As a social worker, musician, festival worker and punter, I know that the music and events industry is full of passionate people getting together to create, perform and bring music to the community. However as many of us know, it can be a frenetic, fast paced and at times stressful environment to work in!
Stress is a normal part of life and work. It creates a physical response to get us ready for action. However, too much stress or prolonged stress can lead to burnout.
Burnout is a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Some signs you may be burnt out include:
- You can’t be bothered, feel unmotivated at a job you used to enjoy or feel irritated by your workmates or workplace.
- You avoid work, procrastinate on tasks or creative projects, or take a lot of sick days.
- You don’t enjoy working in the industry anymore or enjoy aspects of your work that you used to.
- You are constantly tired or getting sick more often.
- You are thinking about leaving the industry because of the above.
We know that as people working in the music industry, we are passionate about the work we do. Feeling so burnt out that you want to leave the industry that you love is a terrible space to be in.
How to Beat Burnout.
There is a reason that every article about mental health talks about the Big three: good sleep, healthy diet and exercise! They are the cornerstones of mental wellbeing. Start slowly here and makes some small changes to make them last. Seek support from your GP if you need to.
If alcohol or drug use is becoming a coping mechanism for stress relief, it may be time to reduce your use or talk to someone about healthier ways to manage.
Relaxation, meditation and mindfulness are also key strategies for managing burnout. Start slow – meditation requires time and practice. Don’t expect to be mediating for an hour a day immediately. Trust me, it’s not going to happen! Check out the Support Act website for some great resources.
Evaluate your relationship with your phone. Often in music, the personal is the professional and it can be hard to create and maintain your personal life away from your professional life. Technology also keeps us ‘online’ all the time, but this can lead to increased stress. Check your daily use using the apps available to you and develop strategies to switch off.
Have time away from work time, get outside, create some time away from your work headspace. If you work from home, try to create a boundary between work time and space, and play time. Give yourself permission to shut off and have some fun!
Reconnect with what you enjoy about your work. Why did you originally want to get into the industry? What have you enjoyed about it previously? What were some good experiences? Try to find times at work that ARE good, rather than focusing on the aspects that have been stressing you out.
Be social. The people who know you well are often the best at recognising when something isn’t quite right with you. Sometimes stress sneaks up on you and you don’t know that it is happening until it is too late. Find ways to connect when on tour or away from these supports.
Be kind to yourself. It is ok to feel this way, but it is important to remember that there are ways to move past it and feel energised and passionate again.
If you recognise any of these feelings in yourself, please get in touch with the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline on 1800 959 500. The counsellors at the Wellbeing Helpline understand the unique issues that come with working in the music industry and can provide you with some strategies to help you maintain your career in a healthy and long-lasting way.
You can also check out the Support Act website where you can find a lot of resources about mental wellbeing with topics such as depression, alcohol and drug use and self-care. You can also find out more about our various mental health programs and events, including Head First, our first music industry conference about mental health and wellbeing taking place on 7 October at AIM, Sydney.
All Photos: Unsplash
Written by Anne Jacobs
Anne is the National Welfare Coordinator at Support Act.
Support Act is an organisation that provides crisis relief for artists, artist managers, crew and music workers who are facing financial hardship due to illness, mental ill-health, injury or other crisis (including COVID-19) that may impact a person’s ability to work in the music industry.
Support Act also provides free mental health support via the Wellbeing Helpline (1800 959 500), a free confidential phone counselling service to discuss any aspect of mental health and wellbeing.