The weather has changed, the days have darkened, and all musicians know what this means- the holiday season mania is quickly descending upon us. The intensifying schedules packed with concerts, rehearsals, church services, charity benefits and everything in between, make for a hectic couple of months for musicians.
I just might be about to give you the most controversial advice about this crazy season:
I say this as much for my own benefit as anyone reading, because really the importance of rest cannot be overstated. I remember in high school, during my holiday season of juggling membership in 5 choirs, I received such a wise piece of advice from my mentor, which has always stuck with me. She said, “You have a choice- you can choose to take the time to rest now, which you have some sort of say over when and how you do that, or you can keep pushing yourself, until your body becomes sick and forced you into that period of rest”.
I had never thought of it like that before, and it really did change my perspective on actually carving out time to rest and give my body a break. I knew it would be infinitely worse for my schedule if I ended up sick in bed and had to cancel a load of things back-to-back. So instead I chose to cut back on other, less important things, like going on nights out for example, so that I could be intentional with my rest.
And resting doesn’t always have to mean sleeping or doing something non-productive. You can rest in such a way that your productivity still benefits. Whether that means low-pressure score studying, or listening to a playlist of repertoire, there are infinite ways to still be productive while also being restful!
But it’s equally important to recognize that simply resting is still beneficial, and more than okay! In order to function at our highest level for the work that we are called to do, our bodies need to be functioning optimally. Downing vitamins and eating healthily are very important elements, but actually carving out time for our bodies to rest is much harder.
St. Dymphna is often invoked as the patron saint of rest, and wow, is she a powerhouse of a saint. She is also invoked for those struggling with anxiety and mental health in general (hello seasonal depression, anyone?). May she intercede for us all during this busy season, and she assist us in finding time to rest and take care of ourselves!