Five tips for keeping your mind & body healthy in the studio
Miki Kitasako curates a bare necessities guide for wellness in the studio space
If you’re not a producer, you probably have very little idea of how stressful the music-making process can be, for most. It’s really not so different from most other burdening professions, but there’s a certain level of balance that is required in the studio, where the creative side of the brain matches up with the pragmatic side — it’s a tedious process that many can confess to, whether it be writer’s block, frustration or lack of motivation.
The studio is a creative sanctuary for a producer and balance can come in many forms, i.e. a chaotic mind may need a harmonious space in order to operate smoothly. Or vice versa; a highly meditative and calm mind may thrive in an absolute disarray of cables and tools all over the place.
When it comes to work, creating a space which allows one to be in the zone while crafting creativity should be ideal. However, spending hours on end in a box of four walls may yield you with an essence of feeling stuck, frustrated and unmotivated.
Whether it’s either or none of the above for you, we guarantee that heeding wholesome advice on your well-being in the creative space can almost never turn you a wrong way. If it doesn’t make you a better producer, it might just make you a better person.
The goal with this list is to nurture those creative bones within a space that fosters inspiration, reduces stress, stimulates happiness and increases productivity. We’ve selected a number of essentials that may provide the right atmosphere in turning your studio into a place of Zen while churning out that next track you’ll be sending us a demo of.
1. SNIFFING FOR WELLNESS
Feeling at ease comes in many forms and one of them is by way of the nose — in more ways than one. The action of smelling something pleasant or familiar may reduce stress and tensions built up from a day’s worth of work. Some smells invoke a neurological connection which could trigger calming physiological responses and aid with anxiety, headaches, depression and more.
Here are a few scent-activating products and tips that are bound to make your studio feel like a holiday just several steps away from your desk.
Buy the Record Store Scented Candle here.
We’ve selected a few aromatherapy scents that activate and boost inspiration for those who are looking to bolster the right atmosphere to nurture that creative bone in your zone.
Frankincense – the oil of calm
Said to be a tonic of our nervous system, frankincense works to calm and soothe your mind to feel clearer, level-headed and bring out your best creative self. Featuring a woody yet soft, ancient aroma, just a few drops with a few deep breaths will allow your creative souls to focus your intention towards your work.
Bergamot – the oil of focus
With cleansing and purifying properties, bergamot is effective in boosting alertness while staying focused. This fresh citrus flavour that's similar to Earl Gray Tea will create an uplifting environment that will also reduce stress and anxiety.
Peppermint – the oil of concentration
A minty fresh restart to perk yourself up, the peppermint oils invigorate the mind, soul and spirit towards a break for an energy boost. This particular scent has the ability to enhance cognitive functions as it stimulates the hippocampus — a part of the brain used for learning.
Neroli – the oil of contentment
A floral aroma that calms the nerves while boosting feelings of contentment comes from neroli. A special essential oil that also has been shown to have antioxidant properties for healing and is also one of the best ways to tap into optimal creativity.
Juniper Berry – the oil of endurance
Derived from a coniferous tree, the juniper berry has a grounding effect that promotes willpower, endurance, courage and a sense of calm. This woody aroma also doubles up as a natural antiseptic to kill airborne germs.
Tangerine – the oil of joy and creativity
Coming back to the family of citrus scents is tangerine, one we all are familiar with. This aroma is able to lift the overwhelming senses of your daily rigid work schedule with a playful fresh energy that promotes happiness and creativity.
With your essential oils, you can opt to use a diffusing stone which will aid in the benefits of aromatherapy. This porous stone is a safe natural eco-friendly way to diffuse essential oils into the air through cold diffusion, which means that no harmful chemicals are released into the atmosphere — unlike candles and electricity-based diffusers. For a greener footprint towards aromatherapy, opt for this which also doubles up as a beautiful statement piece in your studio.
Buy the Glacier Diffusing Stone here.
Air-blown Glass Diffuser
For an electric option, Porseme creates hand-made, glass devices for an extra pizzazz in your studio.
Buy your own Porseme diffuser here.
Here's a unique incense collection paired with an experimental soundtrack influenced by the Japanese tradition of listening to incense called Koh-do. The company Co combines five different incense packs that are created by Kungyokudo (Japan’s oldest incense supplier), Folie à Plusieurs (an olfactive art gallery) and Noguchi Museum. Each pack of incense comes with an album that has been created to complement each scent and is accessible through a download link. Some of these artists include Hatis Noit, Masayoshi Fujita, Daniel Thorne and more.
Please note that smoke may damage your studio equipment, but we’re guessing that’s not the only smoke that surrounds one’s studio space.
Buy it here.
2. A FLUID STATE IS A CALM STATE
Hydration is key on a daily basis and let’s be honest, most of us just don’t get in the average daily intake of (required) fluids. We’ve listed down select teas and infused waters that can help calm the mind and body or to help to get your creative juices flowing. Plus, of course, it can also be used as a place for your spirits at the end of the day — a wino a day keeps the doctor away, right?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Tea
Known to be a natural brain booster, the lion mane mushroom tea improves focus, memory and helps with clarity as you age. Used in many traditional Eastern medicines, its natural antioxidant properties have a long history with Buddhist monks who are known to use it while meditating.
Buy a tin of DIRTEA Lion's Mane Mushroom Powder here.
Want to try flavours that are more your cup of tea? Here's our breakdown of other types and their benefits.
Similar to its essential oil form, peppermint can aid in improving your memory, mood and cognitive skills with a quick pick-me-up to replace cups of coffee that leave you feeling jittery.
High in antioxidants, rosemary tea is noted to be one of the best teas to stay awake. This particular tea contains oil that helps in the prevention of breaking down acetylcholine which is a chemical in the brain that is responsible for concentration, thinking and memory.
Those who enjoy a simple black tea may benefit from the rare amino acid called L-theanine that is found in this particular tea. It is also the one tea to contain most of the compound, which is known to promote relaxation by reducing stress while concentrating.
This tea also contains L-theanine, but to a lesser degree compared to black tea. The matcha that is found in green tea helps one focus and concentrate while subsidizing the effect of any stress balls thrown your way. A big plus to this particular one is that there are many ways matcha can be mixed into an array of other delicious beverages that can be added to your daily ritual.
This floral tea is usually an addition to either black or green tea, but with an added activation of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine to boost. These happy chemicals can then be translated to a sense of happiness and well-being which leads to improving your overall brain function.
Some people may stray away from the idea of drinking water because let’s face it; water is somewhat of a snooze fest and has absolutely no flavour — unless you’re some water sommelier. Our body requires about an average of 13 cups a day; a fact which we believe not many out there are keeping aligned with.
An option to boost staying hydrated is infusing fruits with your gallons of water a day, you might even drink more of it when it has a refreshing flavour to it. Not only are you keeping up with your daily fluid intake, but you’re also adding an array of other health benefits like electrolytes and nutrients that are stored in fruits.
A few options for your fruit-infused water can be found in a few successful combinations that you’ll be able to try out:
- Cucumbers and lemon
- Strawberry, lime and mint
- Orange and blueberry
- Blackberry, lime and basil
- Rosemary and grapefruit
- Apricot, raspberry and mint
- Kiwi and orange
- Cucumber, thyme and lime
For those who have extra space in the studio, set up a corner or a small area where you’ll be able to create a hydration zone that is able to fuel you with your selected teas, water or even a sneaky alcohol section after a long day at the studio.
Buy your own beverage cart for your preferred poison here.
3. LOOK THE MOOD, FEEL THE MOOD
Your studio might be set up perfectly in the most practical and organic way that works best with your work style, however being able to create a shift in the overall ambience would always be a plus. We’re not here to change the studio, but we’re here to create a better vibe with LED lights, décor and lush greenery in your sacred space.
LED Changing Lights
Being in work mode means business, but when creating different genres in music, why not experiment with a shift in colours that work in your favour? LED changing lights can invoke certain moods, and they can also change with the beat of the drums. The best part is that it also emits less heat than regular bulbs, which means it’ll stay cooler in your studio space.
Buy yours here.
Go green and add some lush greenery to your studio. This small addition could make a huge impact on the overall ambience plus increase productivity, happiness, creativity, and focus while cleaning the air all at the same time.
Some plants require less maintenance and sunlight which is ideal for studios that exude dark spaces, such as dragon trees, spider plants, lemon button ferns, snake plant and aloe vera.
Disco Ball Art Piece
For anyone who would like to bring a little disco party back into the studio, this tiny melted disco ball works on any nook and cranny in your space.
Buy one here.
4. BREATHE AWAY THE BAD JUJU
Having a space where you’re able to take a breather from your daily work regime is always a perk that everyone should find space for. Wellness and mental health has always been placed on a back burner but truly the wear and tear from our everyday life need a safe haven that our minds can retreat to without taking a holiday.
Find a corner in your studio that invokes feelings of peace and tranquillity that is a no-stress bubble and can include objects like a yoga mat, meditation mat or exercise ball to stretch out those tired limbs.
Live Infinitely Exercise Ball
Buy yours here.
Vinyl Print Yoga Mat
Buy one for your studio space here.
Providing your mind and body with a sense of ease, Sensate helps with stress management by using infrasonic therapy. It works similarly to how cats purr when they’re happy and are self-soothing. Sensate emits soundwaves through a vibration on your chest cavity that sends stress-alleviating signals to your nervous system.
The science behind it works through the vagus nerve, which is responsible for how you react to stress. This device taps into toning the vagus nerve through bone conduction, engineered frequency harmonics and a comforting hum. Many reviewers have also commented how this device helps with anxiety and sleep issues.
Buy your own Sensate device here.
Walden Meditation Mat
Buy one here.
Hydragun Massage Gun
Buy yours here.
5. CHILL IN COMFY THREADS
Studio sessions may take up a hefty amount of time staying confined to those four walls, so staying comfortable would make those long sessions just a pinch more tolerable.
We’ve selected a few regionally-made threads such as compression socks, sweaters, joggers and sleeves that would make any suit wish they were in your shoes. On the plus side, some of these also run on the sustainable line.
YANYAN Sustainable Sweaters
YANYAN, a cosy knitwear label hailing from Hong Kong, screams all things comfy but stylish, and better yet, it’s sustainable. It was created by duo Phyllis Chan and Suzzie Chung who allowed their cultural influences to play nicely into the designs while staying true to their purpose; to tackle fast fashion by not wasting any leftovers from factory overproduction.
Buy your very own YANYAN fit here.
Not only do these socks keep you warm, but these compression socks are going to help with your blood circulation from long hours at the studio. Created to reduce swelling, these specially designed socks apply pressure to the lower parts of your legs to alleviate any discomfort. Also, how fun is that print?
Buy a pair for yourself here.
Another option is just plain ol’ socks — with a fitting design, of course!
Buy your "acid" socks here.
Aoki Neon Future IV Compression Sleeve
Same as with compression socks, these smart compression sleeves will help with blood circulation, focus, memory, clarity, calmness and stress. They also use vibrotactile stimulation which sends signals through the propriety Cognitive Boost Technology pattern embedded into all sleeves created by esmartr.
Buy your "Steve Aoki Sleeve" here.
John Elliott Joggers
Buy a comfy pair for yourself here.
WAH-WAH Sustainable Sweaters
Stay comfy and warm with WAH-WAH for an all-day sweater situation. Pulling in influences from the music industry, these vibrant sweaters are made from a biodegradable, renewable fibre called superfine merino wool.
In addition to their sustainable purpose, they also reduce single-use plastic by creating environmentally friendly packaging from hydropol that is able to dissolve in hot water, along with the use of compostable shipping bags.
Buy yours here.
Miki Kitasako is Mixmag Asia’s Social Media and Content Producer, follow her on LinkedIn.