Expert Advice: “rockstar whisperer” Kathryn Frazier shares her tips for at-home self-care
While running a successful music PR firm for nearly thirty years, Kathryn Frazier witnessed firsthand that even some of the most talented people in the world still weren’t happy. So she went back and got her coaching degree and now works with artists (and others in the music business) on how to navigate an industry where success is accelerated, there are limited tools for stress, and fame doesn’t necessarily equal fulfilment. Because in her words: “If you’re not happy, then what’s the point?”
With a 50% increase in uploads over the past month, we know everyone’s been busy creating in their downtime. But since what’s inside is as important as your output, we asked Kathryn to offer up some expert advice on how you can practice self-care while you’re being productive. Below are three exercises that you can put into place right now. No promises, but these things combined with eight glasses of water a day and eight hours of sleep might just change your life.
Establish different goals
“People spend more time planning vacations than they do planning how to live their life,” Kathryn said when discussing the imbalance of most people’s priorities. She stressed that in addition to having a plan for your career, you should have a plan for yourself and how you want to feel. If you’re not sure because you’re not used to checking in with yourself (and a lot of people aren’t), here are a few ways to get started:
- Sit still, shut your eyes and look inside your body. Start naming the emotions that come up (try to go from vague to specific).
- Define what it is you want for yourself, outside of success or the world loving your music – how do you want to feel, physically, mentally?
- If you need some prompts, think about what’s popping up in your head in your off moments when you’re just driving or washing the dishes. Paying attention to those times when you’re not distracted is a really good way to start checking in and understanding what you want.
Be your own witness
From bedroom upstarts to the most famous artists in the world, the linking of self-worth to social media numbers is a universal problem. “If you’re constantly looking at how many plays you have or how many likes you have or how many followers you have, the compare and dispair that comes from that is super hardcore on your emotional wellbeing, it just is.”
Kathryn said having a tool for when these “compare and despair” feelings kick in is crucial. “You’re making songs and then you flip over to Instagram and you see people who you think aren’t as good as you and they’re getting a million likes – and the self-doubt kicks in.” That’s when you start witnessing what you’re feeling, saying to yourself, “I’m jealous” or “I’m envious.” Start naming things you can see, hear and feel around you. Your roommate’s cooking something. There’s rain pattering against the window. The cat just jumped off the bed. This will take you out of the emotion and into the stability of the present.
Kathryn noted that feelings don’t go away, they just get stuffed inside – so by acknowledging them you can minimize blowups that seem random or burnouts when it all becomes too much.
Create a routine
Kathryn’s had lots of coaching sessions in the past few weeks as people struggle to make sense of their new reality, and she said the most important thing that keeps coming up is routine. She added that this is especially vital for creators all the time, so your life doesn’t become one long studio session or hours upon hours in front of a computer. Here are her tips on creating structure in your day:
- Keep a notebook next to your bed. The minute you wake up just write whatever’s on your mind for one page; it’ll take about 3 minutes. When you do a brain dump, you can release all the weird stuff in your head so it doesn’t pop up later.
- Create a forcefield for your day. Meditate or just sit quietly with yourself for 10-15 minutes.
- Put on real clothes to feel like you’re part of the world.
- Pick the times you want to create and then take a break.
- Set good boundaries. Drink lots of water, take vitamins, move around for an hour, monitor your screen time.
- Make plans with people virtually.
- Expand your horizons by ingesting new and different creative content. Watch cool films or listen to the type of music you don’t typically make. (Kathryn added that right now Adobe’s creative suite is super cheap and Ableton is offering classes; we’ve also got a list of resources on our Keep the Music Going Guide.)
- Have a bedtime and wake up time.
- Rinse and repeat.
Kathryn’s tips for taking care of yourself require no equipment, no money, and just a little commitment – and you can put them into practice immediately. If you want to dive into the full audio you can find on our SoundCloud profile, and if you use any of Kathryn’s expert advice, let us know by @ing us on Twitter with the hashtag #EXPERTADVICE.
Expert Advice is our new column that shines a light on the leading voices across music business, marketing, wellness and more and shares tips straight from the source on how to grow your career and find sustainable success.