Spend time each day doing something you enjoy, like listening to music. Just a few minutes can help you remain balanced, avoid burnout, and give better care to patients.
This is a time of extraordinary stress and trauma. Even in pre-pandemic times, there was a great need for coping strategies. Now more than ever, clinicians need help. Music has something to offer.
Take a ten minute break. Put on headphones or a turn on a speaker. Find a comfortable position away from distractions and close your eyes. Play this track.
Allow yourself to be carried with the music. Let go of your thoughts and just breathe. Follow the flow of the sound, like floating on a gentle breeze across a calm lake. Let the music carry you. Allow anything that comes up to arise, without judgement. Then let those thoughts go.
This piece, called “Healing Love,” is from the album “Peace,” which I originally played and recorded for my father during his time in hospice care. The music helped ease the pain and trauma of what he was going through.
Focusing on relaxing sounds reduces stress, as shown in this study, in which music was found to be as effective as anti-anxiety medication on pre-operative patients, without the side effects.
When you have 15 minutes, try the track “With You.” If you only have 5 minutes, try this one. The album also has a few longer tracks for deeper relaxation and healing. All told, there are five hours of soothing music to de-stress.
Have some favorite relaxing music already? Anything that you find peaceful will help. Simply focusing on the music can help you feel refreshed and renewed. Alternatively, a more active approach that many have found helpful is to write, stream-of-consciousness style, while listening.
Taking at least 5 to 15 minutes a day practicing stress reduction will help you remain balanced, avoid burnout, and give better care to your patients.