What do I mean by burnout?
When you really don’t feel like practicing, don’t feel like performing, or you’ve lost your drive for what you’re normally passionate about. You just don’t want to do it anymore.
Do you ever feel like that?
[Watch today’s live video, where I talk about burnout and offer some solutions, as outlined below.]
What happens to your music-making when you feel burned out or un-inspired? What if you had reliable tools to prevent and overcome burnout consistently?
Here are my top 10 tips to banish burnout!
Just stop in your tracks. Stop in your day. Stop whatever you are doing. Give yourself the freedom to do nothing! Just sit there for a moment, without fidgeting. Stop trying to make yourself do anything. Allow yourself to just be.
- CHECK IN.
Check in and really get curious about the feelings that come up. Journaling about what comes up can be really helpful. Let whatever you’ re feeling show itself. Feeling burnout can be a mask for a whole host of different feelings you may not be aware of. Don’t wallow in feeling bad, but keep your thoughts moving. Journaling can help with this. If you find yourself feeling negatively, set a time limit for how long you can focus on those negative feelings. Allow yourself to feel fear, anxiety, shame or any other unpleasant feelings, but make a deal with yourself to move on after 5 minutes or so.
- DETERMINE YOUR PURPOSE.
You need to know what your purpose is! And if you don’t know, at least keep an open mind that wonders about it. Having a purpose doesn’t mean you can’t change it – it’s just a working idea, something you can always come back to and tweak as you have new ideas and experiences. But it’s really important to have goals and a sense of purpose. The more you grow, the more conscious you become and the more refined your ideas of your life purpose can be. But you can also get super-specific about your goals. For instance, a goal can be as simple as “I want to learn this piece because I’m performing in two weeks.” It’s up to you to decide how general or specific your purpose is. Having some sort of purpose that you can consciously get in touch with before you practice can help you avoid and even eliminate burnout. If your purpose isn’t clear, just get curious and ask yourself questions without needing answers right away. If you ask with a sincere, open heart you will get an answer.
- GO OUTSIDE.
Get inspiration from Nature! Even on rainy, horrible overcast days, just go outside and experience the space around you. By stepping outside, you’ll find that you aren’t boxed in and can breathe differently. Even the simple act of opening the window and letting the fresh air in can shift the energy around and withing you. If you have the time, go for a walk. Go to the park and look at the trees. Find something beautiful to look at. If you can’t go outside, even opening up a picture book or watching a beautiful performance on YouTube can inspire you. Take in inspiration and let it help nourish you. Burnout happens when you’re putting out energy for too long and not balancing it with intake of nourishing energy.
- EXPERIENCE EMBODIED GRATITUDE.
Be grateful for what you can already do and what you already have. Be grateful for how far you have come and what you have accomplished. Be grateful for what is coming your way all the time. No matter your situation, and some people have difficult circumstances, you can always find something positive if you want to. Starting a gratitude practice and being consistent with it is a great way to uplift you. Count your blessings and appreciate them fully with your body. Let your body FEEL the feeling of gratitude from head to toe. If you have trouble finding something to be grateful for, go back to the basics – be thankful you can breathe and move. Be thankful for your instrument, even if you can just play it a little bit. This isn’t just about thinking grateful thoughts but giving yourself the time to soak in how it feels to be grateful. Feeling grateful is truly different than thinking grateful thoughts or talking about it. Thinking gratefully is important, but feeling it is everything.
If you are feeling burned out, you may not be feeling very generous. However, after taking in inspiration and after you’ve nourished yourself you will have something to give. There is nothing more inspiring than sharing what you know with other people – even in the smallest way possible. It could be as simple as picking up the phone and talking with a friend to share what you’ve learned. If you’re a professional, share what you can do. Can you pick up your instrument and share with someone just for the joy of sharing? It’s all about an energy exchange: gratitude and taking in, generosity and giving out. The gratitude/generosity process jumpstarts the energy flow and vanquishes burnout!
- TAKE A BREAK.
Give yourself total permission to take a break. You’re allowed to take a break and it won’t be the end of the world! If you find yourself taking an extended break, ask yourself if you even want to be doing this. This ties back into Purpose. If you are taking a break for an extended time, you may be burned out because you’re actually done with whatever it is and it’s time to move on. Can you face the possibility of quitting? Facing that question, “What would happen if I quit?”, can be so healing when you go all the way and ask the question. Go down the line of thought – think about the consequences and get clarity on if you think you might want to quit. Don’t be afraid of asking yourself the question. 9 times out of 10, most people don’t actually want to quit, but they’re too afraid to even ask the question, so the idea looms over them over time… and that can be pretty depressing! So, ask yourself, listen to your heart, get clear, and then commit to your decision.
- DO IT WRONG.
What happens if you give yourself the permission, the total freedom, to get it wrong? To fail, to mess up on PURPOSE! What would happen if you played the wrong note on purpose? Would you die? No. Would it be funny? Could be! If you give yourself this kind of freedom, could you actually discover some surprising new ways to do something right? Yes! You can stumble on new ways to do things you never would have thought of before. Just do something wrong and find out what happens.
- BE PLAYFUL.
Turn what you are doing into a game. Be childlike. Be playful. How would a beginner with a beginner’s mind approach what you’re burned out on? Can you play with it as if it were the first time? This will require something big of you: IMAGINATION! Exercise your imagination! You have the total capability of reversing your burnout by inspiring yourself, but only if you want to. Only YOU are responsible for your burnout.
- BE CREATIVE.
This ties heavily into #9. Wake up your creativity in any way you can. If you like the idea of having a creative Muse, be open to receiving the inspiration. Whether it’s something inside of you or outside of you, get creative.
I hope these suggestions help, and I’d love your feedback. Let me know what works for you!
p.s. If you’re feeling burned out and you’d like help finding inspiration for better music-making, send me a message. I’d love to chat and offer you some individualized solutions. Be well!
I’d love to get your feedback in the comments below, and please share this post. Thanks for reading!!
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