Feel Your Feelings: A Holiday Playlist by Women In The Arts
December 22nd 2017
Having made it through the wild time that was 2017, we asked Agenda collaborators and contributors to give us one tip on dealing with creative burnout, plus one song that never fails to make them feel good. Love yourself silly with this annual playlist, care of Women in the Arts.
Artist, dancer and choreographer
Sweat. It always helps. Doesn’t matter how, could be run, dance, skip, etc, just needs to be a full lather – enough that your clothes get wet. Salty endorphins, and it will also probably tire you out and maybe then that will also lead to a good night’s sleep. But always remember to rehydrate!
Song: Tommy Genesis – Execute
Musician and interdisciplinary artist
Creative burnout haiku:
Self doubt looms like fog.
Song: Jessy Lanza – VV Violence
Hot tip: in the great words of my Aunty and many aunties before me, “Closed mouths don’t get fed”. It’s important to put yourself first in life (whilst not hurting others) and get yours and focus on what you need to do because no one will, nor is it their job, to look after you and your needs, and supply you with the nutrients of life. You got this boo! You do you… xx
Song: Bitch Better Have My Money – Rihanna
Visual artist, DJ
Let it go! Be kinder to yourself and take a lazy break. The rules are: a swim in the ocean, nourishing food – so for me it’s seafood and tropical fruit, loud music and a long delicious lounge room disco, a great yarn with someone who inspires you (could even be a book or a real one on the phone!), just unwind no pressure, no social media just down time. Usually the best ideas come when I’m completely lazed out in the sun somewhere anyway, so take it easy sweetpea.
This track is dancing in your underwear but feeling like you’re in a sequin jumpsuit, it’s loving the way your lil booty jiggles as you swing it in the mirror, it’s no bra and frizzy hair but feeling like a goddess type feels. This song can make me feel great no matter what’s going on. I love disco and truly believe a good beat and a good booty shake can change your entire outlook. Got to be real, love – what a message!
Song: Cheryl Lyn- Got to be Real
DJ, event producer, curator & director, House of Ayebatonye
Sometimes I feel like a HOT mess, I have too much going on and feel completely burnt out, my remedies are SELF CARE. I’ve always been a big believer in taking time to do things by myself that make me happy. My favourite two things to do are dancing and jumping around to my really loud music, generally Nigerian disco because it is GOOD vibes.
Song: Oby Onyioha – Enjoy Your Life
Leila El Rayes
Kiss ur friends noses, dance to Kylie, do something cheeky and rewatch/read/talk/see something that makes you excited about doing again – mine is watching Frida and listening to Nina Simone (what can I say I’m a double Pisces, I love love). This song keeps me very grounded when I’m in the lowest of lows or full of warmth, regardless of mood this somehow always aids me to feel at peace x
Song:Pharoah Sanders – Love is Everywhere
The song I’m enjoying at the minute for re-invigoration is Kyante by Jlin. As for burn-out…rest is always good. Body, mind rest like a nap, ocean/pool dip, shower, bath & mindfulness/meditation (simple enough things though sometimes they can feel like a chore when burnt out)
As for creative rut…I’m into dancing in the club, shower, wherever really…getting the body moving and the psychic-transportation sonics provide. I also love reading fiction (I just finished Octavia Butler’s Wildseed which was brilliant… the relationship between reader & text is alive – also a sedentary alternative to cutting rug
Song: Jlin – Kyanite
In the ocean: swim out against the waves as fast and far as you can while repeatedly thinking the words POWER FUCK
Song: Baby.Destiny – F This
2017 has been one of the most difficult years I’ve experienced, with my marriage ending and a myriad of health problems, it’s left me in the midst of the biggest life/creative burn out of my life. I have found trying to keep a routine and stepping back from tasks you can take a break from and also staying away from people that drain your time and energy. Pro tip: beers are not the solution!
My friend recently gave me Princess Nokia’s album, 1992 Deluxe, on vinyl. The whole album makes me feel like a bo$$ bitch but one song in particular ‘brujas’ (Spanish for ‘witches’) is amazing – being a witch myself – this track really pumps me up! Particularly the line ‘don’t you fuck with my energy’.
Song:Princess Nokia – Brujas
Agenda on FBi Radio Producer, Pink Noise Producer, Music NSW Marketing Coordinator, Comes With Fries Campaign Coordinator, Perfect Hair Records Co-Founder
Still working on this one, but don’t feel guilty about saying no, and say it without excuses. The people who care about you will respect your choices. Be fair to yourself and the people you work with by looking after your own wellbeing, and in turn be understanding when others say no.
Song: Angel Haze – Resurrection
In order to keep my brain healthy and avoid the mental strain that is burning the candle at both ends, I make sure to take time out for myself by engaging in activities that would normally be tied to professional development/work settings, but as a form of leisure – going to exhibitions (particularly shows that feature emerging artists), reading art essays, getting to know the work of artists I’d love to collaborate with. It helps that I have a genuine interest in, and passion for contemporary art, so spending my free time seeing it has the added bonus of being an educational experience!
The track I’ve chosen is ‘Who I Will Become’ by Octo Octa. How Octo Octa unapologetically navigates a male-dominated electronic music industry as a proud transgender woman is of great inspiration to me. She’s doing her own thing and refusing to compromise! Octo Octa has great technical skill and her music is just really damn fun to dance to. It certainly fills me with that intoxicating rush of empowerment and enables me to connect with my body in a way that makes me feel nourished and strong!
Song: Octo Octa – Who I Will Become
Musician, All Girl Electronic Facilitator and one half of duo Video Ezy
This song is a collaboration by a bunch of powerhouse artists/musicians that reminds me to search and fight for spaces that empower myself and my friends ~ making those transitions however big or small makes the best feels!
Song: ‘Transition’ ft. A M O R, Nightwave, Nancy Whang, Mamacita, Coco Solid (Underground Resistance cover)
Photographer& author of Punk Girls
What I like to do when feeling overwhelmed and burnt out is actually switch off from whatever it is I’m trying to do creatively, which generally is based around the computer these days, and turn on my modular analogue synths. I certainly don’t know how to play them, but I feel like a child and really enjoy the exploration process and never ending possibilities. It feels like I’m switching my brain over from one way of working to a completely different one… This song emulates that feeling for me, and if I could actually play, this is the kind of stuff I would want to be making!!
Song: Kitchen and The Plastic Spoons – Happy Funeral
Managing Director, Music NSW
To pull myself out of creative burnout I generally get amongst nature. Whether it’s gardening, going for a swim in the ocean, or simply laying on the grass in a park -it really helps me remember that all of this stuff around us is a construct and life just goes on. Plus I really love plants!
I’d love to request Sensitivity by The Nah. It makes me feel fuck yeah! about being a woman.
Song: The Nah – Sensitivity
DJ, Hip Hip Hoe
Tips to get out of a rut or creative burnout:
1. [Trying to] place boundaries on when I am working and when I am not.
2. [Trying to] practise mindfulness ie noticing when my thoughts wander to work during my time off, and consciously trying to re-direct or distract.
3. [Trying to] say no to work when I am feeling overwhelmed.
4. Actively seeking inspiration.
5. Escaping – day trips, weekends away, holidays. Getting into nature is especially restorative for me.
6. Treating myself. Spending time, energy and money on me.
Song: Roxanne Shante – Go On Girl
VIP supporter of Women in The Arts
I am all about compassion (for myself and others!). We often hold ourselves to a higher standard than the partners, friends, family and colleagues in our lives, and I strive to keep the playing field pretty level. In practice I have seen this combat burn-out and emotional fatigue while fostering a headspace that can stay engaged and appreciate your successes great and small. Also, getting your eyebrows done on your lunch break, you get to lie down and have a lady gently pat your face. 10/10.
After sifting through the entire Fleetwood Mac anthology, I found the real pull came from the queen of queens, Mary J Blige. I feel like listening to Family Affair is the embodiment of ‘shaking it off’ and puts me in a celebratory mood even if I am stuck under an armpit on the inner west line.
Song: Mary J Blige – Family Affair
Writer and artist
One of the best things about adulthood is making your own morning routine – I really feel that watching Beyonce dance clips on Instagram is one of the last licit anti-depressants in this world and an extremely positive start to my days, along with her most recent guest spot on this song.
Song: J Balvin, Willy William, Beyonce – Mi Gente
Agenda on FBi Radio co-host, Firstdraft Director & Performance Space Program Coordinator
I’m getting better at saying no to things I probably don’t have the capacity to take on. It’s a slow process, because my immediate response to most things is “YES 100 TIMES YES SURE I’D LOVE TO DO THAT THANKS FOR ASKING ME”. Sometimes this means being realistic – rather than always trying to find the benefits or positives, I need to weigh up the impact that more work will have on my physical and mental health and my relationships (which are infinitely more important to me than any job).
I make time to see people I love.
A friend at work showed me this song during the most stressful and emotionally draining part of my year – it made me feel instantly better. I alternated between listening to this in my car at full volume, and drunkenly reading poetry to whoever would listen at parties – feeling. all. my. feelings.
Song: Amber Mark – Lose My Cool
Agenda on FBi Radio co-host,White Rabbit Gallery and The Power Institute
In the last few months I’ve been trying to shift my metrics for success away from my capacity to deliver on everything. I’m trying to focus on the projects and people that are really important to me. Nevertheless, burnout is real and we burnt out in a big way this year. I tend to isolate myself when I get overwhelmed and listen to too much sad girl country music. I picked Lonely Girls by Lucinda Williams because she is so tough and cool but also sings a lot about sadness in a way that makes me feel connected to all the overwhelmed, overworked and lonely girls in the universe.
It’s not good to wallow but I find acknowledging how overwhelmed you are to be a necessary part of coming to terms with a burnout and of coming out of it in one piece. The second stage is communicating to the people you care about. I love Katie so much and our friendship is one of the most important parts of my life and yet, I can be a total asshole to her at times. When you’re experiencing a burnout it can be easy to forget that the people you love might also be having a hard time. Even though I’m not good at it, I strongly advocate for talking and listening to the people in your life. The added bonus is, it makes you feel less scared and it feels nice to care for people.
– cook with friends even if you’re bad at it.
– call your parents and grandparents every once in a while, (if they are nice).
– delete facebook/twitter/slack from your phone for a bit.
– unfollow people on Instagram who make you feel inadequate.
– find somewhere to look at water.
– listen to this podcast on quantum mechanics and realise that it doesn’t matter because the universe is a hologram and nothing is real.
Song: Lucinda Williams – Lonely Girls
Wailwan woman, Managing Director of Moogahlin Performing Arts, Board member of BlakDance Australia, Board member Theatre Network NSW, steering committee member of the Blackfulla Performing Arts Alliance, co-founder of Why Are You Winking At Me?
My Dad has always been a wonderful source of blunt guidance and advice, and a living example to me of how people can be good and flawed and constantly learning in the absolute best of ways. Here are some gems from old mate Johnny Oates aka Bush Dad that get me through life:
1. Q: “What are the rules?”
A: “Look out for your mates, don’t drink from anyone else’s drink, don’t take any pills or powders, and if you have sex use a condom.” (I had to recite these whenever I went out with my friends from the age of 13 onwards. Still do sometimes.)
2. “Go stand under a tree.” / “Have you stood under a tree at all today?”
3. “Just remember… at the end of the day my darling… they can all go get fucked.”
Song: Electric Fields – Nina
Co-Founder of Arts Not Parts
Happiness isn’t the goal, balance is! Once you accept the fact that every emotion is just as important as happiness you’ll find yourself ironically much happier!
Song: Shirley Bassey – And I Love You So
Megan Alice Clune
Musician and composer, Alaska Orchestra, World’s Only
My contribution would be Om Rama from The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda. This album is a beautiful re-issue of her self-released tapes from the 80’s and 90’s on David Bryne’s Luaka Bop label, made originally for the students at her ashram.
My burnout tip – well – I just booked a holiday less than a week before leaving and that’s been pretty fun! I find it really hard to just do nothing so I always try to schedule in activities that give me a mental break like cooking or exercise throughout the week and make sure I don’t bail. I’ve also done a bunch of ceramics classes this year and they are v relaxing – would recommend!
Song: Alice Coltrane – Om Rama
And when I’m burnt out, I let it pass. And when I’m hurt, I let it pass. And when I’m full of joy, I try to take note. Xx
Song: Biff Rose – Fill Your Heart
As an artist I’m perpetually waiting – waiting to hear back about applications, waiting for shows and opportunities, waiting to be inspired etc. So I aim to nourish myself during these times of anxiety and uncertainty by enjoying time with my partner and friends, going to the library, writing in my journal, and exploring other interests or skills I want to develop.
Song: Twin Caverns – Crimes
Creative burnout tips: running, swimming, and looking at the sky.
Anderson latched me during a film on Louise Bourgeois; I was watching with three friends in Bourgeois’ Hamburg retrospective; we were all living in Germany and it slaps me back to that time full of fervour, it reminds me that anything is possible.
Song: Laurie Anderson – O Superman
Writer and artist, Embittered Swish
This song dates from 1973 and was on the first album produced by a gay country western band lol. Sometimes the best thing for a burnout is cutting off the hand before the whole limb rots 🙂
Song: Lavender Country – I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You
When I’m creatively burnt out, I know it’s time to lessen the pressure I put on myself. I remember that I can say no to requests for my time, and I do fun things that are unrelated to my work. A friend of mine calls this “filling the well” – it gets me back into a state of creative play. A song that helps me chill is Catherine Russell’s cover of ‘I’m Lazy, That’s All’, from the album ‘Sentimental Streak’.To paraphrase Russell, if you ain’t good for nothing, maybe it’s just that—right now—nothing’s good for you.
Song: Catherine Russell – I’m Lazy, That’s All
Katie’s mum, weekly Agenda on FBi Radio listener and VIP Women in The Arts supporter
My stress relief is great music up loud & singing (yelling) the words at the top of my lungs + maybe a little dance.
Song: Carole King – I Feel The Earth Move
When I’m feeling overwhelmed or have a lot going on I like to drive somewhere away from the city. Nature and especially the mountains or bush are calm spaces for me. Driving whilst listening to Chanel by Frank Ocean or The Lung by Hiatus Kaiyote, they’re the two songs I’ve had on repeat when aiming for a peaceful state of mind.
Song: Frank Ocean – Chanel
Artist, videographer and Carriageworks Marketing and Content Coordinator
Sometimes I have to stop looking at art, my own and other people’s. I also have to delete instagram off my phone like twice a year. I think I get into weird obsessive image consumption patterns and I have to take time out otherwise everything just becomes meaningless. I also have crying days, where I just let myself watch sad movies or listen to sad podcasts and cry, there’s a lot of toxic stuff that happens in the arts and it’s really easy to let it all weigh you down, a good cry is always helpful.
My last tip is skin care. Mainly Korean face masks, game changing to my whole life.
Song: Buoy – Clouds and Rain
Isabelle’s mum, weekly Agenda on FBi Radio listener and VIP Women in The Arts supporter
Up loud, and fresh fresh fruit – must be peeled and cut by me – helps focus and tactile / mindful plus yum.
Song: Shonen Knife – Top of The World
Editor, Art Edit magazine & Assistant Editor, Art Collector
Yoga, lots of water, good mates and dancing & indulging on the weekends
Song: Cooking With Palms Trax 022 ft. Dj Okapi
Artist, one half of zin partnership
You need to feed your conscious mind with food for your subconscious to chew on while you are out and about doing your day – do nice things for it like reading or going to the beach and looking at the waves. Sometimes that is more productive than sitting at your laptop churning through emails and always helps me feel more creative and reassures me that I’m not a dickhead for going to the beach on a Tuesday.
No matter how I feel or where I am this song always gives me a boost energy and sass. It makes me feel like a bad ass mother fucker who don’t take nothing from no one, which helps me get through the day 🙂
Song: Ariana Grande – Break Free
Actress and radio presenter
When I find myself in a creative or personal rut the best thing for me to do is to travel. Traveling gives me perspective on life and I meet people who inspire me. As a creative, you are your work, so the more life experience you have, the more material you acquire. Ain’t No Mountain High by Diana Ross is my ultimate Feel my Feelings song. It’s my go to shower ballad.
Song: Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough