The Journey of a Music Therapist: The Importance of Self-Care

Kenzi Podell, a music therapist, is fresh off of passing her board exam to become a licensed music therapist. She learned a lot through the process of becoming a music therapist, and she wanted to share that hard-earned knowledge with others who are coming behind her in the process. Whether you’re just getting started on your own journey to becoming a music therapist, you know someone else who is, or you’re just curious as to what music therapists have to complete in order to practice music therapy, this blog series, “The Journey of a Music Therapist” should be helpful. 

Just tuning in? Be sure and read previous posts: Internship 101, Passing the CBMT Exam (part 1), Passing the CBMT Exam (part 2) and The Job Search.

Adulting: when one gets out of the college phase and starts doing “real world” stuff that is hard and not fun.

Life can seem really rough once you’re out of college. You no longer have an idea of what happens next, and that is scary. Look at it this way: leaving middle school, you knew you were going to start high school the next year. After high school, for many people, college or trade school was the logical next step. Each semester in college, you set up your schedule for the following semester, so you knew exactly what was coming next. But during the last semester of senior year, when you know graduation is looming, things aren’t quite as obvious. Maybe you’re going to graduate school or moving back home. But what is next? 

To all the new music therapists and other new graduates: It is going to be okay!

How do you handle this new lifestyle? By taking care of yourself and learning as you go. Self-care is extremely important. There are so many difficult things that life puts each and every one of us through. It is important to remember that youmatter and the way you treat yourself matters. You can’t fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty!

Self-care sounds like I’m suggesting you find a therapist, but surprise, it isn’t just about that! Yes, therapy is a really great way to figure out your feelings, but there are many other ways to love yourself as well!

  • Find a hobby. Learning something easy and fun is a great way to educate yourself while also focusing on something you enjoy.
  • Listen to music. I may be biased on this one, but music is so important. It can easily take your mind off of anything and speak your feelings for you.
  • Read something, anything! Books, magazines, newspapers, captions on the TV, they’re all reading. Reading grows your brain and brings you into another world. Plus, it doesn’t require any energy or physical activity!
  • Go to the gym. Speaking of physical activity. . . Working out is great not just for your body, but for your mental state too! It boosts all those hormones, endorphins and other happy things in your body to lower health factors and risk of depression. Plus, it is quite a confidence booster if you’re feeling strong and taking care of yourself!
  • Be social. Let’s be honest: everyone loves lying on the couch enjoying some TV, but go out. Get dressed up, and have a nice meal with friends, family, significant others or even just yourself! Remember to surround yourself with positive people.
  • Write it down. Get a journal or diary, or pull up a Word document on your laptop and write a sentence a day about something that you did or that happened that was positive! If nothing positive happened (we all have those days), write down one negative thing that happened, but afterward include how you can turn that around and fix it. 

There are even more ways to keep yourself from falling in the dumps. We all go through stages of feeling discouraged, but it is all just a phase. It is an overused quote, but when one door closes, another opens. We need to look for the open door.

As musicians, it is especially hard because we constantly have to advocate for ourselves, and rejection is fairly common. There are so many unique people in this industry that each and every person needs to find themselves in their passion. Finding the reason why you love music will keep you constantly fighting for more opportunities for growth. Those that are truly happy and love what they do are not stagnant.

Remember, there will always be someone willing to listen and support you. Love yourself so others can love you too. 

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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