Self-care routines make the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives more manageable.
We all have rituals—be it our morning and nightly routines, things we do when we’re traveling, and how and when we clean our instruments. Let’s make wellness a ritual.
Take stock of the rituals that serve you and the ones that don’t. Not everything we do has a positive purpose—some rituals keep us in a perpetual cycle of nonsense. If we look closely at the things we’re doing, we can see which actions we should keep in our lives and which ones we can do away with—just like if we were cleaning out a closet.
Take a Breath
We’ve talked a lot in past columns about meditation and taking a moment to relax and recalibrate, but breathwork in particular is important for musicians and athletes to increase lung capacity.
Three-part breathwork is one of my favorite and most calming forms of breathwork.
1. Start by sitting on your knees. If you have knee issues, sitting cross-legged is fine, but make sure to lift up and out of the hips. Position your thumb and first finger around each side of your waist. Breathe deeply for a count of five on both the inhale and the exhale. Notice the temperature of your breath on the way in and the way out. Breathe into the chest, breathe down into the bottom of the lungs, breathe down into your waist and hips. Do a round of 10 breaths.
2. Move the hands up into the armpits. Your thumbs should be in the hollow of your armpits and your first finger will be above your chest. Keep your elbows pointed straight out the sides. Breathe into the chest. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Do not forget to breathe down into the base of your lungs. Do a round of 10 breaths.
3. Move your hands to your upper back. Your elbows will be pointed to the sky. Breathe for another 10 rounds here.
If this breathwork is too much for you, try shortening each round or simply sit and breathe deeply to integrate mindful breathing into your daily life.
Food for Thought
Look at the food you’re eating. Is it processed? Is it mostly white sugar? Is it chock-full of pesticides? Sometimes we can’t help it—birthday cake is delicious and so is a hot dog at a baseball game, but if those are the exceptions and not the rule, then we should be in pretty good shape.
Some people are very concerned with how ethical their food is. I think it’s important to be conscious of what you eat, but as a teacher of mine once said, “If you want the cake and you do not eat it, then you are already abnormal!”
All in all, it is critical to listen to your body and make eating healthy its own ritual.
Find rituals that work for you—that’s the key. Making wellness a ritual isn’t supposed to make your life harder; it’s supposed to make it sweeter.