7 Self-Care Tips for Music Educators

Teaching music is a creative job that relies heavily on human interaction and personal connections with your students. While this profession is immensely rewarding, it is also very challenging, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you run the risk of burnout. In this article, we look at how music teachers can set a […]

Teaching music is a creative job that relies heavily on human interaction and personal connections with your students. While this profession is immensely rewarding, it is also very challenging, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you run the risk of burnout.

In this article, we look at how music teachers can set a self-care routine.

three smiling women talking

1. Surround Yourself with the Right Kind of People

Let’s face it — music teachers have demanding jobs! To make this challenging job a little easier, it’s paramount that you have a support network that you can count on. Surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook on life because you become who you spend time with.

In addition to friends and family, reach out to other music educators at your school, in your district or across the country. Having easy access to a network of people is one of the perks of being a teacher.

During the pandemic when social distancing and quarantining were the norm, it’s even more crucial to maintain healthy social connections, especially with people who share similar aspirations and interests.

If possible, schedule regular check-ins with your network of music teachers where you can share your success stories as well as your struggles and challenges. You can even brainstorm creative lessons plans and assessment strategies.

2. Flex Your Brain

man thinking with finger to his temple

Any time you have some extra time on your hands — which isn’t very often! — take the opportunity to learn something new and flex your brain. Below are some ways in which you can build new neural connections for a healthier brain:

  • Get a new instrument you’ve always wanted to play
  • Find some interesting videos on YouTube to play along with
  • Play brain games like sudoku or crossword puzzles in the newspaper
  • Watch live performances of your favorite artists
  • Watch inspirational TED talks
  • Rock out on your favorite instrument just for fun without worrying about the quality of music

Always find something new and interesting to learn.

3. Reflect on Your Feelings and Needs

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, try to recognize and write down your emotions. Become aware of your feelings and take some time to reflect on them. Ask yourself, why are you feeling that way? What is it that you need at that exact moment?

female writing in journal sitting next to window

For instance, perhaps there has been a change in the curriculum that’s stressing you out. You’re worried about how you will incorporate this change into your classroom. You may need some time to process, reflect and write down some possible solutions. Consider collaborating with a colleague and have a brainstorming session to work on a solution.

It’s also a good idea to set aside dedicated time to do nothing but reflect on your emotions, thoughts and needs. Journaling is an incredible way to do that. Or try exploring art and other creative subjects, which are excellent means of healthy expression.

4. Acknowledge Moments of Happiness

Look for moments of beauty and joy every day. Be grateful and enjoy whatever fleeting moment of happiness you experience. Never pass an opportunity to have a hearty laugh or share a joke. Life is all about moments that make you smile and feel appreciative.

Write down those moments of beauty and happiness in a journal or in your daily planner to etch them into your memory. Share interesting anecdotes or stories with your colleagues and students to spread joy.

5. Feed Outside Interests

Make sure you find work-life balance. Don’t allow your profession to become the be-all and end-all of your life. Find new interests and hobbies. What activities nourish your soul? What things are on your personal to-do list? Perhaps there’s a book you’ve been meaning to read. Or a spin class you want to join.

Grab some paints and a canvas and create a quick painting. Try a new recipe. Take a walk or go hiking. Paint your nails or play your guitar. Savor these moments.

6. Get Enough Sleep

When you’re in a creative field, it’s easy to get swept up in the moment and become so engrossed in your craft that you sacrifice sleep. In the long run, this is an unhealthy practice and not sustainable.

How can you ensure that you have a regular sleep schedule?

  • man sleepingResist the Phone: Smartphones emit blue light, which can disrupt your circadian rhythm and mess up your sleep cycle. It’s tempting to reach for your phone every five minutes to check on work-related emails — but don’t do it! The best thing is to turn off your mobile phone when it’s bedtime. Also, keep the phone brightness on “reading mode.”
  • Keep Your Feet and Hands Warm: When you have warm feet and hands, it’s much easier to sleep. Try wearing socks or rubbing your hands to produce some heat.
  • Avoid Pulling All-Nighters: During exam season, you may feel that pulling an all-nighter is the only way to get through your heavier-than-normal workload — but don’t do it! This will negatively affect the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls short- and long-term memory. Quality sleep is essential for your brain health.

7. Don’t Measure Your Success by Productivity

Most creative people can relate to being addicted to perfection and productivity. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Avoid measuring your work by how much you can produce or how productive you are.

Wherever you are in your music journey, all you should expect of yourself is to do the best you can. Take and do things at a reasonable pace and be flexible when circumstances change. It’s easy to feel trapped and think you’re not good enough or doing enough — don’t do that! Treat yourself gently and with respect.

No matter what your profession, these tips can go a long way in helping you live a more fulfilling and enriched life.

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