Caregiver Self-Care Through Music: Getting In Tune With You

The Need for Caregiver Self-Care

Caregivers providing long-term care for others have a great need for effective self-care practices. Last week I wrote about some of the difficult feelings caregivers can experience when providing long-term care to someone. Today I’m going to talk a bit more about the importance of caregiver self-care. Specifically, I want to look at ways that caregivers can use music to enhance their self-care.

An older man plays the keyboard as a form of self-care

Why is caregiver self-care important? First of all, providing care to someone can be stressful and taxing in many different ways. This is especially true as the care receiver becomes less able to do things on their own. It may sometimes feel like you have to sacrifice your own life in order to take care of theirs.

And unfortunately, some ultimately do end up sacrificing their lives. In providing long-term care comes an increased risk for developing serious illnesses or impairments yourself. This is why you need to be able to engage in healthy practices that nourish you.

It’s like the classic airplane safety rule. Put on your oxygen mask before putting a mas on anyone else. In this case, the “oxygen mask” I’d like for you to try on is music.

Using Music to “Tune Into” Yourself and Your Needs

Music is a perfect metaphor for living and being. In this instance, I’m going to illustrate some ways that you can use music to tune into yourself and what you need as a caregiver. All of these suggestions are meant to be easily accessible or relatively accessible in terms of time and money.

Listening to Music

Some ways that you can use listening to music to nourish yourself includes creating playlists. These playlists can be based on different moods, experiences, and genres. On Pandora, you can create a playlist around a genre. Whereas with Spotify, you can create a playlist around an experience you may desire, such as relaxation.

Of course, going out to listen to live music can also be a nourishing experience. Here in the Longmont/Boulder County/Northern Colorado/Metro Denver area, we are fortunate to have many opportunities for catching live music of different kinds. Some of free and some cost money. Look online or in your local news publications to see what’s available near you.

Making Music

Now admittedly I’m biased here, but I think making music is one of the best ways for tuning into yourself. It’s active, engaging, expressive, and creative. Not to mention the holistic health impacts making music has on the body and brain.

Again, we’re fortunate in this area to have a wide variety of options for making music or learning how to make music. There are open mics and jam sessions all around Longmont, such as every Wednesday at 300 Suns. If you’re looking to learn how to play the piano or sing, I can work with you directly. And if you want to play the violin or viola, I can recommend someone to you.

If you’re in the Lafayette area, you may want to look at the classes and lessons that the Center for Musical Arts offers.

Moving to Music

Moving to music is another way to engage your body with music. Nia dancing and Zumba are two dance-based exercise programs that you may find interesting. For those who are interested in making music while working out, you might like the Golden Beats program from Drums Alive. (Just as an FYI, I hope to be offering these courses in the next few months, so be on the lookout!)

Of course, you don’t need to enroll in a special exercise program in order to benefit from moving to music. You may want to listen to music while you walk around. (Although always practice good safety. Be aware of your surroundings.)

You may even want to put on some songs and simply dance within the privacy of your own home. It’s all good. Just take the time to take care of yourself! You’re worth it!

You Matter

You DO matter, and I hope that you find these suggestions to be helpful. I know that caregiving is hard work- physically, emotionally, mentally, and even socially, and spiritually. If you think that you need some extra support and an empathetic, yet neutral someone to talk to, let me know.

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