The work of violinist Gina Burgess has taken her around the world, and it’s not just about breaking the pain with equal, nunavut-based Arctic rockers. Jerry Kane. Burgess is a yoga instructor and educator – she regularly travels to remote Nunavut communities to teach the violin and has conducted youth workshops on instruments in Australia, New Zealand and Greenland. She is currently writing a book on healthy travel for musicians, focusing on female-identified artists, she says will be set up to work like an adult activity book with simple yoga and meditation practice, color circles, space for journalism. Inspirational stories and quotes, and his own tried and true road tips.
We talked to Burgess about those tips right after we finished a tour with her Paper bit scissors And was on break from assembling his first single EP. There’s a lot to take here, and he insists that if you’re in a band, it takes teamwork to be able to successfully take good care of yourself during the tour: “I can’t say how important it is to be supportive of each other.”
Spotify for Artists: What’s the Biggest Barrier to Staying Healthy on the Road?
Gina Burgess: The first things that came to my mind were time management and flow. By flow, I mean what you’re usually working with in a band or group, and in that flow what you need to do occasionally and what you need to do occasionally on your own – which is healthiest and best for you. It’s easier to get to where others are going or where the tour bus is going, when you probably don’t have what you need. It may take a little more work to find a grocery store or restaurant that suits your needs. And then there’s also time management, because it may take you a little longer to find that grocery store or restaurant, but in the long run it’s definitely worth it.
You have to remember your own welfare and your own needs and don’t feel guilty if you have to do something different or take extra time. When you are feeling your best, you can perform your best and be your best.
Would a band discuss all that?
Absolutely. It unites you as a band. For example, sometimes my bandmates will run out for coffee, and they know I’m milk-free, and I prefer pleasure balls or energy balls, so they’ll come back with a soy cappuccino and a pleasure ball, latte and a donut, which is someone else’s. Will work for.
What are some specific examples of nutritious eating options that are easy to transit, store and eat?
I really like hummus and rice crackers. Veggies, veggies, veggies as much as you can. Traveling in cold weather does not always lend itself to eating raw vegetables. If you can, in the winter, if you’re going to get something from a vegetable plate or a grocery store, try eating them at room temperature. It’s a little easier for your body. Of course nuts. Granola in the morning, it’s great. Even the hotel where we stay will have occasional continental breakfast, and I know oatmeal picking is sometimes challenging, but there are always oatmeal and usually fresh fruit so you can cut the fruit to make your oatmeal. Stay away from [sugary] Cereals and pancakes. Although sometimes there is a weird pancake and good here.
Too much sugar and you will crash. When you’re constantly stopping at different gas stations, it’s sometimes really hard to say no or stay low on sugar. I try to say no, because you want it more as soon as you say no to yourself. So say yes, but keep the balance. Track how much you have. The same goes for fatty foods, fried foods. All of these things can fill your stomach but they are actually taking away energy. The same is true of caffeine. I think if I had too much caffeine, the crash would actually be worse than the fatigue I was trying to get rid of. And of course alcohol. In our industry, there is a lot of alcohol. To process alcohol you need to be aware of how much you can drink, how much water you are drinking, and how long you need to sleep. All these things to keep the balance.
What are some easy ways to do the exercises you need on the road?
I carry a hacky bag in my backpack wherever I go, so when we are getting gas or something, or even if you want to go to a fast-food place and you are waiting in line for your food, I can just take out the hacky bag. It’s kind of weird but it’s fun and it’s right there and it’s easy – just move your legs, especially after sitting in the car.
There are lots of yoga seats and turning to the front and really simple, easy postures you can do. Again, you can do these things anywhere while waiting in line or waiting to get gas, just to stretch the legs, to move them.
I really like to tour. So, suppose you show a city, check your sound, and probably get a few hours before bed and for dinner. I’ll set a little time to start walking either way out of the venue এমনকি even just 10-20 minutes, half an hour. We are almost all carrying phones. We have the map, we will not get lost. But come back a little. Walk around the scene, see if there is a park nearby, and walk to the park. See if there is a grocery store nearby and walk to the store and have some snacks after the gig. Especially if the gig is in a bar instead of a theater, so you may have some healthier options when the bar is closed and nothing else is open.
What kind of activity helps during a long drive where you are stuck in the van?
There are several meditations that you can do. The simplest and easiest is to just bring awareness about your breathing. So you don’t need anything. Just bring your awareness to your breath. It is in some ways the most basic and powerful. But nowadays, there are many different podcasts and there are many different meditation apps that you can use. So, if you want to walk away from your bandmates for a few hours or minutes5 minutes, pop in your headphones and take a guided visualization, or listen to a podcast – that you’re really interested in. I listen to a lot of podcasts on consciousness and creative visualization.
But, I would also say, then keep your phone away or spend some time away from the screen. Phones and computers are a great tool. I am so grateful to have both of them in my life. But they can also be a source of energy, especially if you are scrolling, scrolling, scrolling for hours on end on the bus, which can put a lot of stress on you. Then once you are mentally stressed, you will start to hold it in different parts of your body. So try to take some breaks from the screen.
Drinking plenty of water is important. You’re going to stop more [to use the restroom], Because good then you can stretch your legs. But it is super, very important to stay hydrated. Drink hot liquids. If you travel to Canada in the winter, hot water [with] Lemon honey and some red pepper are highly inal.
Suppose you are on a bus and you are interested in exercising. Okay, you can do a creative visualization. So, you close your eyes and you imagine that you are playing pickleball, which you like. Really get into it, and allow yourself to feel what you like about Pickleball. Everything. You feel it all. And you don’t have to do it for too long – just a few minutes, up to 20 minutes. It ignites the same neurons in your brain that actually play pickleball fire. So, you are being employed in exactly the same way that you would physically move your body through this imaginative exercise. I know it’s not exercising your body the same way, but it’s kind of like a shortcut or a trick, and I think there’s something in it.
What about travel that is most detrimental to mental health, and how can artists deal with them?
Lack of sleep, lack of proper nutrition and proper diet, too much screen time – all of these affect my mental health, [and] If I don’t have enough rest activities. For example, I love Sudoku. I can really zone out when I do sudoku. So, I always make sure I have a little travel sudoku book with me. Or even if I really read a book – I have something to relax on.
Nowadays adults have coloring books, which have mandalas and they are really nice to relax the mind. You have caffeine, alcohol, [and] Recreational drugs. At the very least be aware of how these factors affect your overall strength – physically, emotionally, emotionally. Sometimes I feel like I’m feeling better physically, I have the strength, but I’m really feeling down or really ined. And then I take a look: Oh, how much time did I spend on my phone today? When was the last time I talked on the phone with a really good friend of mine and really got a good charge of love and friendship? These are really important things to remember. But mental health, nutrition and exercise – these all overlap. Your diet will affect your sleep. Your exercise will affect how deeply you can meditate or how you can get into your groove on stage.
– Matt Williams