Musician Mental Health Checklist: 10 Signs You’re Burning Out And You Need A Break

It is scarily easy to fall into the trap of perfection and self-blaming when you’re an independent artist. It is daunting to compare yourself to the much more successful counterparts and feel like your effort might mount up to nothing. After all, everyone says life is what you make it, right? Wrong. That might be the case for a mathematically founded career, such as lawyer, biologist, chemist, engineer, technician, but definitely not the case for an artistic soul. Art can not be pinpointed or broken down in mathematical equations. Even if you put in your absolute best effort, you will still need to have that stroke of lightning to get things going. That too is part of the process. That touch of magic that cannot be anticipated. What you can anticipate though, is your mental health. It is your responsibility to make sure your morale stays in check and your drive is loaded. So proceed on, our fellow artist, to check the 10 signs you might need a break right about now.

10. You Dread Going To The Studio.

Recording should be one of the most fun times for upcoming artists. If you’re dreading it to the point of making up excuses to bail on the session, cancel all the booked hours, see if you can get your money back, and stay your behind home. Or go play Poker. But you need to take a serious break from being a musician at least for 3 days. Why 3? Because on the 4th it is highly likely you’ll be dying to go to the studio and your excitement will be back. However, if you’re on day 7 and you still feel nauseous at the thought of the mixing board, microphone, and headphones, prolong it! You make the rules.

9. You Get Writer’s Block More Than Usual.

And usually, that’s because something rather negative is happening in your personal life. It is absolutely normal to get writer’s block as a musician. Don’t force it. Don’t overdo it. Trust your brain, your intuition, and your inspiration. Drop things for now and go play some video games. It will come back. We promise.

8. You Have No Energy. Ever.

As within so without. It is literally a law of the Universe. If your body is low-energy, it means your psyche is also hurting. If you’re getting headaches, nausea, or shakes for no apparent reason, it may have to do a lot more with your thoughts and feelings than your actual body. Take a break from whatever you’re doing and see how you feel when you’ve disconnected from the daily grind for two days. No phone and no internet would be ideal. No vocal warm-ups either.

7. You Get Angry Fast.

For the smallest of reasons and at the unlikeliest people. If usually your friends calling to check in with you brings you smiles, now you get irritated that they want to talk for so long. You also start taking things personally and seem annoyed most of the time. This too is a result of a frustrated spirit. A happy mind, a happy spirit, and a peaceful state will never allow you to get angry at little things. Time for a break.

6. You’re Losing Track Of Time Most Of The Time.

It’s okay to catch yourself binge-watching a TV series once or twice a year but absolutely not okay if you grab your phone and endlessly scroll through TikTok videos for 4, 5 hours in a row. It is not okay when you know today you’re supposed to finally call your bank to lower your monthly rates and you forget yet again leaving it for yet another tomorrow. Losing track of time and worse, postponing essential chores and duties, is a hard sign of burnout. Love yourself and push yourself to stick to a schedule.

5. You Forget Things Easily.

A tired mind is a forgetful mind. If you catch yourself dismissing things too easily and throwing the silver spoon instead of the carton of yogurt in the garbage can, you need to recalibrate your inner peace and harmony. Do what makes you happy. And better yet, make sure it has nothing to do with music. Music is also a job just like your 9-to-5. With a big downside that is. Nobody is paying you for it. So take a well-deserved break.

4. You Self-Isolate.

Because you feel like sh*t a lot of the time without a good reason for it. At a very subconscious level, humans know when they’re unpleasant to be around so they avoid contact with other individuals in stressful times. If you have started turning down invites and get-togethers that once would have made your heart skip a beat, you are burning out. No job should ever take so much away from you that it isolates you from the world. Whether it’s your daily gig or your music career, one of the two is stressing you at monstrous levels if this is your predicament. Accordingly, we suggest you drop both. For a couple of days. Get your love for life back first.

3. You Start Feeling Unlucky.

Remember those days when it seemed that even when you made a mistake it somehow turned to be an instant blessing? When no one could do you wrong and even those who were cranky seemed like beautiful people to you? That’s how it should be most of the time. If, on the other hand, you start feeling unlucky in all areas of your life, you’re burning out. Your brain is overloaded, overly exerted and it doesn’t have enough power to set itself to search for the positive things around you. If it’s your music career or any recent failures you’ve gone through, kick it all to the side and take time off. You deserve it.

2. You Question Your Purpose.

You know you’re about to have an entire mental breakdown if you’re questioning your call of being a musician altogether. This is a grave sign that it’s hightime to put a stop to whatever you’re doing and connect with what will incontestably make you happy. Such activities are normally things you used to enjoy as a child or teenager. Pick up some comic books and forget about the reality for a moment. Or pick up Origami paper and focus on your task to achieve the shape you’re supposed to create. Things that require you to be present are most efficient. Coloring, cutting collages, DIY postcards, knitting, threading, or crocheting are all great meditating activities. It’s unlikely you’re able to meditate without doing something at the same time if you’re a highly creative individual as your brain is turning its wheels 24/7.

1. You Start Reminiscing Things A Bit Too Hard.

If you’re reaching for your diary of 5 years ago and when you read it you end up feeling like you’ll never again live such wondrous times, you need to pull back a second and ask yourself if you’re not just going through a blues period instead of generalizing the whole progress you’ve made thus far. Or worse… we’ve seen musicians get depressed during the lockdowns as they were nostalgic over pre-Covid photos from festivals and concerts. Do you know our mantra here at BRE? F*ck it! Chin up, ass back, and live in the present. Life is ridiculously short and tomorrow, in the most serious way, is not guaranteed. Don’t cry over the past. It’s gone. Cherish it but not to the point it makes you despise your present. If you’re living, it means you still have to accomplish your mission. And if you know it in your heart of hearts you are supposed to be a full-time paid musician, day by day, brick by brick, stone by stone, you will become one. Have faith.

 From Avant-Pop to Rap and Rock music, these 50 talents need and deserve support more than the ones you hear on the radio. So pay us back for the free articles by hearing THEM out. Thank you.

Image Credits: Unsplash

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