If you have recently performed, you may have noticed a phenomenon. You feel high immediately following the show. You are excited and happy. Friends have come out to support you. You got lots of compliments. There are some great photos of you singing your heart out on stage. You feel victorious and like you did a wonderful thing.
But then, a few days later, a curious thing starts to happen. You start to get embarrassed. The same people who loved you up have moved on with their lives. You have gone back to your office and there are deadlines and the same issues and things to attend to. The high fives have stopped. Your photos don’t seem good enough anymore. You begin to notice every flaw in your recording. You begin to notice who did and said what that actually wasn’t so great. You feel foolish for having exposed your feelings, your heart and your voice in front of people. Triumph and thrill gets replaced by embarrassment. You wonder who on earth was that person who decided it was a good idea to get on stage and sing in the first place.
Many people vow never to perform again. Or they vow that the next time they get on stage to sing, they’ll be perfect-or at least WAY better than they were.
I call this the post-performance blues. Have you ever felt it?
I know I have. That’s why I know how devastating it can be. If you’ve experienced anything like it, you know what I mean. Sometimes the inner-critic can be so mean and rob of us the beautiful experience we earned. And truthfully, not much can stop the post-performance blues except one thing: awareness.
The life of the performer includes preparing for the show and doing the show but it doesn’t and can’t stop there. You must prepare to take superb care of yourself AFTER the show too.
Here’s some tips I use and always recommend to my clients to overcome the post-performance blues:
1. Go celebrate with people who really support you right after the show.
2. Make a plan to touch base with a fellow performer that night for 5 minutes to talk about the show experience and support each other.
3. Take the day off the next day and plan ahead to do something nurturing and relaxing: ie, Yoga, massage, spa, long walk, sleep in, bath, yummy food…
4. Connect with another fellow performer for the ‘day after’ briefing and share feelings about the show. This goes a long way in combatting the blues.
5. Make sure you are neither too isolated, nor too socially busy the day after. Pace yourself. You’ve just expended a lot of energy and deserve to rest.
6. Don’t make any big life decisions (you are not in a clear, neutral state)
7. Avoid stressful situations of all kinds.
8. Don’t feel pressure to do anything. Pat yourself on the back for what you have already done and affirm your experience.
9. Give yourself time before listening to or watching a video if you feel nervous about it. Or invite over a supportive friend and do it together.
10. Make sure to pre-schedule a lesson soon after the show to talk about your experience and get back on track with your study.
Remember: Whatever happened, whether the show was a huge success or a total bomb, it was only one show in what will hopefully be a lifetime of shows. It’s important to keep perspective on your singing journey and look at it holistically, to remember the big picture.
The best way I’ve found to to do that is to just continue the learning process and get back into that gentle routine. Don’t worry if you don’t know what song to work on next or what to do with yourself. Just showing up will jump start things and everything you need to know for your next right move will be revealed at the right time.
Next time you are getting ready for a show, see if you can follow some of these ideas and let me know how it goes for you! Good luck!