My co-producer, Ginger N. Whiskey, and I just came out of a recent string of productions including the San Diego Fringe Festival. To say we are exhausted is a bit of an understatement. Between setting up the behind the scenes production, keeping schedules of multiple performers, and actively marketing both digitally and physically, we are feeling a bit drained. This is the feeling that many producers, performers, and artists feel after major achievements. It’s completely normal and can sometimes feel like a depression pit while you decompress.
I recently had a conversation with my friend and fellow performer, Di’Lovely, on this same subject matter. Traveling, scheduling, reaching out to producers, and all the while creating innovative and polished acts is a lot of work. The underlying sentiment that was settled on after a serious of back and forth banter was that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. This could mean anything from producers being able to take care of their performers they hire, to performers having to take care of their own personal life as well as their career.
There are a few things I try to keep in mind while going through these transitional moments.
- Go easy on yourself. Give yourself a day off. We don’t have to be inspired 24/7 just because we are artists. Sometimes there are gigs that you have to do a repeated easy act just so you can rest. Always do your best, but don’t force yourself to always go beyond your capabilities.
- Growth is just as much reflection as it is pushing yourself. If you never took time to reflect on everything you learn, all the workshops you take, or all the amazing performances you watch, how can you expect to process them into something consumable that you can later utilize?
- Cultivate your non-burlesque related skills. We are all multifaceted individuals. I have never met a more diverse group than I have in my burlesque community, and each and every one of you has multiple skill sets that you can and should cultivate. Being a well rounded person reflects not only in life, but on the stage as well.
- Spend time with loved ones. If you never take time to improve on your personal relationships, then who will be there when you accomplish your goals? Who will be there clapping proudly as you perfect that routine you’ve been working on for so long. Who will be there when you have a bad day? Burlesque is a lot of things, but it shouldn’t be your everything. Keep your friends and family close.
- Allow yourself a vacation. Take a real vacation. No burlesque involved. Breath and have an adventure. You never no what you will experience. After all life is nothing more than a series of adventures right?
- Take care of your body. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating when you are hungry, and drinking enough water. It sounds very simple, but it can make the world of difference.
- Take care of your mind. Read a book. Meditate. Watch a series of Ted Talks or that documentary that you’ve been meaning to get to sans the E6000 and rhinestones.
- Commit to one task at hand. We all multitask, but often what happens is you have multiple half done projects, rather than one completed project. There have been multiple studies that show that multitasking isn’t always the most productive method, so go ahead and schedule time for one thing. You will be surprised at how much you get done.
- Finally, take time to celebrate everything you have accomplished. Sometimes we get tunnel vision and forget to celebrate all the wonderful accomplishments we already made. Did you finish that costume? That is awesome! Give yourself a hug. Did you do a high kick without looking like you are having a seizure? Open a bottle of something yummy and toast to yourself. Did you sew a straight line? Look yourself in the mirror and give yourself a high five. I’m serious do it! The point is celebrate all your accomplishments rather than thinking of everything you have yet to get to. Art is all about the process.
Try a few of these tactics to help prevent artistic burn out. It’s an on going process, and you are never quite done, but that’s okay. Do you have a few more pointers that you use to help prevent burn out and exhaustion? Send them my way. I would love to read them. Till next time!
Eva Mae Garnet