I got a lot accomplished today. I mean, I had a ton of screen time, but that was a necessary evil today. Searching for rooms/roommates and rental units in Toronto, posting and showing the home here in Calgary all day… it’s getting real. I also sold my guitar, bag and stand to a good kid that plays on my former University’s Football team (Go Dinos!)… I was actually really productive! And I trained a couple sessions in the morning. And meal prepped. And fired off the email to NMC et al… and so on and so forth…

Best part? Got to be beside Darwin the whole day! This was my office today.

I mean, look at that face.A76C3FF6-DC5A-4524-B77F-831B5B8EBB2A

It’s getting real now though, like I said. I’m now on my way out of the city I’ve lived (almost) my whole life… en route to a new adventure. Heck ya, today was productive!

As a coach and even sometimes as a friend…People ask me how to stay motivated when they feel like they haven’t done anything at the end of the day, notably Sunday. They feel like the day slipped away and then they get all anxious and stuff, can’t focus… and I oftentimes find myself reeling people in. Now,dopn’t get me wrong… It’s not like I am the gate keeper of productivity and happiness. It’s not like I have a secret button you can push. It’s not know “the way”, but I certainly know a way that works for me.

Try it out. The next time you feel that you haven’t done anything, try writing all the things you did down on a piece of paper.

That’s right. It’s that simple.

Write. It. Down.

Pretty rad, eh?

Go do something awesome this week. Keep it real, folks.

 

xo

M

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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 http://www.distresscentre.com/contact-us/

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 – http://unisonfund.ca
  • 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 – albertamusic.org/membership)
  • 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:

Edmonton

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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.

Calgary

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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.

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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.

C$59.00

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

C$59.00

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!

Peace.

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

For some reason Florence + The Machine’s “Shake It Out” popped into my head and I was carefully cycling home tonight from work. I mean, yeah – I’m a little crazy for biking in -20. But today it’s out of necessity. And cycling is fucking therapeutic. Movement and motion is fucking therapy. I mean, I would have done it anyway if I did have gas in the Tiguan, but today wasn’t by choice because it was a nice day for a ride.

The line “It’s always darkest before the dawn” really echoes with me today.

I had $3 in change to pay for groceries today, thankfully I had $20 to redeem but I had to get crafty to hit just over $20 to be able to use that reward. $23.74. Thank God.

That’s how close to poverty I am right now. I just spent the weekend riddled with another bought of depression, triggered by memories of certain places within Calgary I hadn’t been to since my time with my now ex-wife, and former friends and family of mine. It was very abrupt. It was very cruel. And depression doesn’t give two shits if you’re ready to deal with it or not, it comes in waves. I truly felt like I was drowning.

However, the bike ride taught me a few things.

No matter how slow the go is, you just focus on one pedal stroke at a time and you’ll get there. Don’t focus on the result, focus on the process.

Being physically fit to ride across the city at any given time in any given season is fucking rad. I’m grateful for my physical ability and health.

Also, much like overcoming the darkness of mental health, even the most seemingly insignificant victories go a long, long way to the betterment of ones psyche. And you need to close down those past traumas and reinvent yourself.

So while to some the thought of biking home in the cold, dark winter of Calgary in November is just silly… to me it means a lot more.

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Thanks for listening. If you feel compelled, please consider helping to bring awareness to mens mental health issues in the music industry. I’m very proud to be a part of Mo Music. I’m fundraising for Movember and representing the men in the local music industry. Depression is a fickle bitch, anxiety is running rampant and the stats on men committing suicide are ridiculous. Help keep our music industry men healthy and let them get treatment and have the resources to stay away from the darkness.

After my bought last week I remember all too well how cold that darkness is. -20 on a bike in the dark at 9pm in Calgary has nothing on the deep freeze anxiety and depression has put on me. But I am working on that. I want others to know that they’re not alone.

Please support me and my homies of Mo Music here ———> https://mobro.co/coachschwartzy?mc=1

Every single dollar helps.

Thanks for listening,

 

 

When you’re lost in the woods it’s nice to come across that old bridge again.

The one that heads north –

Out past the river, to the meadow and into the sunshine, warmth and life of the universe.

I have had a reflective week. I am on a really good path to abundance and have found that a few key things have led to my success. I want to give back to the community that has given me so much in support so I am crafting up the “Start With U” journal to help others live with passion, intent and be better humans regardless of if they’re with themselves or with others. I am not charging anything for this awesome tool, but just ask that you pay for your shipping. I plan on having it out in the fall, so if you’re interested please click here. http://eepurl.com/cxDWIv

Heck, I’ll even send you a free kitchen rescue kit. Click it.

Here is my insight for the day – weigh in below. Each day, wake up and:

  1. Positively affirm yourself. Language shapes behaviours which lead to actions. So intention is everything. Self-talk up how grateful you are for the day and what you will accomplish.
  2. Move! When you start the day with a little movement (walk around the block, jump rope, do some yoga) you will help get your mind connected to your body and since we can all use a like “sweat once each day” therapy, this is just plain good for everyone and…
  3. Pick up a book, a guitar a pen and paper and get to work. Always be learning and pushing the mental boundaries of what you know to be possible. Learn. Create and grow!

Start With U