There comes a time when the body reaches its limits. When the mind will shut down on you and there is nothing you can do about it. When you feel this wall…It’s time to back down. Now I’m not talking about when you are feeling kind of tired. Sleepy. Rather lethargic and with no feeling to play. There are ways to deal with that and in very productive ways. What I’m talking about is MAJOR burnout! A wall of signals your body sends out to you. One that can not be ignored! Do you know what it feels like? Many of us do! In case you don’t…Here is what happened to me recently.
As you all know I have been writing, recording, shooting video and editing for the last 3 years. not ONLY mine but other peoples projects as well. Finally building my new membership website. It’s finally up and running. But it took 3 YEARS! Know what i mean? 3 years of heavy serious practicing, doing 12 14 16 hours a day on the computer editing video and mixing…for months and months at a time. With hardly any breaks! This is not so strange for me since I tend to be a workaholic. Like many of my musician friends. Its exciting to work!! Its love! You don’t get tired! BUT….after a brutal schedule and continually ignoring your body…there is a price to pay. Towards the end of the major editing portion of the project I began to have lots of anxiety. Panic attacks at times. Sever insomnia. Pushing through every thing i eventually started having heart palpitations a few months ago. One night it was so bad…I though, ok …this it it!! A horrible experience! Luckily it subsided but….This was when it really hit. And I went to the doctor. After some tests, the doctor of course said severe overwork and stress. So that was it…it was either continue the downward spiral or…get it together and take a vacation.
The first few days it was really hard! To break away from the project. To stop and relax. To NOT think about the project and just put the mind at ease. Enjoying each moment away from the project. Like a work junkie I had to ween myself away from editing. NOT EASY AT ALL hahaha! All I could think about was how much of a waste of time it was to sit around and relax! How I should be editing, practicing. Making the phone calls I needed to make and writing emails to book gigs etc etc on and on. Looking back on that time it was a nightmare at that point.
But now…I finally realize the importance of time off. And doing time off the right way!! Putting lots of time into my hobby, photography. I have also taken up rowing. Canoe mostly. Just a mild daily row, about 2 kilometers a day in the canoe. Out in the sea it’s so very nice. I dont think about anything but breathing and rowing. 100 strokes at a time, rest …float, look at the sea. Breath. Feel the sun. Breath. Row again 100 strokes etc etc. I can tell you what a huge difference this is making in my health. I feel so much better and…MY DRUMMING is alive again! I cant wait to hit!!! At night I go into the studio and work on NEW things! Refreshing the vocabulary and enjoying every moment. THE KEY to moving to the next level! With a fresh mind and perspective…you start to hear new things!!! The mind and body are amazing. How it responds to correct maintenance is amazing! For those interested …I have also been listening to Thich Nhat Hanh – a buddhist Monk and great teacher. It helps me in particular to relax. He has this real relaxed way about him and very interesting insights concerning meditation and the mind. The much needed relief was like opening a valve and letting all the pressure off the body and mind. I recommend it to everyone.
If you are reaching this point of extreme burnout. Please…DONT do what i did. Pushing through like mad and thinking all will be fine. Pushing yourself is good! But going off the deep end for very long periods of time is just asking for big trouble. No matter what your age! Listen the body. Its your friend! It tells you what it needs. Like great music…you just have to listen.