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How to Overcome a "Burn Out"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by ThumpPlunkJunk, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. I searched for this topic in this before but with no results. I thought it was pretty important, and that it probably deserved a post, so here it goes.

    Basically, I'd like to ask how everyone here avoids "burning out". That is, how do you keep from obsessing with your music (and life, really) so that it doesn't overwhelm you? Personally, I've been feeling completely swamped for a while now--I'm involved in entirely too many bands and orchestras, not enough free time and it's taken a pretty big toll on me.

    I'm finding that I'm very, very tired most of the time and I'll be yawning in the middle of the day, I'm becoming less and less caring about the concerns and needs of others and overall I've just burned my candle at both ends to the point that I've even lost motivation to do the things I love anymore (including the bass). Schoolwork is being blown off, I'm doing the least work possible at my job and practicing is only just meeting the bare minimum. Things I'm normally excited about are just checks on a long laundry list of things to do.

    It all came about last week when I pulled what turned out to be a 12 hour day of almost straight rehearsal and practicing with only a couple of short breaks. This day was topped off by two hour concert and then a three hour trek back home, which put me back at around 1:30 at night.

    I know none of this is characteristic of me. I am usually the polar opposite to what I am right now, but this is really frightening me as I'm making my final application decisions and deliberating as to which colleges I want to go to (I've ultimately settled on one school, but it's scaring the daylights out of me that I'm not as ecstatic about it as I usually would be). I've found myself thinking: "Why do I even want to do this?" and completely re-evaluating my course of action in terms of music, as well as other things like physical fitness and academics.

  2. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Do less.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Carve out time, I know it's hard, and listen to music. Don't analyze it, don't play along, don't try to learn anything from it, just listen and enjoy it. Give it time. reconnect with the experience hearing the music you love.

    Saved my ass.
  4. Meditate. Seriously.
  5. LowBC

    LowBC Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2008
    Builder, chief cook and bottle washer: www.MavourneenStrings.com / store manager at Music Go Round (Denver)
    Put down the bass and get outside for a day. Or two. It's time to re-charge the batteries!

    good luck!
  6. f64


    Oct 31, 2009
    First things first. I'd spend some time evaluation colleges on your list and begin to make some decisions. It's easy to get overwhelmed with just that task and it can be very nerve racking. It sounds like you are at an important point in your life with hard decisions to be made. Just remember that whatever you do it will be the right thing.
    Take a day for yourself afterwords and enjoy the things around you. You've got plenty of time for music down the road.
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    No matter what you do, vacations are always good to take if possible. Like a week away from anything musical or having to practice. The brain also needs time off. Sometimes I will actually come back from a vacation with stronger playing abilities because my brain had a chance to digest a bunch of new material.

    Granted, I'm not doing it for a living nor am I student, but forced vacations (like a complete day off every couple of weeks) is what actually keeps the hunger going. I have to kinda starve myself now and then or else I'll run into burnout. Too much of anything is unhealthy.

    You're young, music is and should be important, but there's also so many more experiences in life than just that. You need to get out and enrich yourself as a person with other things, and your music will benefit from that enrichment. The soul that gets applied to your solos has to come from somewhere. You gotta live too.

    I remember a teacher comment about some up-and-coming young jazz recording star. Said he the playing was great but wasn't that deep. His thought was they needed to "go out and get their heart broken a few times".
  8. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    As the saying goes, "A change is as good as a break." You can incorporate little things into your day to break up the intense music music music grind.

    Try going for a walk around the block during rehearsal breaks, or doing some window shopping, or reading a book in a cafe, or sitting in your car talking to a friend on the phone, or writing and drawing in a journal, or visiting art galleries and museums, or stopping at a brook with a fishing pole, or listening to audiobooks to and from gigs, or sudoku and other mind games, or napping on your bass case, or trying out different styles of food when on the road, or stepping into a church for some quiet time, or....

    I find doing something completely non-musical away from other people to be very refreshing.

    Just be sure it is something positive and not something that'll take you down a bad road or ruin your playing ability.

    Oh yeah, take vitamins and herbals will keep your body and mind health up.
  9. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    If you're good people will take advantage (sometimes in a good way, sometimes bad) of you until you say no. I was in the exact same place. Basically for me I started putting a price tag on rehearsal time and lo and behold rehearsals got less but gigs did not.
  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Oh btw: I do notice other things when you give your body a chance to rest. Often times after multiple sessions of more intense practicing (like lots and lots of scales and stuff that really makes the hands tired), sometimes taking a day off I actually feel stronger coming back to the bass. Muscles do need a break to strengthen as well. Your body is not a endless tool that you can abuse. Probably the same thing goes for your mind.
  11. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    At least for me it is more mental exhaustion. If I'm totally engaged in everything I don't get tired. It's when playing starting to feel like working that I drag. There's a reason I do music full time though. So I never have that feeling.

    Conversely though you can overdo it because of a paralyzing fear of NOT having a gig or rehearsal. The "Terrifying Hole In The Calendar Syndrome". I've know that disfunction too.
  12. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    This is my problem at work. If you're a hard worker and like to please people, saying NO is something you have to learn in any career. People can take advantage of your passion and in the beginning you will give it freely out of love for what you do and because it seems to simplify things... until you burn out. I have been in bands where I thought I could do everything to make the project come along...

    Here I am posting from the office on a Saturday night (snuck in so Monday will impress people). I wish they would block Talkbass!
  13. Thanks a lot for your responses, folks. I've been feeling a lot better in the past couple of days, and I'll be using my Thanksgiving break to get myself back in order.
  14. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    glad you are feeling better, the turkey will help you sleep