I admit it: Transitions are not my thing. Whether it’s the end of a big project, a friend moving away, or the end of a season and the start of the next, I resist and resent the loss of the way things were. Of course that only makes things more difficult. And if you’re like most musicians, with all the uncertainty over the start of school this semester, you too may be dealing with a tough transition.
Between the late notice about whether or not programs were moving completely online, and the worry over what students and parents will choose to do, it’s been a roller coaster ride. Music faculty have scrambled to prepare courses with new guidelines and connection plans. Everyone’s anxious as we head into the semester hoping for the best and bracing for the scary unknown.
The promise to yourself that you keep
Here’s the thing: to stay healthy and resilient in these crazy uncertain times, it’s the consistency of our own habits—the keeping of promises to ourselves that can best help us feel secure and on track.
I know, it may feel like the world’s on fire, so why bother about keeping regular habits? Let me tell you what I’ve learned the hard way.
In order to deal with your own anxiety and that of your loved ones, you need to prioritize your self care. (Put your own damn oxygen mask on first.)
Here’s the thing: I’d gotten used to my summer habits, lulled into thinking these are my comfort zone “normal” . . .
- Not going to bed early enough
- Not eating meals at consistent times
- Falling off my regularly scheduled meditation and walking routines.
Just like for kids, we need to go back to the school year routine that helps keep us centered. What I know for sure is that having consistent habits helps you sleep better, do better, and be a better YOU.
Making the Commitment
So here’s what I’m committing to do. (Oh, this is scary to put it in writing, YIKES!)
To honor the end of summer and invite in the new year (instead of resenting or dreading it, or feeling “cheated” that I didn’t have my regular summer vacation) I WILL DO THE FOLLOWING:
A. Take a walk twice each day and notice the beauty. The trees aren’t complaining about the change of seasons, are they?
B. In the evening in my gratitude journal I will make note of at least one instance of beauty I experienced on my walks. That way I can appreciate the life I’m actually living. Gratitude is the best antidote for anxiety.
C. I will put no more than 5 things on my to do list each day and of these, I will name the ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING on the list and tackle that first each day.
Now, of course, we all have a lot more than 5 things we need to do in a day. But I’ve found the great thing about the short to do list is it forces me to figure out what’s truly important.
And because I name the absolute MOST important (scariest) thing that needs to be done first, that sets me up to feel proud at the end of the day—instead of defeated and ashamed.
The reward for staying consistent and doing the scary most important thing each day is this: I get to go feel good about myself. I don’t know of anything better than that.
On the path to a better year and a better YOU
This time of year the days are getting shorter, the evenings are cooler, and time is slipping by. Autumn always brings up that question lurking the back of my mind: “Am I on the path, living into the life I intend for myself?”
My 3 commitments above are my answer to that question. They are my way of staying on the path.
My question for you, Dear Reader, is this: what’s helping you in the transition this fall?
I’d love to hear what’s working! Post your answers in our Free MusiciansMakingIt Facebook group and join us in our weekly FB Lives on Tuesdays at 12 noon ET — we’d love to see you there!
And if you’d like to find out how getting expert coaching can help you bring more of your best work into the world, let’s talk.
Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well