For many musicians, the ability to go on tour is the dream. It means seeing and sharing your music with the world. It represents a level of commitment to success and adventure that can lead to stardom.
Unfortunately, touring also means spending incredibly long hours cramped into a small space with a handful of other people. It can lead to a caged-up feeling that drives some artists crazy and saps their creative potential. Further, it can lead to quite a bit of potential illness, which can have a serious impact on your ability to perform well.
Staying healthy rarely feels easy, and when you’re confined to a bus or small, temporary lodgings, it can feel even harder. Luckily, there are ways to help ensure musical professionals are able to stay healthy for the duration of the tour. Following these tips and tricks can make the difference between a great tour and a band breakup.
It can be particularly difficult to eat healthy while on the road. For one, you are constantly on the move, and stopping at a quick fast food restaurant can feel a lot more efficient than slowing down for a quality sit-down meal in town. Additionally, cooking for yourself can feel like a challenge to do limited space on the bus.
Although it can feel like a pain, taking the time to cook and eat quality meals can make a big difference to your overall health. Focusing on eating a lot of vegetables and getting an appropriate amount of protein is key to maintaining a healthy diet while on the road. Even one healthy meal every day is better than none, and skipping multiple meals is worst of all.
What you drink while traveling also makes a huge difference! Many musicians tend to drink alcohol because it is a great way to celebrate a smashing performance. Others tend to fuel up on energy drinks to keep themselves going. However, tea can be a great alternative as it provides some natural energy boosters, may provide other health benefits, and soothes the throat. Many performers suggest drinking as much tea as you can.
Even more important than eating well for maintaining your health is making sure you are getting enough rest. Science has shown that sleep is critical to our body’s ability to repair damage, convert experiences into memories, maintain strong mental health, fend off illnesses, and use critical thinking skills. Sadly, it has also shown that the vast majority of us, musicians included, fail to get adequate sleep most nights.
If for some reason you do come down with an illness, getting it checked out as soon as possible should be on your high-priority list. You may think you just have sore throat from singing your heart out the past week, but what if you actually have strep? If incorrectly diagnosed by you or left untreated, these illnesses can last for weeks on end and can make going on stage a real challenge.
Many musicians and other artists struggle with covering the costs of insurance, which can make the idea of going to a doctor seem pretty daunting. This can be especially true is you have a high-deductible plan or have to pay copays for even the smallest of visits. Fortunately, there are some workarounds such as having a health savings account or some other fund to pull money from to cover these expenses.
When living in a small space for months at a time and traveling constantly, it can be difficult to maintain a high level of cleanliness. Cleaning the tour bus by washing floors, removing garbage, doing laundry, and rinsing off can seem like the last thing you really want to do. However, a dirty living space can reduce our immune system’s ability to fight off illness and can lead to higher levels of anxiety and stress.
Realistically, it can be difficult to be sure you are doing everything to protect yourself from your surroundings. Even taking regular showers on the tour bus can seem like a hassle (assuming you have a bus with a shower), and stopping at a place where you can shower is equally obnoxious. But doing so can help you to avoid many potential illnesses that come from being dirty.
Remembering to clean both yourself and your surroundings is important, but protecting your body is as well. Be sure to take the time to sunscreen up and put on sunglasses before going on stage in an outdoor concert. UV exposure and continually been shown to be damaging to both the skin and eyes, and in some cases can lead to certain types of cancers. What more, if you’re engaging in sexual activity while on tour, do so safely to avoid being infected with potentially live-changing diseases.
Life on the road can be a rewarding experience and an amazing way to get your name out and share your music with the rest of the world. Music can do a lot of great things for your health, but living in a small space and traveling regularly can take its toll. While you are out on tour, be sure to work hard to eat well, get enough sleep, and protect yourself of all of life’s random causes of illness.