17th April 2021

Going On Tour? Tips For Your Mental Health

Mental Health

Feeling connected with others is a basic human need. Going on tour can affect your ability to stay connected with friends and family and this can have negative effects on your mental health. Have you planned adequately for this change in lifestyle? The Arts Wellbeing Collective provide a few pieces of advice for your pre-tour checklist.

Before you go, have a chat with your loved ones to come up with solutions for staying connected


What would be a reasonable expectation for how often you will be able to be in contact? Are there any periods that contact will be not possible? Would you prefer to work out a set communication routine, or would you prefer to be spontaneous?

Make the best of technology


Call, text, Skype, message, email – whatever works to stay in touch. Consider a closed social media group if you don’t want to ‘spam’ your friends with tour updates!

Figure out what would make you feel more connected while you’re away.

Perhaps mates could send postcards to be waiting for you at the next town, or you could find a way to bring your partner for a visit.

Check for any important events


For example, birthdays or anniversaries that might take place while you’re away. Chat about how you might celebrate from afar.

Work out a plan for managing potential crises at home


Who can help coordinate things and keep you up to date while you’re away? There are times when life throws a curve ball, like an accident or an illness, and you can’t be there – you’ll feel better knowing a plan is in place if the unexpected happens.

Notice if you’re feeling lonely


It sounds simple, but keeping an eye on your feelings can help you to take action. The antidote to loneliness is connection and you can seek it in many ways. Connect with a human or an animal in the community where you’re staying, seek support from your tour mates or direct your attention back home.

 

IF YOU ARE TOURING WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION:

Medication

Talk with your GP, specialist or psychiatrist before you leave and get their advice on how to manage your medication while you’re away. The effectiveness of certain medicines follows the body clock, so interruption or reversal of the sleep/wake pattern can interfere with treatment.

Seeing your psychologist


Chat with them about whether you can continue having sessions while you’re away, perhaps via video-conferencing or phone.

Schedule a pre-tour session to consider stressors and triggers to feeling unwell, and develop specific management strategies to implement while on the road.

Sharing your story


Consider disclosing to at least one trusted person on tour so you have someone to seek support from if needed.

If you work for an organisation you feel supported by and feel comfortable sharing your mental health journey, talk to them about what you need. It can be worthwhile to share with company management, too, confirming that you are prepared for touring, and you have a management plan in place.

You might need to be quite firm about your needs and boundaries. That’s OK – your health is the most important thing.

Published in Collaboration with The Arts Wellbeing Collective
The Arts Wellbeing Collective
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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

The Arts Wellbeing Collective is an Arts Centre Melbourne initiative that comprises a consortium of arts and cultural organisations whose shared vision is to effect better mental health and wellbeing for performing arts workers. Our objectives are to: - Improve support services for performing arts workers - Collate and share information - Effect industry cultural change - Improve support networks within and between arts organisations. Our guiding principles are: - Prevention focused, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing, and raising awareness of mental health, mental health problems and the value of early intervention. - Working in partnership, ensuring a variety of partnerships state-wide and across the industry – collaboration is core to the Arts Wellbeing Collective and vital to success. - Creating systems level change, through seeking to understand and address systems, cultures and traditions that contribute to poor mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts. - Long-term thinking, prioritising resources and initiatives that have capacity for long-lasting impact, scalability and transferability. - Knowledge creation and dissemination, working with experts and industry leaders to find, share, create and translate the best available information, tailored for creative contexts. - Encouraging innovation, Arts Centre Melbourne is always learning – we do not have all the answers. We will test, trial, evaluate, and share useful findings with energy and authenticity, and continue to be rigorously planned, strategically responsive and thoughtfully adaptable.

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