My favorite self-care activity is making music. Music can be a powerful, healing force. In this difficult time, music can be a solace, an anchor, or an uplifting force for your spirit.
How often do you have time to spend with music in the foreground? It’s a luxury for most of us. Sure, music becomes part of our background when we’re driving or exercising, but how often do we take time to listen? How often do we allow the cascades of sound to wash over our weary spirits and cleanse us of our worries? How often do we let music inspire our bodies to move, and release pent up frustrations, anger or even overflowing joy?
Listening is powerful but this “enforced” time out may give you the time to finally learn an instrument, or train your singing voice. YouTube has scores (pun intended) of instructional videos for many instruments and singing.
Learning music increases brain function and has been described by Johns Hopkins researchers as “a total brain workout.” i Listening to music can reduce anxiety, improve mood, increase mental alertness, and delight your spirit in ways nothing else can.
Speaking of YouTube, many musicians and songwriters are streaming music now while they are unable to tour. Take the opportunity to know your favorites in more intimate ways (and perhaps offer support through PayPal or Patreon contributions).
Another suggestion for this time with time on your hands: record playlists for yourself of your favorite songs. Or make a playlist for someone you love. Create a variety of playlists: soothing songs, upbeat songs, dance songs, inspiring songs, or even blues songs (yep, sometimes singing the blues helps depression!). Then you’ll have your own personal song self-care arsenal.
Music may not be your thing, or you may be drawn to another outlet for creative expression (cooking, painting, writing, drawing, learning to ride a unicycle, crocheting … let your imagination run wild). Whatever creative pursuit lures you in, follow it. Treat yourself! This can be an incredibly rich and creative time for all of us.
Keep your brain young with music [web post]. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/keep-your-brain-young-with-music.
Written by Dr. Kate McLennan, LCSW – Therapist, San Marcos