How to Stay Sane when your World Just Got Smaller


Sarah Spencer

How to Stay Sane when your World Just Got Smaller | on

Hi friends.

Let’s not beat around the bush – things are a little weird right now.

Suddenly there is a lot of uncertainty in our lives.

Our routines and schedules have been all changed around.

A lot of things we took for granted are either gone entirely, or look a lot different.

I see so many of you trying your darndest to change and adapt – and I’m cheering from you so loud over here on the other side of your screen!

In light of all this mental and physical re-arranging, I’ve reached out to some of my good friends and personal mentors for their best advice.

The quotes below are from women in all areas of music and life – from songwriters to managers, to wellness coaches to personal stylists.

They’ve got some fantastic advice to share with you on everything from mental well-being, productivity, creativity, and physical care.

Pressure, the comparison-game, and “What you should be doing.”

From Katie Zacardi

I’m sharing this blurb from Wellness Coach Katie Zacardi FIRST because it’s the perspective I hope we can all adopt right now.

“Whatever is it you think you ‘should be doing’ – scrap it! Now is a time where comparisonitis ski-rockets.”

Oh, yes! 👏

“You may notice yourself scrolling through Instagram seeing other people go live, share the songs they just wrote, or share how much they’re getting done. That’s great for them, but in the name of wellness, this is your reminder that YOU CHOOSE what you want to spend this time doing.

You do not have to check off every box you ever had on your to do list. Give yourself permission to chill out, get extra sleep, do what your body and mind need during this time. If that means some extra writing, or getting shit done? Great! But take that pressure off.

Pressure leads to guilt, and guilt leads to you doing nothing and feeling bad, instead of doing what you CHOOSE to do and feeling good because you’ve made an empowered choice. Prioritize your wellness by making those empowered choices.”

– Katie Zaccardi, Coach, Songwriter, & Artist // Katie Zaccardi

You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiezaccardi (her stories are everything!) and at She also has an amazing podcast called the Out to Be Podcast which you should absolutely subscribe to wherever you listen to podcasts!

You do not have to check off every box on your to do list.

  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself about what you “should” be doing
  • Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Chill time? Creative time? Work? Writing?
  • Prioritize your wellness

Bringing your music online

From Erin Anderson

Right now, I’m sure you’re seeing everyone and their sister going Live on Facebook and other social platforms.

Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the only option you have.

Erin Olivia is an artist manager (Hush Kids, Jill Andrews, Ruthie Collins), and this is what she’s been telling her own artists during this time of online-music sharing:

“I am talking to all of my artists about what a gift this time is. Let’s get entrepreneurial about it and find new ways to bring value to fans. This is an exercise in getting creative about revenue streams. Live-streaming is a great start, but go further. Get even more creative. Remember your job is to engage with fans and create art that moves them. There is no end to the number of ways you can do that.”

– Erin Anderson, Founder of Olivia Management

Ask yourself, "How can I best serve my fans with what I have at my disposal?"


If you’re thinking about retaining your fanbase during this time, think:

  • How can I best serve my fans with what I have at my disposal?
  • How can I provide something different for my fans than what they’re already seeing from other artists?
  • What do I know they need right now?

Managing stress and physical health

From Lisa Winfield

Chances are, you’re probably stressin’ right now.

(you’re not alone in this)

One of the best ways you can start to take the edge off is to begin practicing mindfulness while staying hydrated.

And one of the quickest and most effective ways to do that is to drink water.

Yes, literal water.

(I know you have enough bottles of wine to last the apocalypse but trust me, you need to stay hydrated!)

Lisa Winfield, a wellness coach here in Nashville (and a Bestie!) tells us why the heck water is so important for our mental and physical health, and how we can use it to practice mindfulness:

“Y’all I get that it’s scary right now. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the feeling that you should be doing more. And as creatives, it’s really easy to beat ourselves up for all the ‘shoulds,’ but, it’s way more important to be kind to ourselves right now.

Keeping your stress level under control and giving yourself space to feel all of your emotions and work through them is the best thing you can do in the middle of this mess.

Take a minute and mindfully drink a glass of water. Really be aware of every sip and that you are doing something to take care of yourself. It’s so easy to forget to hydrate when the world is ending, but you’ll be so thankful you did when it starts spinning again. I mix collagen and electrolytes in mine for added flavor and a wellness boost.”

– Lisa Winfield, Coach and Owner of WholeBody Creative

Lisa has a fabulous email list that I love being part of. Sign up below for her wellness tips, creative wellness news, and book club (she has the best reads!): WholeBody Creative Email List

Self-care quickie: Take a minute and mindfully drink a glass of water.

  • Have you had enough water today? (Eight 8oz glasses is the general recommendation)
  • Grab your favorite tumbler or glass and keep it filled with water all day – you could even use a wine glass!
  • As you drink, close your eyes and drink slowly, knowing that you are treating your body with care and respect

Self-care in all areas of your life (not just the obvious ones)

From Louise Warren

“I would say self-care comes first. Self-care, in the real sense, evaluates all area of your life.

There is financial self-care. There is physical self-care. I would identify which area or areas are most pressing at this time and jot down a few ideas to fulfill it.

For example, if your most pressing issue is your anxiety, take some time to walk in nature.

If your most pressing issue are your money concerns, hop on a Facebook live and share your writing process or innovate a new way to garner support. This is a time that you can use your creativity for all aspects of your life, not just your writing.”

– Louise Warren, Creative Life Coach & Musician // Rare Gem

  • Self-care isn’t just mani-pedis and sleeping in, you can apply it to all areas of your life
  • Identify which areas are most pressing and address those first

Louise has also written a fantastic piece for SongFancy on essentialism – aka, trying to do all the things vs. a select few. Check it out, it’s a good read during all this open-ended time we now have.

She also has a fantastic self-care wheel to remind us of all the areas we can look in for opportunities to take better care of ourselves:


View this post on Instagram


Self-care, self-care, self-care. FIRST. It’s okay if you need to process. It’s okay if you need to catch up on sleep. It’s okay if you need to watch Netflix and get your mind off of stressful things. It’s okay if you want to create and it’s okay if you need to take a break from it right now. Question your need to be productive. Question your need to hustle for your worthiness. Question constantly turning outward to others for suggestions and answers. Question anything that makes you self-neglect and ignore your needs. Because you can never bring your best without both connecting to and caring for yourself. How do you plan to self-care today? #selfcarefirst #artistssupport #artistcoach #creativitycoach #creativitycoaching #selfcaredaily #theartistsway #musiciansofinstagram #covid_19 #socialdistancing

A post shared by Rare Gem: Louise Warren (@raregemcoach) on

On using the downtime to level up your skills

From Brianna Ruelas

“My #1 tip during this quarantine is to take advantage of the downtime and create personal and professional growth opportunities for yourself! Now more than ever, it’s sooo important that artists truly learn to leverage their brand online.

…this could be as simple as creating Daily Success Habits, a Daily Routine, Finishing an Online Course you bought, Attending a Free Training.”

-Brianna Ruelas, Strategist, Consultant, Author, and Music Artist // Brianna Ruelas

Create personal and professional growth opportunities for yourself.

Brianna just posted the replay of her recent workshop, “How To Book More Gigs… Even If You Don’t Have A Booking Agent” which is absolutely a need-to-see during this downtime. The workshop will not only help you book gigs once we’re able to leave out houses again, but Brianna teaches you how to pitch yourself – which you can use in all sorts of different situations.

  • Create personal and professional growth
  • Consider learning how to build your brand online and take this workshop

On finding joy and calm

From Katherine Forbes

“So my advice would be super simple… think about the things that make you feel calm and happy and do more of that.

And don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t mean deep cleaning your whole house, learning to meditate, or being super productive just because that’s what everyone on social media is telling you to do.”

“Take this time to make your own routines and not live by someone else’s.”

– Katherine Forbes, Founder of Designing the Row, Creator of Music Biz Besties // Katherine Forbes

Katherine has a fantastic podcast, and I am actually on her latest episode! I’ll be sharing the stories behind a few of my songs. Take a listen here.

Think about the things that make you feel calm and happy. And do more of that.

  • What makes you feel calm and happy? Do those things.
  • Allow yourself to be free of guilt for living your own routines

Getting dressed for your day

From Payton Dale

“One: use this time to feed yourself creatively.

I always say that the artists who don’t know themselves are the ones who at unfortunately struggle the most with their style and in turn their craft. (Style is just a symptom) so use this time to listen to your favorite records, watch your favorite movies, draw inspiration from other forms of art that aren’t just musical as well.

Two: Put on real pants as much as possible. I usually wear makeup all the time and I’m using this as a time to let my skin breathe but there is power lipstick and denim. Break them out whenever you feel the blues

Three: move your body as much as possible. Stagnant energy in your body will create blocks in your mind!”

-Payton Dale, Celebrity Stylist // The Payton Project

Put on real pants as much as possible.

  • Get to know yourself by feeding yourself creatively, through what you listen to, what you wear, how you decorate, what you create, and pursuing your tastes
  • Get dressed as often as makes sense! Lipstick and denim can break the blues
  • Stay physically active! Physical energy creates mental energy

Why rest and gratitude are greater than fear

From Mandy Brooke

Mandy Brooke is an artist, actress, and model (and funny as shit YouTuber). This girl is constantly wise. I’ve followed her on insta for a while now not only because I love her music, but because she’s always making me laugh and lifting me up. She’s got some great perspective on all this for you:

“The world is a very scary place right now… but dwelling on what you cannot change is simply a waste of your precious energy.

I know it sounds crazy, but try to ENJOY this time… in this GO-GO-GO society, we finally have permission to rest.

Play music. Watch funny movies. Turn our phones off. Read a book. Rest our minds. This can be a beautiful time if we choose to view it that way. Be gracious for what you have. And thank God (or whomever you pray to) for the blessings that are coming to you.

‘Thank you for my abundance.’
‘Thank you for my health.’
‘Thank you for my ability to thrive.’

My heart hurts for everyone suffering… We can help by staying strong, staying home, and getting through this together.”

– Mandy Brooke, Songwriter, Artist, Model, Actress // Mandy Brooke

We finally have permission to rest.

If you need a pick-me-up, Mandy is your personal hype girl. (for REAL this video is sooo good!) And bump her single, “Hammer”, I promise you, you will be dancing!

  • Your energy is precious. Treat it like a priceless, limited commodity!
  • You’re allowed to enjoy this time as a rest from the go-go-go of daily life
  • Take this time to acknowledge what you have, and allow it to bless you

Using this time for you, not what others expect of you

From Sarah Buxton

How do I intro this woman? I’ve tried to write this paragraph at least 4 times now.

You know her voice – she’s sang background vocals on records from Martina McBride to Dustin Lynch. And you’ve heard her songs – she’s written monumental hits like Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy” and recently, Lady Antebellum’s “Ocean”.

Sarah is also a sage. And I’ve only just recently found out how wise and encouraging she is through her instagram. She shares some seriously eye-opening insights on life, joy, self-image, and of course, creativity, in her stories. And as soon as I thought to put this post together, she was one of the first people that came to mind.

Sarah generously shared 5 voice memos for you, with her thoughts on how to spend this time and where she is as a pro-singer and -songwriter. I’ve transcribed them below:

“I think in this time for everyone, wether you’re creative or not, whether you’re woman or man, it’s about connecting with the deepest part of yourself.

I think this is a great time to connect to what you need. And for me personally, it’s been a time of seeing beyond and letting go of things that don’t matter. Never did matter. Will never matter again. And there’s so much of that within something like the music business.

I think in this time for everyone, it's about connecting with the deepest part of yourself.

I think that we all come to this table very childlike, with these passions and visions for ourself and then we start looking to what somebody else has done to give us a framework for how we’re suposed to fit in. And I don’t think that’s the way God made us.

I think He made us creative people to bring our very own unique things to the table, our own visions to the table, and this is a great time to let go of what was somebody else’s idea for you, or what you thought that you could imitate and bring something that only you can bring.

And first you’ve got to understand what that is before you can bring it.

So, obviously, if you’re living by yourself, taking care of yourself is the first important thing, nurturing yourself.

What does your body need? What does your immune system need to stay healthy in this time?

That is so important, and I think it spills out into your creative life. And take time to take that vision and really dig a little deeper than you normally would.

But for me it’s like, I know that one thing we all struggle with is like, how do we fit into this. How do I fit in? and I just think that right now is a time of just understanding that you do fit in. We all fit in, and that everything is crumbling right now.

There are people that are making it look like ya know, ‘keeping it going, keeping the business going,’ and I just feel like, some people really need that for their ego to feel satisfied, like they’re still producing in this time.

But I don’t—I think that God’s making it really clear that this isn’t what this time is about for most people. And I fall into that category.

I’ve just, connecting with people around me, connecting with God, and just redirecting that energy from a more pure place.

Theres a book called The Alchemist, [by] Paulo Coelho, and I really suggest every person read that book. I’m gonna go pull it back out. I’m not gonna give away what it’s about, but it really embodies where I’m at spiritually and creatively right now, the thieves that are in that story.”

– Sarah Buxton, Songwriter, Singer

Ugh, GOLD. If you want to hear more wisdom like this, follow Sarah on Instagram. She’s also releasing new music right now to spin it up!


  • Allow yourself to be childlike with your pursuits – experiment and play, with no one else’s framework in front of you
  • Dig a little deeper to find that unique vision that only you carry
  • Know that you do fit in, even if it feels like you’re getting left behind
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Sarah Spencer

Sarah Spencer is an award winning singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN.

Born in the Sunshine State, Sarah Spencer writes vibrant, shining americana/pop music. She works in Nashville TN as a singer/songwriter, as well as a UX designer for a marketing firm.

Follow Sarah on Spotify to get her latest releases.

You can jump on her email list at or purchase her debut EP, "Freshman Year" on iTunes.