self care quarantine

Self Care Tips for Quarantined Music Teachers

When news of our schools closing to prohibit the spread of COVID-19 came through, we only had 90 minutes to say goodbye to our students.  The quarantine was very abrupt and left us feeling unmoored. We were meant to be heading into a week of leading music camps and concerts.  Now, we find ourselves, after having to deliver disappointing news to our students about canceled concerts, with a lot of unexpected time on our hands.  It would be easy to slip into hibernation right now, but we know that being intentional with our days will serve us better. We have come up with seven things that we are focusing on over the next several weeks.  We invite you to join us, and hope you find these suggestions helpful.

1. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness means that you bring your mind to the present and pay attention to what you are doing consciously.  It is easy to slip into being on “autopilot.” Spending a few minutes in the morning checking in with yourself and setting intentions for your day is a helpful mindfulness practice.  Zoe likes to focus on affirmations. You can create your own by asking yourself, “How do I want to feel?” Write your response in the present tense. Here are some of her suggestions:

Zoe’s Examples

  • I allow myself time and space to reflect. 
  • My mind is aware of the present.
  • My heart feels compassionate and is full of love.
  • My mind is stimulated by books, stories, art, scholarly articles, music that inspire me to be my best self.
  • I maintain boundaries with technology and intake of the news.
  • My body is free to dance.
  • My voice is clear to sing, laugh and converse authentically.

2. Sleep Regularly

Keeping your body on some sort of regular schedule will help keep you feeling your best.  Make time to work in 8 hours of regular sleep, and try to make yourself go to bed and wake up around the same time.  Our bodies have an easier time getting enough rest when we structure our days. Here is an example that Zoe created for herself.  Her husband, a night owl has his own version, shifted several hours later.  

3. Move Every Day

We were made to move!  You don’t have to do a grueling workout for hours each day, but especially since we are used to being up and moving around as we teach hundreds of kids, we will keep feeling better if we go outside and enjoy a walk.  

  • Go for a walk
  • Pop in a workout video
  • Do a yoga routine
  • Ride your bike 
  • Dance

YouTube is a great resource for free workouts.  Whatever will be most fun for you, warm up your muscles and move for at least 30 minutes.  Your body will thank you later with great rest!

4. Flex Your Brain

We suddenly find ourselves with time on our hands, and we have a special opportunity to learn something new!  

  • Pick up an instrument that you’ve been meaning to practice.  
  • Play along with a video on your ukulele
  • Fill out the New York Times crossword
  • Watch the MET stream their operas live
  • Catch up on TED talks.  

There are many opportunities to learn available for free online.  Find something that makes you happy and give it a try!

5. Hydrate

It’s easy to reach for soda or other beverages when we’re bored.  Fill up your body with the water it needs!

  • Fill a 32 oz water bottle twice a day and challenge yourself to drink both!
  • Drink a minimum of 64 oz a day
  • The ideal amount of water is half your body weight in oz, so a 150lb person would drink 75 oz of water.

6. Eat Well

Nourishing your body well will help keep you from feeling bloated and inflamed in a few days.  Think about eating as an act of care for your body, and how nourishing food protects your immune system.

  • Try eating 6 small meals a day
  • Eat within 30 minutes of waking
  • Eat every 2.5 to 3 hours for a total of 6 meals
  • Include protein, produce, fiber, and fat in each meal

7. Reach Out

Finally, make sure you continue to reach out and find community!  We are not alone as we navigate this strange season together.

  • Join a Facebook group doing composition challenges
  • Join us in our Teaching With Orff mindfulness activities
  • Facetime a relative who can’t accept visitors because of quarantine 
  • Host a Zoom party and do charades or Pictionary online
  • Share your ideas and insights with others who need to post lessons online for students.

This is an uncertain season for all of us, but we can move through it with mindfulness.  Choosing to reach out and navigate the weeks to come in community will help us grow through a time of stress.  Seeking ways to remain grounded and connected will only make us stronger.

Crystal Pridmore Zoe Kumagai

Crystal Pridmore is a music and movement teacher at Finney Elementary School in San Diego, CA who has completed three levels of Orff Shulwerk training. She is the President- Elect of the San Diego Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association, creator and cohost of the Chaotic Harmony Podcast, the Director of Advocacy for the Music for Every School Foundation, and a director for the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement. In addition, she is a certified health coach through the Center for Obesity Prevention and Education who coaches clients in healthy habits and nutrition. Zoe Kumagai is passionate about making music education accessible. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music in double bass performance from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the Longy School of Music/ Bard College. Zoe is certified in Orff Levels, I & II, Conversational Solfege and First Steps in Music. Zoe serves as secretary for the San Diego American Orff Schulwerk local chapter. Since moving to San Diego in 2015, she has been a teaching artist with the San Diego Youth Symphony. Zoe currently teachers general music and strings at Rosebank Elementary in Chula Vista.

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  1. Steve on March 18, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    …nice information…

  2. Inga on March 18, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    One of the best self-care lists I have seen. Thank you.

    • Crystal on March 19, 2020 at 10:21 am

      I’m glad it was helpful. Take care of yourself!

  3. Patti Yee on March 18, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Thank You!!! Wonderful article.

    • Crystal on March 19, 2020 at 10:20 am

      You’re welcome!

  4. D. Dille on March 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for this article. Our students left for Spring Break on March 12th, having no idea we wouldn’t be back. All of us are very new to this distance learning practice and aren’t entirely sure the “experts” at the district even know how music education is delivered, much less how it can be delivered on line. Right now we are in wait and see mode as THEY are going to tell US what were are doing next Monday, so we can’t even plan. Pretty sure no music or other specialists have been included in these “plans.”

    • Crystal on March 19, 2020 at 4:46 pm

      I’m sorry. That is so stressful. Try to do things that give you life and help you care for yourself right now. Sending you some love.

  5. Elise on March 20, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Very helpful, thank you so much!

  6. Kathy on March 20, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Crystal, this was a delight and so reassuring! Even my husband was lifted by your message. We all need these positive vibes! We will get through this!
    Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  7. Ash on April 16, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Crystal,
    This is a great article to help support music educators. Are you happy for me to share this on our blog for West Australian Orff music teachers?
    All credit will be given to you.

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