Sometimes your day just sucks. Anxiety has you stuck in bed until the afternoon and you feel bad for wasting the day, or you've been practising for an hour but nothing is sticking. When this happens, it's time for a reset.

  • - Reduce frustration
  • - Boost creativity
  • - Reset focus


It sounds silly, but recognise that what you’re working on – or even the whole day - isn’t going well, and that it’s ok to take a break, even if you haven’t done anything“productive”.


If possible, take a break to clear your head. Pick anything that:
- gets you moving
- calms you down
- makes you happy

Options include:
- Going for a walk
- Making yourself a coffee or tea
- Eating 3 cookies
- Having a good cry
- Going for a drink with a friend
- Hugging a cute animal
- Taking out your frustration on something squishy (preferably not a person)
- Playing a (video)game
- Literally anything else you like


Make a conscious decision to reset and restart the day. Do the same things you would at the start of your normal day.  

Is it 5:30pm and depressed/anxious you has only eaten a chocolate bar and 3 cashews?
Nope, now it’s 9:00am and you can have a nice breakfast.  

Is Bartók making you want to cry?
No he’s not, because now you’re doing your favourite warmup and just feeling good with your instrument and the sound you’re making.  

Pick anything to trick your brain into forgetting whatever was frustrating you so you can restart your day/work with a clean slate.

Final thoughts

As musicians, we can get stuck in a negative spiral of “having to” be constantly practising or improving, or being “productive” in some way. However, keep in mind that breaks are just as important as your practise.

Most of the time if you’re not able to get good work done, it’s not because you’re being lazy, but because something else is going on in the background. Maybe you’re tired and haven’t eaten enough, or the combination of all those essays and the audition coming up has your anxiety going crazy, so your brain is going into freeze mode  (or you’re very hungover because last night’s Mahler 6 afterparty went a little too hard…you never know ;D).

Was this exercise useful?

Then please consider donating. It helps keep the website running, and will make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside (and me too :D).