Today has been rough on me, to say the least. All day long I’ve had family issues, ongoing client issues and it’s currently -5 degrees and I can’t go for a walk to clear my head. Still, tonight I have to get into ‘work mode’ and deliver a great performance for a client.
I’ll be honest, I don’t want to. I want to drink wine, cry, watch Forensic Files and go to bed early. I won’t, though. Instead, I’m going to list some ideas to help me get through this, and hopefully they will help you as well!
When Life Sucks
First, I need to say I am by no means an expert on psychology. I definitely have bad days (or weeks) and some days are easier to handle than others. The one thing I do know is that whether or not I’m having a bad day, I have client deadlines and the music has to get finished. So, these are some ways I typically deal with life issues so I can focus on music:
1). Take a Break
I can’t do this, but if you’re not on a deadline and you don’t HAVE to work on music, set it aside for now. Come back to it when you’re mentally and physically strong. I wanted to list this one first because it seems the most obvious, but people often feel they HAVE to finish a song right away. Honestly, if you don’t feel it, your fans won’t either. Walk away until you’re ready.
2). Separate the Issues
Is it just me, or does it seem like everything goes wrong at once? It’s not just one client who is unhappy, it’s three. Then the dog gets sick, then someone yells at you, then your car won’t start and it’s just a landslide of dark emotions. I find it helps me to separate the issues individually. Yes, three clients are upset. One can be fixed easily, another was not at all clear on what they wanted, and the other will get fixed in time. The dog went to the vet and will be fine. When you shrink things down to their original size instead of lumping them all together, it’s much easier to handle each one.
3). Accept Criticism
It’s hard to go into a job to make changes when someone has insulted you or is already unhappy. It’s difficult to hear something you don’t want to hear, but learning to take the sting out of criticism has really helped me with my work. It isn’t easy at first, but one thing that helps me is to imagine the criticism being about a good friend. Would I think the critique was too harsh? Maybe, but is there anything helpful in it as well? Usually. If you filter the harsh part away and focus on the direction of the project, it can help you push through to the end. I also have a post on how to deal with haters if you’re experiencing that.
4). Write it Out
This really helps me. I write about how angry/sad/upset I am, then I either burn the paper or delete it from my computer (NEVER write a rant that could be found or shared, unless you’re prepared for a huge backlash). Writing out your feelings helps you to analyze them and learn from them. I just really need to stress: If you’re ranting about work, family, or anything that someone could see, make sure you delete or burn or erase it. Things written in anger are rarely shareable.
5). Channel the Feelings
If you’re working on a song that calls for anger or sadness, you might actually want to take advantage of your current emotional state. Music can be a great healer and can provide an outlet for you. If you’re doing a happy or upbeat song, this obviously won’t work.Music can be a great healer and provide an outlet for your sadness or anger. Click To Tweet
6). Look to the Stars
Every famous musician has dealt with hard times. A few that come to mind instantly are Britney Spears, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Find your favorite artist and look at a time when they were criticized by the press. How did they handle it? How did they get through tough times? I hate to admit it, but I enjoy watching “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.” It helps to see that everyone has tough times, even the superstars we know and love.
7). Stay Healthy
I know it’s really tempting to look for an unhealthy escape, but I urge you to reconsider. Look at Whitney Houston as my above example. You don’t want to find an escape in something that can take over your life. Treat yourself well, you deserve it.
8). Focus on What’s Good
With everything falling apart, it can be hard to see anything good about your day (or life). List everything that is currently going well for you. Focus on each thing and be thankful for it, even for a moment. It will help you see that things aren’t as bad as they look right now.
Bad times are just that: Time. Like time, they will pass. Hopefully these tips will help you power through them to work on your music!
I also want to stress that if you’re feeling like you really can’t cope or can’t make it, please seek help. If you are in the USA, the crisis hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. These are trained, non-judgemental, wonderful people who want you to be okay. You can also text at 741741. Everything is anonymous and you might as well give it a try. For a list of international hotline numbers, check for your country here (or search “[your country] crisis hotline”).
So tell me: What’s the worst day you’ve ever had? How did you get through it? Let me know in the comments and I’ll tell you mine, haha.