This month, CoMuse has partnered with The Orchard/Sony to provide mental health resources for The Orchard’s thousands of clients and artists around the world. What an honor!
I was given the opportunity to share my thoughts on a myriad of subjects involving mental health and wanted to share some of them with you here in case you might find them helpful too.
What is meditation and how can it help?
We at CoMuse LOVE meditation! It can offer incredible benefits and resilience tools that you can carry with you through your career as an artist and through your life. It’s also important to know that certain types of meditation (there are many) have certain benefits while others have other benefits. For this reason, you should look to understand what your desired outcome is (i.e. reduce stress and anxiety vs. create self-compassion and compassion for others through mindfulness vs. brain training and discipline vs. letting go of past trauma and behaviours that aren’t serving you well vs. furthering your spiritual practice, and more!)- so many types to choose from! There’s a wonderful app we recommend with a free version available called Insight Timer, with access to all different types of meditation for you to try out and discover what you enjoy. Find something you can stick with as a regular practice even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day.
What can I do to maintain and prioritize my mental health?
Prioritizing your mental health is a journey, not a destination. It’s a daily work-in-progress for the rest of your life sort-of-thing. As artists, it’s important to allow the space to feel our emotions as they are signals to pay attention to. Paying attention and staying curious also allows space (and time!) to be curious about what’s going on inside ourselves without being so quick to judge or react. We created an infographic that might help you take the steps you need to check in with yourself on the daily. This may seem controversial but remember that you are a human first (this is who you ARE) and you create music and art (this is what you DO). As artists we can confuse the two and this can get us into trouble sometimes. Take care of who you are first and this will feed your art (and all the others that your art may support).
How can I help myself and others set healthy boundaries?
Start from the inside out. Setting healthy boundaries can fall into many categories (i.e. time management, wellness, interpersonal communication, etc.), so it’s important to know which areas of your work and life you’d like to prioritize first that will have the greatest positive impact on the other areas. It’s super-important to realize that when it comes to control, we really only have control over ourselves. So, when setting healthy boundaries you may find it useful to first decide what you are not willing to believe/think/say/act and that might then inform what you do believe/think/say/act. By integrating your beliefs, thoughts, speech and actions others will see where you are willing (and not willing) to go and that may help them define their boundaries with you.
FOR THOSE WHO SUPPORT ARTISTS
How can I spot the signs of someone who is struggling with their mental health?
At CoMuse we assume 2 things before entering into a conversation with anyone:
1. Everyone is struggling with something (and you may never know exactly what’s going on or just how much they are struggling).
2. Everyone wants to be successful in the way they define success for themselves.
Knowing these 2 things, entering into conversation with artists (or anyone else for that matter) starts us off on the right foot (read: empathy) and makes anything you have to say after that more connected, genuine and relatable.
How can I prioritize wellbeing over productivity?
When working in or supporting others in Music, I wouldn’t advise separating wellbeing over productivity because they are SO interconnected. You cannot sustain productivity without wellbeing so we find a way to intermesh them. Something as simple as closing your eyes and taking 3, full, slow deep breaths is a powerful start. It’s free, you can do it anywhere and it takes seconds. From there, it might be worthwhile to explore other areas of intentional wellbeing like therapy, regular exercise, career development coaching, healthy meal prepping, quality sleep techniques, journaling, support groups, professional communities and more. I might add: be intentional with your time, your money and especially, your energy.
Is there a community I can join to learn more about this topic?
There are so many wonderful communities available! You can look to see if you have a local chapter in your city or town that you can join. Our AMAZING community CoMuse (I’m not biased at all! 😉 brings industry professionals together online and in person in a unique learning community setting to create safe spaces in being more mindful in our career approaches and in our relationships with others. We focus on the practical applications of compassion at work.
At the end of the day, we are all a work-in-progress and I believe grace, patience, forgiveness and self-compassion, although not always easy, are the keys to our success.