Something that I’ve struggled with for a while is finding a balance between work and life. I know I’m not the only one. It’s a common trend among full-time musicians, artists, creators, and really anybody who’s working for themselves. When you choose to do what you love for a career, it can be a beautiful thing. I’m incredibly blessed that I get to wake up everyday to do what I’m passionate about, share my skills, and work for myself.
But there can be a dark side too. As a self-employed independent contractor, there’s obviously the uncertainty about how much money you’re making. Even if you’ve had a busy and lucrative past few months, there’s always the fear that the next few months might be slow, so you feel the need to keep pushing harder. Another less-talked about issue is the blurring of work and play. If I choose to do music as a full-time career (because I love it so much), it’s easy over time to start viewing it strictly as work, and loose track of why I fell in love with music to begin with. This can also lead to feelings of guilt - knowing I should feel lucky and appreciative that I get to do what I love, but really feeling bogged down by the weight of it all - which can lead to a vicious cycle. Then of course there’s the feeling that you should always be saying “yes” to things, lest you miss out on a great opportunity. All of this can be extremely detrimental to mental, physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Some things that have been helpful for me:
- Yoga/meditation practice
- Focused breath
- Talking and sharing when you’re feeling overwhelmed
- Spending time with friends and family
- Remembering why you choose to do music full-time… You love it!
Anybody who works for themselves and does what they love for a living will have to deal with this at some point. This is not to say that you shouldn’t follow your dreams and passions. You should! But it’s not always easy, and you need to be open and honest with yourself about the struggles, and make an effort to find balance. It will be better for your quality of life, friendship, connections, and of course, your quality of work (*wink*).