Managing The Stress Of Promoting Yourself As A Musician

IIn your most successful moments as a musician, you may feel an exhilarating sense of positivity, but you’ll likely have low points as well. It’s important to pay attention to your mental state when promoting yourself as a musician in order to be healthy and successful.

Whether your goal as a musician is personal happiness and gratification or making a living, it’s imperative that you don’t let stress and burnout block your path. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting burned out during the promotion process.

The Health Implications of Stress

If you’re doing double duty as an artist and promoter, you’re likely saving money in the long run, but at the expense of your health. While work stress might seem to primarily impact your emotions, mental stress can actually increase your risk of developing heart disease, as well as serious conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

What’s more, stress impacts your whole body, from your muscular system to your brain, and it can also lead to emotional and/or mental exhaustion. If you’re balancing a musical career with a side job, or if you’re raising a family, you may be at a higher risk of burnout.

Signs of Promotion Burnout

Signs of mental exhaustion can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint, but if you notice that you’re frequently short-tempered or impatient, it may mean that you’re emotionally exhausted. Other indications of mental or emotional exhaustion include:

  • The inability to sleep, or poor sleep
  • A lowered immune system
  • Problems with focus and/or motivation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Change in appetite

When you’re mentally exhausted, the promotion process becomes more difficult. How can you effectively sell yourself and your music if it’s difficult to focus? The good news is that you can combat mental exhaustion using a variety of self-care techniques.

Making Time for Yourself

In our digital, interconnected world, we often feel the need to be available 24/7. But that need is one of the primary factors that contributes to mental burnout.

According to Regis College, more than half of adults check their email outside of work hours and feel guilty if they don’t respond to messages. That number is even higher among millennials, who want to show that they’re firmly dedicated to their work.

Sound familiar? Like millennials, musicians often fall victim to what is termed “work addiction,” especially if they have a side gig that helps pay the bills.

To alleviate some of the stress of promoting your music, make sure to carve out some personal time every day. Turn your phone off, avoid the Internet, and just do something you love for a few hours. It sounds too good to be true, but if you make time for yourself, you may be able to avoid work stress and burnout.

Cultivating Positive Lifestyle Habits

If the long hours and often late nights that come with being a professional musician are starting to take their toll on your health, you may need to make some changes. Start with your diet.

Your brain’s pleasure and reward systems are triggered by a neurotransmitter called dopamine, and when you lack dopamine, you may feel lethargic and unmotivated. You can boost dopamine levels naturally by listening to your favorite music, working out, and eating certain foods.

Foods that help regulate dopamine include avocados and bananas, as well as eggs, chicken, and beans, which are also rich in protein. For added impact, supplement dopamine regulators with antioxidant-rich foods, like berries and leafy greens.

Along with dietary changes, you can also manage stress naturally by practicing mindfulness. A form of meditation, mindfulness allows you to reset by helping you remain in the present moment, rather than focusing on past or future events. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, from your home office or studio to your vehicle or subway car during a long commute.

Getting Organized at the Promotional Level

When you’re pulling double duty as a musician and promoter, you inevitably have lots on your plate. Booking shows, scheduling interviews, and making music to sell are just a few of the tasks at hand. Promotion can be overwhelming, so organization is key to reducing some of the stress that goes along with the job.

Invest in a planner and make sure to update it regularly with show dates, venue names, and similar pertinent information. You may also want to use a digital organizational tool, such as Google Calendar, to help you stay organized. Make sure to note any necessary follow-ups as well as payment details so that there are no surprises on the day of the show.

It also doesn’t hurt to set up a routine and allocate and hour or so per day to promotional activities, such as social media. Take that time to focus on your work, and when your hour is up, thoroughly disconnect and make time for yourself.

Final Thoughts

It may be challenging to balance the roles of promoter and musical artist, but it can be done. By staying organized, eating a balanced diet, and making time to escape from promotional duties, you have a better chance at success. The business of promotion and musical creativity don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

If any of your stress problems persist despite your best efforts to address them, contact your doctor or a mental health professional.

Bio: Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.