Burnout is a term that’s only grown in relevancy since the COVID-19 pandemic entered humanity’s worldview. I picture burnout as the Opera’s mysterious Phantom; covertly sly in the parlors of mental exhaustion as it quietly adds to the brain burden. You don’t see it coming, or at least I never did.
In my mind I thought burnout required massive amounts of exhaustion brought on by a dogged fight with piles of important work. But as I’ve learned now, those feelings can manifest through a variety of triggers both large and small. I deal with such issues to this day, which is why I appreciate those who’ve felt the burnout and can offer advice on potentially easing it.
Enter musician and previous OTBEOTB feature Andrew Thomases. He and the lovely people at Muddy Paw PR have put together a great feature on the subject of salving burnout that I’m so pleased to share with you below! -C
Bay Area-based conscious rocker Andrew Thomases is not only a talented singer-songwriter, but an experienced attorney as well. He has always had a passion for music, but he put that passion on hold to develop a career and raise a family. In the midst of the pandemic, his love was reignited, and he reveals his journey back to music in his new single “Exploring.”
Thomases takes on themes of empowerment and curiosity in the song. Through it, he encourages listeners to be adventurous again and try something they’ve always wanted to do. It is a powerful reminder to make the most out of life, something that he often advocates for. Read his story below on how the process of making music helped him escape burnout and reinvigorated him throughout the pandemic.
As you may know, I am a 54-year-old attorney by day, and I have been practicing law for 27 years. So, I have had my run-ins with burnout. Whether it’s the tedium of work or the hardships of life, sometimes you just feel like you are stuck in a rut.
How do I overcome this? I challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone by learning new things, meeting new people, and traveling to new places. I love exploring all aspects of life, so I want to make sure the sense of adventure is always present. Planning a trip gives me something to look forward to. Meeting new people gives me new perspectives on life. And, learning new things keeps the mind active.
For me, the last one is the most important. I have loved music since I was really young, and I started playing bass guitar when I was about 10 years old. I played in cover bands throughout high school, college, and law school, and once in a while, I would try my hand at writing a few bars of music for a new song. However, I never really sat down to write a whole song or even learn how to do so. Then, mid-life hit, and that coincided with the pandemic, which gave me more free time outside of work. So, I dusted off my bass, bought a new guitar, and taught myself how to play chords and melodies. I watched tons of videos on music theory and playing guitar. I realized how invigorating it was to learn new things. I began looking forward to finishing up work for a day so I could turn to making music. I even found some lyrics I had written decades ago and began building a song around those.
I also taught myself music recording and production on my home iMac. Lots of tutorial videos online, and lots of trial and error. Again, it was a challenge, but I enjoyed the process of gaining new knowledge.
At first, I recorded a very personal song about my dad’s passing during the pandemic and sent it around to family and close friends. I was reluctant to send the song to folks, because I was really putting myself out there – both because of the personal nature of the song and because it was the first time I played and sang one of my original songs for anyone else. I was pleasantly surprised that I received positive feedback and encouragement to create more music. Again, if I hadn’t put myself out there and explored something outside my comfort zone, I might have never continued in my music writing endeavor.
But, I dove in with a passion. I had some guitar licks in my head, some song ideas that were kicking around, and some chord progressions that sounded cool. I looked forward to working on them each evening and on the weekends. It was great to have something exciting to turn to each day. My music-making got me off the proverbial couch. Much less TV watching, and much less surfing the internet. I was creating, learning, stretching, and experimenting. It was great.
The positive reception has certainly been rewarding. It has also revealed to me that a new interest or hobby has tremendous benefits. It has been great for my psyche and other parts of my life. I no longer feel stuck in a rut. If I contemplate something new that may be outside of my usual routine, I now relish doing it rather than worrying if it would be uncomfortable or frustrating. Sometimes the best things in life are the ones that take a bit of exploring and challenging oneself. Enjoy the adventure!
Thanks again to Andrew as well as Erica from Muddy Paw for the feature!