Positivism and burn-out


When I was giving a guest lecture to students of music management at TAMK last month, the subject was positivism. I planned to tell a lot about research of positive psychology and how that can help artists and people working with them. When comparing people who work with art or artists with people working in other businesses, you see that people who work with art and artists follow their passion. They do what they like. They have a very positive attitude towards their work.

Here is what I have experienced myself and have seen happening around me again and again:

Working with art or artists is a job many people can only dream of. So we feel privileged with the work we do. We feel already very postitive. With all the positivism present, it’s often hard to admit that there are moments when you don’t like your work or some aspects that go with your work. You think that it’s temporary and you go on, even if you feel less positive.

You once loved the work you do, and you don’t understand what’s bothering you now. Everyone around you works with art or artists too, they all love what they do. They wouldn’t understand, so you can’t talk about it. You feel fatigue but you go on, even if you need all your energy for it.

After having sleep problems for weeks or months you still think that it’s temporary. Only when physical pain is added, you start to realize that it’s time to visit your GP. Some GP’s only look at the physical problems. For most GP’s it’s difficult to realize that people working with art or artists can have a burn-out too.

At the lecture we ended talking a lot about burn-out and being overworked. Smiling doesn’t offer a way out of it. And when having a burn-out, you don’t have the energy for positivism. It’s important to find the right treatment. It always starts with taking some rest. In the second step you add some physical exercise. You have to learn to know and trust yourself again. As coach who’s familiar with working with artists, I can help you with that.

Even better is to prevent a burn-out. A friend in the music business told me that his laziness prevented him to becoming overworked. He always made time for doing nothing. For everyone working with art or artists it’s important to realize that you need off-time, time to relax, time to do nothing, time to get bored. Your mind needs to unwind. A regular walk in nature does exactly that. Yoga and meditation help too. Take that off-time as seriously as any other appointment in your calendar. You need it even more in situations when you think that you are too busy and don’t have any time for it.

As a way to unwind, I take the bicycle to the office. That’s 20 minutes twice every day through a quiet area of the city, with many trees. What’s you favorite way to unwind your mind?

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