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Hello Friends! Happy Friday!

I hope you all have had a wonderful week! Mine’s been pretty interesting…well, if I’m being honest, I don’t really remember the majority of this week. Like my title suggests, it’s been a very Topsy Turvy sort of week! For those of you not familiar with your Disney, this means it was an upside down sort of week!

Unfortunately my body decided to shut down on me and I got a weird cold that was fully equipped with chest congestion, sore throat, and runny nose. I was showering in hand sanitizer and devouring vitamin C drops, and cold & allergy medicine all week. Thursday got pretty bad and I was FORCED to take the day off and rest.

Yeah, I know, right?! I was like, body how dare you!? How dare you force me to sleep all day, watch Netflix, and just relax. What is this word relax??? I don’t know what it means?!?!? Who are you?! HOW DARE YOU GET SICK IN THE MIDDLE OF AUGUST!!?!?!?!?!?

During this week, while I carried around my own personal tissue box and drank what might have been my 2000th cup of tea, I realized how important self-care actually is. The topic of self-care has boomed over the past year, especially in the music therapy community. It’s a wonderful idea and I wish more people took it seriously.

While reading various blogs and posts about different methods of self-care, I also stumbled upon comments or blogs arguing that self-care is an excuse for those who are just lazy. It truly baffled me. I thought to myself: why is it considered weak or lazy to take care of your body so that you can perform at 100% all the time?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where meeting deadlines and accomplishing a million and one things within a second has become the norm and has become the definition for success. Even if that means that we end up compromising our own personal well-being. We forget to take a step back, take a moment to ourselves, and also take time to just enjoy whatever is happening in the moment.

Earlier this week I walked into a Starbucks to grab some tea and all I saw were people with headphones in, hunched over screens and piles of books. It made me sad. Granted, I’m the worst person to talk about how important self-care is when I myself don’t even follow good self-care techniques. If it was a year ago, heck even if it was just last semester and I had gotten this sick, I would try and plow right through my week.

I would come up with excuses like “I have to practice”, “I have a big exam”, “oh there’s this project”, or ” oh it’s just a silly cold, I’ll be fine”. I would have made every excuse in the book and figured out a way to keep working, not realizing that if I just took one day off to heal, I wouldn’t be miserable for 10+ days while my body struggled to recover. In high school and college I would have thought, “I’m the only one suffering, and as long as I get my work done it’s alright.” But this week I realized that if I don’t take care of myself, people around me would also be affected.

I also think that this lack in self-care stems from the fact that we as humans are so concerned with what other people think about us. We are afraid that if we aren’t accomplishing enough or doing what everyone else is doing, we won’t be good enough, we won’t be smart enough, we won’t be liked enough, etc.

How many times have you done something not because you wanted to do it, but because you were afraid of what others might think of you if you didn’t? I know I have. In high school I was the kid that took every single AP class, was a competitive athlete, as well as an active musician because others had labeled me as one of the smart kids and an overachiever, and I thought that this was what I was supposed to do.

During my first supervision meeting, my directors and I talked about confidence levels, being more authoritative, and having faith in myself. At one point in this meeting Katey had me stand up, do a power pose, and scream one thing that I was proud of this week (by the way, it was killing a spider for the first time — a big step for me for those of you who know my fear of spiders). This didn’t just push, but shoved me out of my comfort zone. The number one thought that went through my mind was what are people going to think of me? I’m going to look ridiculous; I can’t do this.

Then I realized that I used the word can’t. Last week I was raving about how much I hate the word can’t, and yet here I was using this word on myself. The number of times I use the word can’t on myself is crazy. I can’t be a soprano (Katey so lovingly proved me wrong), I can’t run, I can’t lift weights, I can’t dance, I can’t do this, I can’t do that. And all because I was worried what other people would think of me if what I did wasn’t done the “right” way.

I finally told myself this vicious cycle of thinking needs to stop. If there’s going to be one big thing that I change during my internship, it’s going to be the way that I think about myself. I am going to build my confidence. Everything I do will be done because I WANT to do it for myself.

One of my personal goals I set for myself during this new stage in my life is to read more books again. I just finished reading Ellen Degeneres’ book Seriously…I’m Kidding last night and her chapter “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” really resonated with me and fueled my topic for today’s blog. In this chapter she talks about how we should be happy. She acknowledges that good days and bad days happen. They have to; it’s all part of human life.

Here’s her advice:

“The thing everyone should realize is that the key to happiness I being happy by yourself and for yourself…… Happiness comes from within. You have the power to change your own mind-set so that all the negative, horrible thoughts that try to invade your psyche are replaced with happy, positive, wonderful thoughts……. However  you choose to live your life, just try to enjoy it as much as you can. Fill yourself with joy. And except what life throws at you, the good, the bad, the ugly, the awkward, the fun…”

So what I’m trying to say after this long rant is that self-care is important. Take the time to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Do whatever it takes, whether it’s going to the gym, watching a movie, talking to a friend, sitting in silence, or indulging in one extra cookie after dinner. Do it because it makes you happy and don’t worry about what other people think.

I will openly admit that I have purposefully themed my outfit for the day around a Disney princess just to help me boost my confidence, give me energy, and make me feel motivated. (Please visit my Instagram if you would like examples!)  When you are in a good place mentally, physically, and spiritually, you not only benefit yourself but you also benefit EVERYONE that encounters you.

So dear readers, go out, have fun, accomplish everything your heart desires, love everything about yourself, and be the best version of yourself that you can be!

Thank you for reading! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! See you next week!