Musicians and Anxiety – Be Disciplined to Stay Sane

*My interpretation of a day in a life of Knower. Listen to them here. *

As musicians, many of us do not work everyday, but when we work, it can be 20 hour days….or longer…

Fitting in eating, sleeping, exercising, and just relaxing can be hard or seem impossible. But for musicians with anxiety issues, you MUST find a way to squeeze in breaks so you don’t freak…the fuck…out.

Working in the studio from 12noon til 1am, taking into consideration that you have to wake up by 10am to get to the studio, and finally being in bed around 3am with only one break only to repeat this schedule again the next day can result in a mental train wreck.

The key is to stay disciplined. My brother and I are musicians, and we both have anxiety. To stay sane, we have to be disciplined with our eating, sleeping, and exercising habits. Here’s some tips from our experience:

How to Stay Sane As a Musician with Anxiety

1. Notify your boss that you have anxiety, and that you need to take short breaks for your health.

Not everyone has anxiety, so it is important to inform your boss about your needs. Explain that you aren’t “slacking off” by taking short breaks, but instead you are taking care of yourself so you can stay energized and productive.

2. Eat a big breakfast and pack your food and water before you go.

Oh man, this means you have wake up early to eat breakfast?
I don’t know what kind of gourmet breakfast you make but, my eggs with spinach plus oatmeal take a total of 10 min to make and 5 min to eat…

But yes, I’ll admit, packing food is a slightly bigger bitch. First of all, pack meals that you can eat in 10 minutes. This will kill 2 birds with 1 stone because meals that take 10 min to eat typically take 10 min to prepare. Secondly, you don’t have to pack all your food in the morning!!! Read more in tip #8

3. Chips, soda, and a beer will not calm your anxiety OR give you energy.

C’mon guys, pack food that will keep you energized. That means protein and not just carbs. Tuna, beans, yogurt, chicken, veggie patties. And good carbs like sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, apples, bananas.

Yup. Having anxiety means you actually have to eat healthyyyy. Whatever you put in your body will affect your mind. So all that oily shit in chips and sugar/caffeine crap in soda will magnify your anxiety and give you more attacks.

4. Make time to eat at least 3 more times if you’re gonna be there till the butt crack of dawn.

Yeah, I know, I’ve heard it all before, “there’s never any fucking time to eat during a recording session or when setting up shows….”

Sorry dude!!! You have anxiety. You have to MAKE time. 10 minutes is about the length of a bathroom break. That is a reasonable break to ask for.

You need to pee and eat? Eat in 8 min pee in 2 min. It’s possible. Trust me. (pls dnt 4get 2 wash ur handz ty)

5. Forget to eat?

Set alarms every 3 hours so you remember to eat. Or tally on your hand how many meals you’ve eaten.

6. Leave a day to sleep in-between your 20+ hour work days. 

You’ve been awake for 48 hours and man, you got so much shit done you feel on top of the world!! Why not stay awake for another 24 hours?

*creepy announcer voice* AND ON THE THIRD DAY…

You can’t work work work with no breaks. We’re human, we need sleep. I bet you a million bucks on the 3rd day of working with no sleep, you’ll either get the jitters, the shakes, or explode on someone…

Schedule accordingly. Have day’s rest for every 3 days that you are working all day.

7. Tell yourself “it’s time to stop for today” and go to sleep.

What a concept. To stop. Writing, recording, producing, or mixing in the studio is so…fucking…fun. It’s addicting when our creative juices our flowing and so we don’t want to stop…until we start to get those jittery feels that means “here comes a panic attack!”

A lot of our projects don’t have strict deadlines, so it’s better to take your time and work on it when your mind is clear.

Once again, the key is to stay disciplined. Ask yourself, “Can I finish this another day?”
Or, “Is it absolutely necessary to record this creepy piano line right now at 1am or can I can just record it tomorrow?”

Don’t wait until your feel jittery to stop. If you can go to bed earlier than 1am, please do. That way you’ll have the whole next day to record or write or whatever instead of needlessly beginning your day at 4pm.

8. Besides sleeping, use your day off to exercise and prepare food for the following long work days.

Do whatever exercise you like. Gym, hike, yoga class. Or workout at home while watching LOTR while your chicken is baking and your veggies are steaming (that’s literally what I do.)

9. No time for exercise during a week and feeling jittery?

Some of us love to get in our 1-2 hour workouts. If you have a week where you KNOW you are working every day all day, try intervals or 5-15 minute workouts throughout your day. 15 min stretch or intensive HIT workouts in the morning is a great way to stay active and keep your joints lubricated.

10. Feeling jittery during your shift at work and all you want to do is run?

Again, take 5-10 min to release your anxieties with an intensive workout outside your work or in a room where no one is in. 30 seconds jumping squats, 30 seconds pushups, 30 seconds jumping jacks. Thennnn tell me if you are still anxious.

11. You’ve tried all this and still anxious at work/can’t slow your mind down to STOP working and sleep?

You might need to look into other herbal remedies or Western medications for when you absolutely need to function and are extremely anxious and none of the above remedies of worked. Frankincense or lavender oil is really wonderful to calm the mind (you can get it at Whole Foods). You can rub it into the palms of your hands or your neck and breathe into it for a bit. Dragon Herbs in Santa Monica has herbs in the form of capsules that work EXTREMELY well for anxiety. Check them out here.

Melatonin works for some people for sleeping, but if sleeping is really a problem and you need to work the next day, you might want to talk to your doctor (or visit Dragon Herbs because danggg they have everything.)

12. You’re welcome.

xox stay happy stay healthy so you can stay working :)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email