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5 healthy DJ lifestyle changes

Today we decided to share a very useful article with some tips for DJs to feel better and be healthy.

1. Sleep in a dark room

That's it. When you sleep, make sure your room is totally dark. No glowing LEDs, no light bleeding under the door, no thin, rubbish curtains, no falling asleep with the telly or bedside light on. Pitch dark.

Sleep is ridiculously important (scientists are increasingly linking it to the ability to function properly at all, never mind to be better at what we do), but as DJs, we often have to sleep in the day, or in rooms that aren't ours.

But if you insist on darkness in hotels or anywhere else you need to sleep, you're much more likely to sleep properly. Bonus points for carrying around a travel eye cover for a bit of dark shut-eye on planes or buses...

2. Take 48 hours off the booze each week

Not drinking is a valiant aim. It's also totally unrealistic for most people, especially in the profession we operate in (if you're one of those who's managed it - and I'm not saying it's impossible, we have two in our team here at Digital DJ Tips - well done), but for everyone else, you probably don't want to stop, or don't feel you need to. Fine.

But you also know that drinking affects your health (and your sleep - am I right?). So stop for just two days, one after the other, every week. Studies show that this gives your body a multitude of recovery benefits, and if you can stick to it (and if you can't, at least it'll show you that maybe you do actually have an issue to deal with), you'll reap those benefits.

3. Wear musician's earplugs

As soon as you have any type of ear issues (and if you're a DJ, it's not a case of if, but when), you're going to be told to avoid loud music. It's good advice - but it's also utterly unrealistic.

That said, tinnitus isn't fun (again, two team members here can confirm that). So what to do? Our advice is to wear earplugs. Not the rubbish foam ones you buy in chemists, but earplugs designed for musicians, that reduce the overall volume of the music while still letting a bit of everything through.

It's like turning the volume down in your ears rather than simply muffling everything. And with a bit of getting used to them, musician's earplugs do work! (If you really can't DJ with them in - and some can't - then wear them at all other times when you're in a club environment, taking them out for your actual DJ sets only, carefully watching the monitor volume to ensure that you don't push it too high.)

4. Spend a minute breathing slowly a couple of times a day

Hear me out - I'm not going all hippy on you here, I'm not going to ask you to convert to buddhism or go on a meditation retreat. But stress is a real issue, and we have a stressful occupation (requests, empty dancefloors, not getting paid, being freelance, worrying about our kit failing...).

It's an issue because when we're stressed, we're in "fight or flight" mode. Creativity - what gets us noticed, what furthers our careers, what ultimately gets us paid - does not like fight or flight mode, not at all. Our brains, basically, shut our creativity down entirely in these situations (cavemen didn't need to come up with great poetry when running from lions).

So we need a way of de-stressing in order to do the best job. And deep, slow breathing is a simple and effective step in the right direction, proven to de-stress us (it's no coincidence that Apple has added it to its Health apps recently). Bonus marks if you can concentrate on each breath going in and out, bringing your mind back gently to that thought when it drifts - that's basically what meditating is. (See? Nothing hippy here at all...) So when you feel stressed, get into the habit of doing this - things never seem as bad 60 seconds later.

5. Prepare your own food whenever you can

Our profession, our friends, our lifestyles... they all, in my experience of DJs, lead to takeaway food, more than for most people. And while that's all well and good every now and then, honestly, takeaways are the crack cocaine of the food world. They're designed to make you want more, and quickly.

Those people who run those establishments really don't care about your well-being. You should. And a great way to do that is to buy ingredients that your great grandmother would recognise, and cook with them.

Yeah, it may take some effort at first, but come up with seven simple things you can cook, and that's a repeatable week of meals, right there. And while you might still be cooking things that aren't exactly 100% healthy, that's fine. Trust me, it'll be much better than takeaway, whatever it is, and you'll be mindful of what you're eating - while at the same time avoiding all kinds of stuff that you really don't want to be eating.

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