My previous post on nutrition, sleep, and exercise shared some guidance for optimal health, wellness, and longevity. Read that first if you haven’t yet.
While I stand by every word, I recognize that for my audience of musicians who often live on the road and spend odd and long hours in the studio, that ideal can be difficult to achieve. So let me offer some advice to those musicians who don’t always have the luxury of near-by Whole Foods, 8 hours of restful sleep, or convenient places to regularly exercise.
As I wrote in the previous post, we all have to discover a routine for nutrition, sleep, and exercise that works for us. On the road or within an unpredictable schedule, however, your job becomes even more difficult to not only be aware of your body and mind’s needs for health and energy, but to be creative and willing to find ways that provide for those needs within inconvenient and uncertain circumstances characterized by a musician’s lifestyle.
Here are a few things to consider that can help you make the best of your health as a working musician.
- For some, this may seem funny, but reducing your recreational drug and alcohol use is a good first step. Believe me, I know that these things feel good in the short term but they cause harm in the long term. And these two posts are focused on your long-term health and wellness. Enough said.
- Be conscious about your food choices. In most restaurants or road-side stops, there are better and worse nutritional choices. Even in a 7-Eleven, there are better choices than the luke-warm pizza that’s been spinning behind glass for the past 9 hours! Think, don’t just give in to your cravings for carbs, sugar, and fat.
- Regarding exercise, seek out opportunities to get fresh air and sunshine. You are not a vampire. Throw shoes, shorts and a t-shirt in your travel bag and find 30 minutes to get out and run or walk. Maintaining your fitness doesn’t require much. Maybe avoid hotel elevators in favor of stairs. Hey, I hear that many hotels these days even have exercise facilities!
- Make good choices that provide for just a couple more hours of sleep. The after-the-gig-hang is fun, but by using some discipline, be aware of the time, and don’t be intimidated by your friends shaming you out of retiring to bed at a time that you know is best for you.
- Be honest and aware of how you feel. Your body is giving you signals all the time that you can sense if you are willing to feel them. Consider a health wearable like a Fitbit , Apple Watch, or Oura ring as a good investment in your health monitoring and management.
- When returning home from the road, consider cleaning out your system, or what is commonly called detoxing. You can look up thousands of various detox methods like this fun video, but start by drinking a lot of water and getting to bed earlier than you have been (and don’t eat right before that nice long sleep).