Destressing For The Musician

Stress can seriously be a killer, yet many of us have come to accept that it's just a normal, necessary part of living in the modern age, however we often downplay the lasting detrimental effects that stress can bring into our lives. Even worse, this can stifle and snuff our creative spark. 

Being a sonic innovator is both a blessing and a curse. It’s wonderful when you’re in the zone to create and let your inspiration flow through you, but the curse occurs when you’re simply feeling and taking in far too much on the sensory level. As musicians in particular, you’re often gifted with the ability to soak up all that your senses can and the negative aspect of that is that you can find yourself feeling incredibly raw and exhausted by the end of the day.

So what exactly is stress anyway? Stress can mean many different things for different types of people during varying stages in their lives. The three types of stress are acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. These forms of stress each have their own levels and duration times. Stress is often psychological, physical and emotional all at the same time, so when we find ourselves in a high pressure situation, whether it be one-time or consistently, it makes sense that our nerves begin to fry when these three levels of intensity are occurring simultaneously. 

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These days, life is becoming even more seemingly streamlined, yet we often do not recognize how we complicate and then invite stress into our lives in an entire other manner. Some people may seem to have the benefit and luck of being able to get their groceries delivered to their front door step, but what about when the delivery person drops off the wrong items? Or if that avocado isn’t as ripe as you would have picked? 

What happens if we don’t get our stress under control? Enter adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue, in layman's terms, is our system officially burning itself out. The official definition of adrenal fatigue is “Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenals for use in the regulation of blood pressure. In response to stress, the adrenals release greater amounts of cortisol. Adrenal fatigue is thought to occur when the adrenals have become overtaxed by excess cortisol release and can no longer produce levels of cortisol necessary for optimal body function.” as studied by Endocrine Web. Those who are already in the throes of their adrenal fatigue often feel that they can’t reach a past level of motivation and mental stability, while also being in a bit of a “brain fog”. We certainly don’t want this to become our every day, because we’ll all too quickly adopt it as an irreversible change in our perspective on the world and find ourselves giving up on our dreams. To combat this, we must test out as many methods as we can so that we can take control of our lives and minds once again. 

When attempting to quiet your stress, two of the most crucial steps are to simplify and to start saying no. Do not overpack your calendar. We know, it all sounds so fun until the day comes and you’re rushing to check off fourty items from your to-do list. It’s simply impossible and you set yourself up for failure, making you feel like you just can’t do anything right. This is not the case. Set yourself up for success with reasonable, small steps. Take time to simplify your schedule. It doesn’t have to be forever, but just a little bit until you can accomplish some of those bigger items on your task list that may need some serious focus, like passing a course or learning a new instrument. In the meantime, say yes to the special things that may only occur once in a lifetime (like a wedding!), but begin to feel comfortable with saying no when you’re just too jam packed currently. Most friends and family will understand and encourage you to work on yourself and minimize your stress levels. 

Regarding your physical environment, you’d be amazed at just how good it feels to consistently wake up to clean folded laundry, put away where it should be. Put the extra time in on your days off to clean the back of those closets. Even if you can’t see what’s lurking back there, your mind is still holding a space for the items that you know are there. Be sure to make your bed and keep things as tidy as you can. Share your chores with your loved ones around you and attempt to be incredibly diligent in sticking to a cleaning schedule. 

Stay tuned for an upcoming discussion on how we can make diets work in our favor of calming the storm of stress. We’re determined to get to the bottom of this conundrum once and for all!