In November of this year, Pop-punk quartet Wolf Culture once again asked me to join them on the road alongside Jamie Lenman and Tonight Alive. The tour took us through multiple venues throughout the UK including my first time shooting with an artist in the Netherlands.
I decided in this addition of ‘Tour Time’ to not only include a gallery of my favourite memories/shots from tour, but I’ve also written a segment on the most prosperous ways of managing your mental health on the road.
This is a commonly touched upon subject in relation to touring creatives/musicians and a re-occurring music industry related problem. On the road these feelings can amplify themselves tenfold (even when you have the best crew on tour alongside you). This tour I admittedly became overwhelmed a number of times due to a number of small problems that built up to form one huge headache. The best ways I found to deal with restoring/retaining a positive mental health on tour however, included:
Settling Disputes - Even a tour where its five dates is still a long time for someone to be in a work state of mind constantly throughout the day and having to try and settle arguments that may have occurred before/during tour just adds additional stress on top of an already busy work load. There are situations where it isn’t a quick fix but if that is the case, emphasise to this person that there will be a time where you can call and try and resolve anything but having that extra cloud over your head can be heavier when you are away for a long time and have other things that need your attention at that particular moment. Main message here is try and keep the peace.
Eating Healthy - This seems like a given but honestly finding alternatives to packets of crisps and energy drinks for breakfast will always affect your body and your mind after a period of time, so do yourself a favour and take an extra look around next time you stop at a services or groceries and think what can help keep you on track. Swapping out that chocolate bar for an apple now and again may sound like a mothers mission but will definitely help in the long run.
Breathing Exercises - In those moments where you think you’re teetering over the precipice of your stability for the day, breathing exercises and meditation are serious life savers. Some people meditate in different ways, whether it’s a balance of complete silence or losing yourself in an album along with a series of long, deep breathes. It may sound textbook or even a little cheesy but wouldn’t you rather feel a little cheesy than have a day of negative thoughts? I found myself giggling addressing how corny it felt but even that lifted me slightly and brought me back to where I wanted to be.
Find Balance - Probably the most important thing to remember is the word ‘balance’. I know the same as everyone that editing can seriously pull you in (especially if you’ve just created some new presets, learnt a new technique or really dig the photographs you’ve taken) but remembering the small things like eating, sleeping (and especially pulling away from the screen for as long as you feel acceptable), can not only keep you from becoming too enveloped in your work but you can also avoid it controlling you. If you’re falling behind on coverage/socials/posts and you feel this pressure building inside (that you feel isnt manageable), take 10-15 minutes to collect yourself because NO post on the planet is worth jeopardising your state of mind.
P.S One other thing to remember is to never be ashamed to want time to yourself. You should never feel expected to be with the crew every second of the day because tours mean tight corners with lots of people, so if need be go have a coffee alone or a walk with your camera (or without) then so be it. If you are out with the right kind of people, they’ll understand and will know that its not because you dislike them or that they will think you strange for doing so, they’ll know you’re just human and want a breathe of air that doesn’t include anyone other than your own company.