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Ten Positive Things to Do for Yourself This Year
Jo Anne Stoddard
Regional Representative – Central Coast – California Chapter ACDA

As I write this article on August 1, I am beginning to feel that “empty” feeling I always experience when the month of August arrives. I’ll bet I’m not the only one! The last relaxing, peaceful weeks of summer are almost a memory, and the busy regimen of the school year is WAY too near. A basic habit like eating a balanced diet can become almost impossible due to time constraints. As I prepare my “self” for this onslaught, it occurs to me that we all need to remember to nurture ourselves when life gets so busy and we give so much of ourselves to others. (This is especially true for those of us who have children of our own.) So, I am writing this list for myself. I’m sure there are other readers, like me, who will benefit from this reminder.

I hope there is something on this list that will “strike a chord” and help you during the upcoming year. I wish you and your students a very enriching and successful year of music. Don’t forget to take care of your “self” along the journey.

  1. exExercise 4-5 times each week. As you plan your day, schedule exercise into the daily routine. The benefits will permeate into all areas of your life, including your teaching.
  2. Eat a balanced diet. When planning your meals, try to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein. A healthy diet greatly affects how you feel and how well your body performs.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Very few of us drink enough water. Having a water bottle nearby will also set a good example for your students. Unfortunately, coffee, tea, soda, juice, beer or wine do not count as “water.”
  4. Take your multi-vitamin every day. 
  5. Plan to arrive at school or rehearsal early enough to allow for total preparation — mentally, physically, and spiritually.
  6. Take a few moments daily to reflect on why you became involved in music. Who were the people that inspired you? Why? How can you exemplify those same traits more consistently and effectively to those you are leading?
  7. Consider making a personal “mission statement” that you can refer to when life becomes overwhelming. We all experience days that are discouraging. We need the “armor” to lift ourselves up and rejuvenate quickly.
  8. Don’t forget to do a daily “kind deed” for someone you encounter in your day. This could be your school secretary, a colleague, a parent who supports you “behind the scenes”,kind deed a student who has gone “over and beyond” your expectations, or, most importantly, a family member. One kind deed goes a long way.
  9. Try to read something that expands your awareness beyond music, teaching, or your profession. Tunnel vision is not healthy. We are in the enviable position of being able to affect positively many people’s awareness of social issues. We need to be well versed in current events and global issues.
  10. Use your musical talent for your own personal enjoyment. We often forget the joy and thrill of playing or singing as a performer because we are always standing on the podium with our back to the audience. It feels wonderful to switch places and re-experience the value of physically creating music!

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