Life as a musician can be exciting and creatively fulfilling, but there’s a lot of unpredictability, which can cause stress. Bands break up, shows close down, work dries up… but rent is still due and life still has to go on. Not only does life move on, but then life throws us all the occasional curve balls, such as a medical issue, a death in the family or a divorce. Hopefully you have people in your life you can turn to – your partner, your family or your friends. Having social support is a major antidote to stress. In fact, researchers have studied how people experience stress when they have a medical issue. They found that stress skyrockets when there is a lack of social support. But what is “social support” and why is it important? As humans we need to move together. It gives us a sense of purpose and connection to our environment. In ancient human history, we were more connected to our environment and each other. We lived outside and moved in small groups. In order to eat, we had to hunt and farm our land cooperatively. We did everything together face-to-face. But these days, especially in a large city, many people live a much less connected experience. We are glued to our mobile devices. We mostly talk to our co-workers via e-mail instead of in person. We don’t always know our neighbors. The stuff we buy – including food – comes to us from halfway around the world. We are lacking community.
So when stress starts to build and we incur some kind of loss, unless we have a foundation of friends, family and loved ones to turn to right away, we can easily lose perspective. Sometimes it can be difficult to function. The more isolated we are, the higher our stress.
So be sure to talk and relate to the people in your life. At work, networking is the key to more gigs. At home, treat your relationships as precious. Either way, remember that relationships take effort; they don’t happen automatically and they need nurturing and fine-tuning. If you are lacking in people who you can talk to for now, give us a call at MAP. Our new social worker intern from Hunter College, Hannah Wineburg, will be available to offer free counseling to members. Remember, therapy is not a substitute for any of your relationships. But it can act as a support in helping you develop the skills and understanding that you need to improve your resources in life.
SPECIAL NOTE: We’ll soon be announcing a new networking seminar series at Local 802. Stay tuned!