After coming back from a European tour with the Matisyahu camp, performing at 4 festivals and one solo show for nearly 50,000 people, I realized that there was so much self care I failed to attend to. Provided that I was better prepared, I might've been able to put out a better performance while my mental, physical, and emotional health was in check.
Regardless of this all, I was speaking in France with Jason Rogoff of A Frame Mgmt and mentioned I should write an article about how to avoid the tour blues. At one point I mentioned, "I think its time to go back to America." I was feeling sad, out of touch with my friends and family, and felt quite alone, far away from home. I was exhausted beyond belief from travelling and hadn't really slept well for the previous ten days. I had not meditated or prayed once, was eating horrible food (no offense Europe...i can't live off bread, cheese, salad for 10 days ... even in jail). I missed flights. I even cried a bit and had some panic attacks (small ones, nothing that major).
I came up with 10 simple things for you to do whether you are in America or Europe or wherevever. If you follow these steps you will be happier, more productive and less stressed on the road. I know this is true, because I have done it before.
Exercise and Sweat - I think this is underestimated. I was running 5 miles every other day before my trip with a minimum of 2-3 miles in between and I felt great! Now with this happening, I realize the value and benefit of exercise is available at any time. If you can do 100 push ups to 200 pushups a day even in clips, this will keep you in a high energy mood with blood pumping.
Proper Sleep and Rest Areas - Many times on tour you might be renegading it by sleeping in the van and staying up all night partying and then getting up early in the morning unable to operate. You want to sleep in a safe place. I fell asleep in my car and my computer got stolen in a Denny's parking lot. If I was willing to pay 125 bucks for a hotel that night instead of being cheap I would've saved myself a lot of drama and potential injury. Buy a hotel/motel and sleep with everything everywhere instead of guarding your pockets.
Call Your Loved Ones - You can never under estimate the power of love. The power of love brings people together and keeps you on the phone with some big people in your life. Call your roommates, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, family. If you spend $100 to keep you sane vs making 100 dollars more and going insane, your mental health will really appreciate it. Consider it therapy.
Keep Creating While You're On the Road - Even if it's something of poetry, Vloggin/Blogging, writing a song, making a beat, don't be afraid to do the new new…I recently made a new music vide on tour + a new song, and I feel like that piece is so amazing.
Eat Healthy and Not Junk - Keeping a good diet on the road is definitely hard. If you are a protein person and you're VIP at the carbohydrate party (Europe tours especially) def get a chance to have protein. Fresh squeezed juice is also a great thing and can keep you healthy. Being healthy on the road is a huge accomplishment.
Don't Forget To Be a Tourist - After performing in Amsterdam I asked Kool Keith what he thought of when he comes to the city. He said to me, "Don't be a hermit." Go out and explore the nooks and crannies of each city. Find the locals. Schmooze with them and take pictures and share them with your fans and friends. I have a personal Facebook page where I post tons of pics for my closer family and friends rather than a fan page.
Pay Your Bills On Time - It's tough enough to be on the road trying to make a name for yourself in the touring market while you have business at home to handle. Make sure you handle your stuff and business at home wherever you are. It's nice to come home to a bunch of junk mail and not endless bills and late fees.
Don't Exert All Your Energy Trying To Hook Up With People - Although it feels good at the time, I'm not sure if you have slept with a bunch people on the road or heard stories about groupies. Believe it or not, you will need all the friends you can get in a city, and chances are the relationship of long distance won't work out. Exert your energy on picking up more shows, booking, radio shows, and meeting new friends to help promote your shows in town.
Read a Book - I guarantee you there are 100 musicians and rockers/rappers who want to write a book, but how many of you are actually reading a book? Don't worry about writing the big book just yet. But grab something from a local book store, artist and check it out. I suggest checking out @modsun's book or @creature. They are both manifesto's to some degree and keep you excited while on the road.
Keep Yourself Clean - Did you ever measure the degree of happiness of a guy/girl who has dirty clothes and bad hygiene vs someone who is organized, neat, well groomed and has clean clothes? Make sure you do the small things like brushing your teeth, putting on deodorant, and having clean socks. The way you feel physically is directly related to the way you feel emotionally. A shower in a venue will never feel as good as it will, until you really need it.
Is there anything I missed that you think should be in here? Maybe I'm missing something. If you agree let me know which one is your favorite and what is the most important! Some of these can also be used for the "post tour blues" as well. Don't be afraid to do these things all the time!
Be sure to download my free release The Jet Lag EP.