Stress. It’s a real thing. The last couple of months have shown us how important wellness really is. Unfortunately the repercussions of not being well, physically and/or mentally, have taken the lives of many of our beloved industry colleagues. The darkness of anxiety, depression and addiction is slowly coming to light. And for good reason. Nowadays it’s very rare to come across someone that says “no” when asked if they’re feeling stressed. It’s become engrained to the hustle-bustle, 60 hour work week we all know and love to hate. But does it have to be like this? Not a chance. Here are my top 3 picks to help alleviate stress and get you back to being the best version of yourself.

The number one thing you should do when you’re struggling with something is talk to a professional for help. Yes, your friends can lend an ear, but unless they’re trained professionals you’re not getting the full meal deal. Speaking to a professional counsellor, therapist and/or a psychiatrist will help you identify the root of the stress and they’ll then be able to provide you with the right resources to get you back in action, stat. I still go to therapy and I would recommend it to anyone who’s seeking direction, closure from a relationship, financial advice, how to conquer their fears or anything that’s got them feeling down, stressed, helpless or worse yet – suicidal. It’s serious. Below I’ve included a few links to some services ’round these parts and a brief description of what they do.

Elephant Artist Relief
  • Great local resource with everything from funding options, financial aid to counselling etc… connectors to all aspects of better well-being

Distress Centre 

  • 24/7 crisis support for Calgary and southern Alberta. These fine folks do not define crisis and are there for anyone at any time. This is their 24-Hour Crisis Line: 403.266.HELP (4357) and you can find them on the web at

Unison Benevolent Fund

  • Non-Profit registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. They help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties. Here’s their assistance number 1-855-986-4766 and website –
  • We actually have a “Mental Health and Wellbeing” Download session happening Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30pm in Calgary session for Alberta Music members. Amanda Power from Unison Benevolent Fund will be joining me on the panel, so be sure to head here to save your seat in Calgary (if you’re not a member, get on it! You get free access to the awesome programming –
  • I actually had the treat of interviewing the Executive Director of Unison, Shiela Hamilton back last fall. Hear our conversation about Unison Benevolent Fund and how us artists can utilize their services here Shiela Hamilton – Unison Benevolent Fund 

2. Journal and Meditate 

Oftentimes, just putting the proverbial pen to paper (talk about alliteration!) can remedy a lot of stress in our lives. A new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense. [Read the full article here]

As far as meditation goes, this is a favourite quote of mine:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

I personally like to use an app called “Headspace” for my mediation and another app called “Daylio” for tracking my mood and a daily journal entry.

However, I don’t like being on my phone. I find it’s actually quite contradictory to disconnecting and being mindful, as we spend so much time glued to the Snapface and Instabook already. So, if you’re like me, I’d recommend going out and grabbing a journal from a local bookstore for $25. Or better yet, I wrote a 21-Day Self-Love Journal. It’s easy to follow along and start placing gratitude, self-worth and consideration at the top of your charts… Super helpful if you’re struggling to get there on your own. Day by day you just implement the tools I prescribe and voila, you’re on your way to becoming the best version of yourself in just 21 days. Start reading it here for free – Start With U: 21 Day Self-Love Challenge

3. Exercise!

That’s right, in general, findings from research indicate that exercise is associated with improvements in mental health including mood state and self-esteem, although a causal link has not been established. Research on acute exercise indicates that 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity results in improvements in state anxiety and mood that persist for several hours. These transitory changes in mood occur in both individuals with normal or elevated levels of anxiety, but appear to be limited to aerobic forms of exercise. [Read the full article here]

So what’s the difference between aerobic exercise and all that other stuff? Well, aerobic exercise is exercise where your body’s cardiovascular system (the lungs and heart and circulatory system) work to provide the main source of energy to the body. Things like long walks, jogging, resistance circuit training (sorta), swimming, hiking, cycling, flow yoga and trail running are all examples of aerobic exercise.

We also have Anna Beaumont a voice teacher sitting in on the “Mental Health and Wellbeing” download session in March with myself and Amanda, so be sure to register if you’re interested in learning more about how mindset, meditation and movement can help your playing, reduce your stress and essentially help you to become the best version of yourself.

Here are a few other ways to get active, try something new and have fun:



City Fit Shop – Whip around obstacles and play like a kid again in Edmonton’s premiere

obstacle course gym.

logoss.pngThe Surf Studio – Hang ten, dude. Get your surf on at this one-of-a-kind fitness experience. You’ll understand why those surfer dudes and babes are ripped! Holy core, Batman!

topVertically Inclined Rock Gym – If you’re not afraid of heights or awesome things this might be the ticket to getting a new activity down. Kids programs, adult programs and birthday party specials, this place has it all for veteran climbers and rookies.



Bodhi Tree Yoga – Looking for the best Yoga studio experiences in town? Look no further than Bodhi Tree. Plus Alberta Music’s own, Amy Thiessen teaches here. Incredible instructors and space so this spot is great for the seasoned yogi and first timers alike.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your yoga passes.


Bike and BrewCalgary’s first cycle shop and cafe, these guys offer it all. Have a cup of the best brew in town, snack on some baking from Corbeaux Bakehouse or try a sandwich from locals vendors Peppino while you get your bike serviced. They also offer group rides, information sessions and product knowledge workshops so once the snow clears you’re all set to ride.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your caffeination and select merchandise. 

There are some musician specialty clinics happening in March and April as well:

Sunday, April 8 “How To Effective Load Gear”

Load Gear Without Fear

This is a musician wellness workshop that will focus on practical theory and knowledge combined with practical movement patterns to ensure you’re keeping your body in good form and avoiding injury. Limited space, AB Members only (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership") Price includes taxes and service fees.


Sunday March 25 “Down-regulatory exercise: Working-In”

How To Use Exercise To Inspire Creativity and Performance March 25 (AB Music Members Early Bird)

This specialty clinic will touch on effective down-regulatory exercise and stretching techniques to help alleviate pain, reduce stress and help you increase creativity and performance. You’ll be at 11. Why don’t you just make 10 louder? Because this one goes to eleven. AB Music members discount (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership) Limited space. Price includes taxes and service fees


Well folks, I hope you can take something valuable away from this. If you’re interested in a consult to determine how to organize parts of your lifestyle you’d like to improve, please reach out. For all Alberta Music Members I offer 50% off, all hour long consultations  and I can meet in person and via Facebook video every Friday. Contact me to book a spot.

Quick recap and I’ll get out of your hair:

  1. Talk to a professional if you’re having challenges in life.
  2. Journal your thoughts and take time to be with yourself.
  3. Exercise! There’s plenty of ways to move your body and they don’t all revolve around the gym…

As always, thanks for reading,

Namaste sweet!


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Ps. Rad photo eh? Check my brother out on Facebook Sean Schwartz Photography


My soul would be dead if I didn’t have that sultry temptress still slippin’ creativity in my drink of life each and every day like she’s trying to pick me up and take me home. I’ve caved, and thankfully so.

It is cliche, but it is the truth. Things seem to compound in the worst of times. It is for us to how we choose to handle them though. My band, The Sweets really helped me through today. We had a solid, focused rehearsal and after you read this blog, you’ll see why that was needed. My friends and family are therapeutic for me and especially this band, one I believe in so much – it was great to be around their beautiful souls tonight.

Then I just happened to catch an old friend, Lindsay Ell perform a perfect -in-the-moment-video for the world. Again, something so beautiful after my day today. Catch the video and please support Lindsay if you dig it. She’s another incredible human being.

Earlier today too I found myself reading about Ian Fletcher Thornley on his latest release, a solo debut (finally) made everything click as we come up to the anniversary of one of my most eventful – no – THE most eventful year of my life. Turns out Ian has shared a similar experience in his life. I was wondering why the album was almost a direct quote of my past year….

Music ties to memory and speaks in a way that encompasses all parts of our lives. Think about it. You have a favourite party anthem, a mellow tune or two when you’re all chill and cool… you have a song that reminds you of your first love, maybe your second and third too… and there’s songs that represent the darkest times in your life. For every one of those examples I can list the songs that tie to that memory. It’s amazing. And it’s likely a reason I have been engulfed so deeply in crafting music since i realized I was able to do so. I’m forever thankful I can communicate that way. It’s truly an art form I wouldn’t trade for the world as I see how much emotion it can incite in one’s soul. It’s the one language we all speak, regardless of our borders. This is the track that stuck with me from Mr. Thornley today. It’s called “Feel”

That said, I’m more motivated than ever. I am going through a very tough time with the finalization of my divorce. Not the situation itself, but the happy memories and the WTF kind of showstopper way it all came crashing down.. I’m still reeling from that. It’s most definitely a positive source of healing just to be able to write and compose songs and be therapeutic, and I’m on a much better course of life. It’s just still an emotional time of year.

Couple that with the recent news of a dear friend, Karsten my buddy I met through the Teen Mentorship Program. Unfortunately K, seems to be losing his battle against cancer and he’s already beat it once. He’s only 17 and that’s just not right. Please go and support in anyway you can.. – even just looking at his Facebook page, you’ll understand why this has hit me so hard. Karsten is such a beautiful soul and just genuinely loves life. Please folks, don’t take life for granted. Not even for a moment. Take care of your health, your family and your friends. Some of us, like Karsten aren’t given a choice. I know damn well if it were all up to him he’d be playing for the Roughnecks in a couple years. The important lessons I’ve learned from him is to treasure life, let the folks that you love know that and always, always, always seek to be a positive influence in the room. There’s no time for negativity. Oh, and Colt 45 is a great song… he taught me that because he’s such a gangsta! (That song will be immortalized as our jam, brosef.)

Like I said, I am more than committed to change in my own life because of all of this and the vehicle I now have to express that is through speaking and communicating. Oftentimes that will involve music in one way or another, but I have been given the gift of diction and writing and communication so I am going to embark on fully utilizing my skills I have been gifted with. Expect more lectures, presentations and talks. I’m an Ambassador of Health and Wellness for the Mind, Body and Soul.

I will finish writing my book, dedicated to Karsten win or lose. It’s a mindset theory/biography based on the triumphs and pitfalls I’ve faced over the time I started my journey of skating. Had I not started that journey I’d have never been given the opportunity to meet K. Things aren’t great now, but I’m so happy I have had the chance to learn from him. I know it will be a hot read because there’s a bunch of hard-lined reality. Not like my challenges in picking up something new and trying to excel at it are bigger or crazier than anyone else’s, or that Karsten is the only kid having to fight cancer, or that when trusted relationships in your life pull the parachute and abandon you just like you never existed – no no. I’m not writing about this journey for that reason. It’s to provide an angle of hope. Hope for that even in the face of “failure” one can rise above and create success regardless of limitation. Furthermore, understanding that failure is necessary in order to really appreciate success. That’s a bit more of a synopsis than I was planing to give, but give me the year to wrap my head around how I want to present it and then I will see you on my book tour maybe in a workshop or lecture about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude to create your own success in the world of mindset economics.

I will continue to work on my guitar and craft my stories for sharing as it is the most powerful outlet for me to express my life.

I will continue to spread the positive message of pursuing whatever you dream up as hard and committed as you can. More than just interest. Interest gives you a safety net of only pursuing it when it’s convenient. Actually committing means you’re going to do whatever it takes to get to that level. Remember, you need to start the journey.

And I digress…

Music. Truly the one thing that has both been a creative outlet and source of nostalgia through the good, the bad and the ugly. I figure, “why stop now?”

Please stay tuned.

-Photo credit Sean Schwartz Photography