Celebrating small successes on the tough days…
I’ve written about minimum baselines before, but since I’m in the midst of a particularly trying time (Depression and anxiety, y’all.) I wanted to revisit the topic.
Since building up and celebrating small wins is an important strategy for managing my mental health, I need to make sure that my definition of success is actually achievable for all versions of myself (even depression me.) On my bad days, I need to be able to hit my practice targets with the kids fast so as not to exhaust all the energy I have.
I’ve included our minimum baselines for this stage of our lives below, and if we get this done, I call that day a success. If I happen to feel better, or get a burst of energy we’ll do more. But I don’t count on it, and most importantly I don’t beat myself up if this is all we do.
7 year old violinist: bow exercises (abbreviated), 1 twinkle variation, 1 scale, finger patterns (3x each), two newer pieces with some drilling, free violin playing. (Our listening habit is part of our bedtime routine.)
5 year old cellist: bow exercises, Old Macdonald, A string concerto, french folk song, all his twinkle variations, and monkey song.
It doesn’t take us long to get through these items, and afterwards, I am not stingy with praise for the kids and for myself.
I make sure they know when I’m having hard days, and we celebrate every step forward we make.
“We can feel bad, and still get some work done.”
“We are so strong.”
And honestly, some days we just don’t get anything done. And that’s ok too. I’m still a good mom. And if you have those days like me? You’re still a good parent too.
I’ve been watching this video daily for about a week, and it’s exactly what I need to hear right now. Maybe it will be helpful for you as well. (There is one mild swear so, headphones?)
What is your minimum baseline for practice on tough days? Please share in the comments.
Brecklyn Ferrin teaches Suzuki violin lessons and Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes in Kaysville, Farmington, and Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the Suzuki parent of a 7 year old violinist, 5 year old cellist, and a 2 year old Suzuki toddler.
This content is restricted to site members. If you are an existing user, please log in. New users may register below.