While enjoying my coffee this morning, I realised the importance of sharing my perspective. As an artist and musician dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), juggling the pressures of life and creating music and songwriting can be even more stressful. However, prioritising self-care and healthy habits is essential for overall well-being. Therefore, I want to offer my thoughts on how artists and musicians with PTSD can maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes setting realistic goals, practising relaxation exercises, and taking a holistic approach to music that nourishes life’s physical and spiritual aspects.
- Set Realistic Goals: When dealing with PTSD, setting realistic expectations for yourself as an artist or musician is important. Understand that recovery takes time, and it’s okay to pace yourself. Instead of overwhelming yourself with intense schedules or high-pressure performances, set small, achievable goals. Celebrate each accomplishment, as it will help build your confidence and motivation.
- Prioritise Self-Care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly. Engaging in physical activities such as yoga, jogging, or dancing can effectively release tension and boost your mood. I walk in the mornings near the river to help give my mind a boost with nature, and I also lift weights and do some basic boxing exercises to help get me moving and boost my mood. Remember, caring for your body directly impacts your mental and emotional well-being.
- Practice Relaxation Techniques: Implementing relaxation exercises into your daily routine to manage stress and anxiety. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help calm your mind and promote a sense of inner peace. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you, and make it a habit to dedicate time for relaxation regularly.
- Seek Support: PTSD can feel isolating, so it’s crucial to build a support system of understanding individuals who can provide emotional support. Reach out to trusted friends, family, or fellow musicians who can offer a listening ear and empathetic understanding. Consider joining support groups or seeking professional therapy to navigate the challenges of PTSD. Remember, you don’t have to face it alone.
- Embrace a Holistic Approach: Music has the power to heal, so take a holistic approach to your musical journey. Explore different genres, experiment with various instruments, and allow yourself to connect with the therapeutic aspects of music. Consider incorporating practices such as sound therapy, music meditation, or improvisational jam sessions into your routine. This holistic approach can provide a sense of fulfilment and nourish your spiritual well-being.
- Maintain Boundaries: As a musician, it’s essential to establish boundaries to protect your mental health. Learn to say no when you feel overwhelmed or need time for yourself. Prioritise your well-being and be mindful of your limitations. Overexerting yourself can lead to increased stress and potential triggers for your PTSD symptoms.
- Connect with Nature: Spending time in nature can be incredibly soothing and grounding. Take breaks from your musical commitments to engage in outdoor activities like hiking, gardening, or walking in a nearby park. Connecting with nature allows you to unplug from technology, find solace in the beauty of the natural world, and find a sense of peace amidst the chaos.
- Express Yourself Creatively: Use your music as a form of self-expression and emotional release. Write songs, compose instrumental pieces, or engage in improvisation sessions that allow you to channel your emotions into your art. Creating music can provide a therapeutic outlet, helping you process your feelings and experiences in a healthy and constructive way.
Remember, healing from PTSD is a unique and individual journey. What works for one person may not work for another, so be patient and compassionate with yourself as you explore different strategies and habits. Celebrate every small step forward, and remember that setbacks are a natural part of the process.
Integrating these healthy habits into your life can create a foundation for well-being and resilience as a musician living with PTSD. Stay committed to self-care, seek support when needed, and approach your music with a holistic mindset. You have the strength and courage to navigate this path and reclaim your joy and passion for music while finding inner peace along the way.