Self-Care: Check-in

At the moment, I feel pretty great.  I’ve slept in the past two mornings.  I’m currently sitting at my kitchen island with no makeup on, drinking fresh homemade lemon ginger tea.  I’ve actually gotten to see and spend time with my husband the past two days (which is incredibly rare because of our conflicting work schedules).  Not to mention, I’ve been “catching up” on some things that have taken a back seat recently. I feel pretty awesome at the moment.  I’ve found my chill.  My Happy Place.

lemon ginger tea

But the past couple weeks (let’s all be honest here… the past couple months really) I’ve been a mess.  I’ve been so caught up in the hustle of every day life and work. I haven’t been sleeping well.  I’ve been stressing excessively about everything going on both at work and at home (all good stuff, promise! just lots of it). And  my body has been sending me huge flashing signs that things aren’t right.  I’ve been feeling sick, tired, and achy but all without being actually sick.

I’ve been in a not so great place both mentally and physically.  

Last weekend was a huge turning point.  I had the most incredible opportunity to stop everything, travel to another state, spend time with incredible people, eat awesome food, get a little spoiled, enjoy amazing scenery, laugh, and just relax.

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The best part???  I didn’t open my computer, check my email, or return any phone calls (except to my amazing husband at home) for THREE DAYS!  3 DAYS!

Rachel and I even went live on facebook on our way home to talk about how we need to invest more in self-care because she and I had never gone three days without talking about work.

Since getting home on Monday afternoon, I’ve done my best to stay in that positive place and keep going with the self-care.  For me that means getting a good night’s sleep.  Going for a run.  Getting a massage, occasionally.  Stopping to spend time with my mom.  Having dinner with people I love. Taking time to put on my makeup and dress nicely when leaving the house. Listening to a podcast. Making tea.  Lazing on the couch. Etc.

The phrase “sleep begets sleep” has come up a lot in conversation the past couple months and I think it can translate really nicely to self-care.  Self-care begets self-care.  It is a practice, a habit, a mindset, and a routine.  Self-care does not always come easy to me, so I have to practice.  Some weeks, I do better than others.  But I know the more I practice taking care of myself the easier it will come and the better off I will be for it in the end.  It has never been more clear to me that “you cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself.”   Resting, treating my body well, and tuning into my overall well-being help me to really hustle when I need to and to be more present and helpful for others.

How do you engage in self-care?

The Weather & Whether or Not to Cancel

Living in Illinois (or anywhere in the midwest) often means coping with unpredictable weather: the kind of weather where one day it is 52 degrees and sunny and the next we have an ice or snowstorm leaving the roads basically impassible.   Over a foot of snow is usually a pretty good sign to cancel lessons/sessions, but what about those times where the weather isn’t awful, but it isn’t great?  What then?  

I have a couple ways to cope with situations like these:

1. Let the Family Choose – When in doubt, you can contact them to see what they are comfortable with.  If you can make it to work but don’t know if families what to make the trek or go out in the -10 weather, simply ask them what they want to do.  I find that families sometimes appreciate a phone call or text message to check-in when these circumstances arise. 

2. Listen to Your Gut – Do you feel safe on the roads?  Are you uncomfortable going to work in those weather conditions?  If you don’t feel safe, cancel your plans.  Your clients would prefer to take a day off  than take a chance.

3. Offer a Makeup Day – If you are offering a large group class, build in an extra day or two into your calendar.  This will allow some flexibility in the event that you are sick, you have to cancel due to weather conditions, or there is an emergency.

L&L group pic

We had a small snowstorm this past week on the day I had an early childhood class scheduled.   Because the snow was winding down and most of the roads were being cleared, I decided to lead the class as scheduled.  Unfortunately, only 2 of the 6 families came to our class, and one of them was also 15 minutes late due to the weather.  We have also had several absences due to winter illness, so I decided to offer an extra “make-up” class this week that was free of charge.  I want to keep my clients both safe and happy.  Offering options like a make-up class can be the little thing that makes a big difference for the families I work with.

How do you decide when to cancel? 

Oh, We’re Going for a Ride

I am SOOOO excited to share this new song with you.

This song was created nearly 20 years ago by my mom and my aunt while on a car trip.  It has remained an important song in my life and has been a part of every trip for the past 20 years.  I want to thank my mom, Sue Kratz, for helping write and record this song that is so dear to my heart.

I hope you can use this song to help transition and get excited about car trips and travel!



Travel Trouble

Over the past couple weeks I’ve talked a lot about being a traveling music therapist.  I’ve shared tips, favorite apps, podcast lists, funny quips, and much more.  Today, I am delighted to share a specific story about the trials of being a traveling music therapist.

Things were going really smoothly today as I was on my way to do music therapy session and lessons this afternoon!  That is until I saw a series of two police cars, lights flashing, pulled to the side of the road.  Soon after, traffic slowed, then came to a grinding halt.  For the next 2 HOURS, we crawled a grueling 3 miles.

Of course, this meant my whole day would be thrown off.  At first, I thought my sessions would just be pushed back a few minutes, maybe an hour.  As our journey continued, I found out I was in for a long haul and had to cancel several sessions.  I had made my (normally 45 minute trip) into town to see only 1 client.  ONE.  At that point, I was simply thankful that I had even made it in time for that individual.

To make matters even more exciting, my gas light was on the entire 2 hours of the crawl, there were tornado and severe thunderstorm watches throughout the area, and my bladder slowly began screaming at me.  All traffic was directed off the highway because an overturned firetruck was blocking both lanes of the south-bound highway.

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Photo taken from:

I  screamed with delight when I finally saw a gas station and was able to stop to empty and refuel.    Thankfully, I was able to make it there!

Overall, I kept a very positive attitude about the whole experience.  I had to laugh.  The whole situation was simply hysterical.

Lessons learned:

  1. Always, ALWAYS, have more than a 1/4 tank of gas. 
  2. Don’t drink too much water.
  3. Always have water and snacks in the car.
  4. Leave early
  5. Find ways to keep your mind occupied (podcasts, music, car games, etc)
  6. Check traffic reports
  7. Find a local radio station with traffic and weather reports

10 Truths of the Traveling Music Therapist

Do you find these 10 truths of the traveling music therapist to be true for you?

  1. You feel like you live out of your car.
  2. You get more oil changes than the majority of your peers and put more miles on your car than you could imagine.
  3. You end up spending more time (and money) at Starbucks than you ever thought possible and find the stray Starbucks cup, sleeve, or napkin in your car on a regular basis.
  4. You learn that driving is exhausting and can quickly lead to burn out.
  5. Some days your office ends up looking like this when you come home…photo (9)
  6. You don’t want help with your instruments because you’ve finally found a way to “balance” them all.
  7. You know how to improvise because inevitably there comes a day when you leave something important at home.
  8. Your car makes strange noises when you turn or hit a bump because of all the instruments in the trunk.
  9. You find stray egg shakers and drum sticks in the most random locations.
  10. You work strange hours and always take your work home with you.

What other traveling truths can you share?