Wednesday Wisdom: Tips for Managing Stress as a Musician


It touches us all, and it affects each of us in different ways.

When you’re a musician, that stress can reach absurd levels that can make you feel sick, tired, and plain burnt out. It is critically important that during those moments — when the stress reaches its peak — that you take care of yourself and bring it back down.

Although I’m not pursuing my own artistic career, I’ve definitely felt the stress of working in this industry myself. So, here are some of my favorite tips for managing stress while growing your career and fulfilling your dreams.

Get sleep

We all know that when we’re not getting enough sleep, our bodies aren’t getting the rest they need to do what they need to do.

When you’re working on a million things, and constantly planning and strategizing, it can be difficult to get your mind to slow down, even when you’re exhausted. Then, you end up in that vicious cycle of exhaustion and overwhelm, until it wears you out so bad that you can’t take it anymore.

Even when your mind won’t stop racing, there are ways to relieve your system so you can get the rest you need. Watch your favorite show, laugh, take a bath or a hot shower, or have a cup of herbal tea. The one we’re all probably sick to death of hearing: unplug from screens at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Log off of email, stop scrolling on Instagram, and if you need more of a transition from work to sleep, try reading a book—one that has nothing to do with your work or career. Allowing yourself the time and space you need to wind down will only benefit you in the long run.

Build a team

Although many have tried in this business, it’s impossible to do everything yourself and be successful. And yes, when you’re a certain type of person, it can be really hard to bring others into your orbit, to share your art and goals with them in new ways, and to depend on them to do the things that you feel you can do yourself.

But, if you’re doing everything yourself right now, you’re going to inevitably reach that point where it just gets to be too much. This will lead to more stress, and you’ll need someone (or people) to help share the load. This will help you do what you do best and reach the next level in your career.

What would that look like for you? You might realize that you need help with social media or marketing, so it might be time to find a trusted friend or intern to take it on. If the thought of running your own PR campaign for your new release puts you over the edge, hire a publicist. Or, maybe your career is on a true upward trajectory, which means it’s probably time to find a manager. Wherever you are in your career, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If for no other reason, knowing you’re no longer in the game alone will relieve a bit of the pressure, and you’ll have other, supportive people around you with whom you can share ideas.

Change it up

Meaning: step away from your work.

I think this is something we all struggle with, especially in this competitive industry. We work so hard to achieve our goals that we begin to lose perspective, and unfortunately, we start to burn out.

It’s hard to step away from work, because when we’re not working, it can feel like we’re not being productive. But taking time for ourselves is productive. Rest is productive.

Whether it’s spending a night out with friends, hanging out with your family for a weekend, or gardening one afternoon, do it. It’s so important that you take the time we need away from work — especially when our work is tied to our greatest passion — in order to regain that valuable perspective, stay motivated, and maintain the fire within you that has allowed you to achieve all that you have so far.

Get exercise

Exercise is truly one of the best medicines we have on this planet. It’s helpful for so many things that ail us, whether mental or physical. Instead of letting those ailments swirl inside of you, turn into anxiety, and create sleepless nights, give all that energy an outlet. Get outside, ride your bike, take a walk, do some yoga, or do whatever physical activity you’re most drawn to. If you’re able to do it regularly, even better. (And you just might sleep better than you ever have before).

Stress can very quickly get the best of you, especially when you’re building a career in the music industry, but by incorporating a few small changes into your life, you’ll be able to manage it — or even prevent it before it has the chance to take hold.

Erica D’Aurora is the Founder of Gioia Communications, a boutique music PR agency centered on highlighting what makes you, you, bringing buzz to your latest releases and projects through targeted, personalized press campaigns and materials. Gioia Communications’ services include professional biography writing, press release writing, securing interview opportunities and features, and more, always remaining focused on the artist, the music, and the stories behind them.

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