch, go hiking with my family, or go out with friends. I remind myself that although work is important and a huge part of my life, it is not my entire life. I am rightfully entitled to spend time doing things that help me feel like myself during the time I have off on the weekends. Similarly to the previous point about setting boundaries, I make sure that even if I have a long week ahead of me, I take the time to nurture my mental well-being by having fun and relaxing, at least for a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays so that I can go to work on Monday in the healthiest headspace possible.
In conclusion, I’ve learned how important it is to take preventative measures to ensure a healthy mind and body while balancing a busy work life. Similarly to the points listed above, I also like to journal, exercise, and spend time meditating or praying.
What are some measures you take to properly balance work and personal life? If you feel that you don’t take care of your mental health related to your work life as much as you’d like to, what are some things you’d like to try?
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Providing music therapy services for early childhood to older adults, music instruction and enrichment plus continuing music therapy education in Greater Charlotte Area of the Carolinas.