A career in music is never easy, but the music industry brings particular challenges that can affect your mental wellbeing. This industry is high-pressure and competitive by nature, and facing the unusual work hours and demands for perfection that musicians face can contribute to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Chances are that passion for music brought you into this industry, but anxiety and depression can quickly take the joy out of this career for any musician. Luckily, there are many ways that you can prioritize your mental health so that you can enjoy the unique life that your music career brings.
Invest in Physical Health
Your physical and mental health are closely linked; if you have poor physical health, you’re more likely to develop mental health issues. And if you’re coping with mental health issues, like anxiety and depression, these issues can have a negative impact on your physical health.
To prioritize your mental health, focus on ways that you can stay physically active. Create a routine that incorporates daily physical activity. Determine which type of exercise you most enjoy and focus on doing that activity, since you’ll be more likely to follow through with your exercise routine when it’s something that you enjoy. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym, since simple activities like getting out and going for a walk can boost both your physical and mental health.
Staying active when you’re on the road can be a challenge, but you can still stay physically active when traveling by RV, bus, or car. Pack your workout gear when you go on tour and seek out small opportunities to fit in some activity throughout the day, like a set of push-ups before soundcheck or a jog around the concert venue parking lot before rehearsal. Pack healthy food from home and avoid daily takeout meals.
Staying physically active is easier when you surround yourself with people who support you and understand that you’re working on your health. Try to find a bandmate, friend, or family member who can help to keep you accountable for your physical health and who can accompany you on some of your workouts.
Plan Ahead for Traveling and Touring
Traveling and spending days, weeks, or even months on the road during a tour can take a significant mental toll. Touring can be isolating, stressful, and tiring — none of which are beneficial for mental wellbeing. But if you carefully plan for these factors, you can prioritize your mental health even when on tour.
When you know that you will be traveling, start planning for your travel ahead of time. Make a packing list to help minimize your stress in preparing for the trip, allowing you to focus on perfecting your music, rather than on potentially forgetting important items. Take some time to clean and organize your home, too, so that when you arrive back home, you’ll be coming into a welcoming space where everything is already taken care of. Tours are exhausting, and knowing that you’ll be able to simply relax once you’re home can be emotionally reassuring.
While planning can go a long way to minimizing the stress that traveling and touring brings, it’s also important for you to realize when it’s time to scale back. Whether you’re focused on building your career or are finally enjoying the success that you’ve dreamed of for years, you may feel pressured to constantly keep up with a fast-paced touring schedule. There will always be pressure to play the next gig and take on that next project, but balance is also important in your mental health. If you can learn how to say no to some gigs and prioritize your mental health, you can better enjoy your career.
Seek Professional Help for Mental Health
The above strategies can help to maximize your mental health, but sometimes they just aren’t enough on their own. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, it’s time to seek professional help.
To find a mental health professional who can help you, think about the types of services that you’re looking for. Therapists and counselors can help you to better manage emotions and thought patterns. If you anticipate medication being a part of your treatment plan, then you will want to look for a mental health specialist like a psychiatrist. Your primary care doctor may be able to recommend some local mental health professionals, and your insurance company should also be able to give you a list of local providers who are covered under your plan.
It’s important to try to stay ahead of mental health issues; when it comes to issues like depression and anxiety, the earlier you seek help, the sooner you can find relief from your symptoms. In addition to therapy, a psychiatrist may suggest lifestyle changes, give you tools to help manage your symptoms, and even suggest medications. There are also many natural remedies that you may wish to explore; chamomile tea, lavender, and even CBD oil are all natural options that are often used to help manage anxiety.
Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, so don’t be afraid to seek out help and support. By taking a proactive approach to your mental health, you can better enjoy your music career and your life.