“Self-Care”: the term may have recently evolved via social media memes into a kind of trendy slang, predominantly used by Tumblr obsessed teens but it’s still relevant. And, dare I say- pretty self-explanatory. “Self-Care” is synonymous with maintaining good mental health and simply being kind to yourself, at least in most circles.
It means CARING for YOURSELF, both physically and emotionally!
Of course, some people choose to use it ironically- wielding the word to justify sleeping 14 hours straight or slurping down 700 calories in a single meal simply because they ‘enjoy’ doing so. However, whatever your personal connotation of the word may be, self-care truly is the one thing that each and every one of us could use more in our lives. This stands true regardless of our careers, our socioeconomic status, our interests, or our schedules.
Well, maintaining your mental health, lowering your stress levels, and taking care of your physical body are all essential if you want to live your best life! (Of course, so is optimum nutrition, but fortunately for we voice coaches, lyrics carry no caloric value…)
Would you believe me if I told you that signing up for singing lessons could help start you on the road to achieving your best life? Would you call me crazy if I said that just one lesson could help you to begin doing all of these things and more? That singing is the ultimate form of self-care?
If your answer is a resounding, “NO”, I don’t blame you. I’ll admit- it does sound a little gimmicky.
However, scientific studies really do suggest that singing is good for the mind and body- through and through. So, without further ado, here are my 3 reasons singing really is the ultimate form of self-care:
1) Singing can make a major positive impact on your mental health!
According to a 2017 study conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA), the fun, social engagement, and support of weekly singing lessons improved focus group members’ moods, sense of well-being, feeling of belonging, social skills, and confidence. Individuals involved in the research even called singing a ‘life-saver’ and said that their group singing lessons ‘saved their sanity’. Those are massive claims for such a simple and fun health intervention, but with each new study they’re validated. Professor Shakespeare from UEA’s Norwich Medical School credits this to the fact that weekly group singing lessons offer, “a low-commitment, low-cost tool for mental health recovery within the community.”
2) Singing slays stress!
Recreational music making (which can include playing a variety of instruments a, sing-a-longs, and singing in a group) has been shown by a number of studies to reduce burnout in students and professionals, as well as improve mood. It also modulates immunological responses in the body– particularly in older adults- and may mitigate the negative impact of chronic stress on your immune system by lowering your cortisol levels!
Also worth noting- when you sing, your body releases the “love” hormone oxytocin, which is well-known for alleviating anxiety and stress.
3) Singing has tangible somatic benefits for your body!
Singing doesn’t just stop stress from sabotaging your immune system, though; it boosts it. Some studies have found that when you sing, even for only an hour, the body begins to produce more cytokines– the proteins that the immune system uses to do its job. Yet, it doesn’t stop there!
Your immune system isn’t the only thing that stands to benefit from regular singing. Learning to project your voice well requires proper posture, and the mindful breathing necessary to belt could increase your lung capacity. Some studies even suggest that asthmatics may see an improvement in their symptoms with regular singing.
Can you name any other recreational activity that can accomplish all of this and still be fun?! Didn’t think so.
You don’t need an ‘excuse’ to sign up for singing lessons. You don’t need to be an aspiring professional or member of your local choir.
However, if you have ever found yourself wondering if your favorite hobby is worthwhile, rest assured: when it comes to self-care, singing lessons really are an unparalleled approach!