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


Dear Mr. Cornell,

We’ve never met, but I wanted to let you know that you had a tremendous impact on my life, and this is a letter of thanks for all that you have done for the world.

It’s a shame that you are no longer with us, and it’s a wonder how many more lives like yours will end far before their time before we take notice and do something to help. Like, really help. I get it. I really do. I can only imagine how incredible the pressure must be in the place that you were. To have overcome drug abuse and addiction multiple times, that in and of itself is commendable. But as I’ve learned, that’s only the first step.

It’s unfortunate you weren’t given an outlet to express yourself after all the rehab. Or maybe you were, but you weren’t comfortable for some reason in expressing anything to anyone but your music. And we all had no idea. The turmoil inside your soul must have been a nightmare. It’s unfortunately that while everyone saw what Chris was on the outside; cheery, un-phased, recovered – they never thought to dig deeper and to ask you how you were really doing. Maybe you would have just told them what they wanted to hear anyways… maybe not. I like to think that if someone genuinely made a connection, I might have had a chance to thank you in person. Yeah, you were a legend. But everyone deserves an ear… maybe that’s all you needed. Someone to confide in. A professional shoulder to lean on. Someone to listen to you for more than Spoonman or Like A Highway.

To close, I hope to have a fraction of the impact on the industry and other musicians as you have had on my life. In a positive light, your passing has inspired me even more so to make a stand and pursue my dream of bringing an end to these tragedies in the music industry. Far too many die young and this is a great tragedy to world. Music touches the soul. Your songs and stories and musical ingenuity have inspired so many and will last a lifetime. So while we say goodbye, this is an unfortunate lesson that we can all use to reconsider how we approach proactive care. Depression, anxiety, stress, abuse, addiction… they’re all very real reminders that we are all just human…

Thank you for all of your work and passion to the craft. You will be missed deeply. Rest in peace.

Have you ever come across someone that just doesn’t get it? Someone who feels as if they lose an argument or fail to prove a point they run the risk of looking powerless in front of their peers? Have you ever had a disagreement with someone so insecure that they stormed off from the room because they simply couldn’t hear someone tell them to consider another view, another perspective or someone else’s feelings but their own?

I have. It was one of the most emotionally draining last 6 weeks of my life. Why am I ranting about this now? Well, I hope to give you some foresight when you consider who you’re hanging out with. I have come to the conclusion this at one-time friend of mine just didn’t respect herself. And while we don’t need to discuss the details, half because it’s not-relevant, half because it’s really depressing to think that they’re people out there that think this kind of behaviour is okay… just know that ignorant, malicious and absolutely tactless actions do not sit well with me. No, no – I have a moral compass that’s on track and I do not associate with those that aren’t on the same path as me. Not from an elitist standpoint or anything, just because I don’t want that kind of negative energy around me, my dog and my flow… you know?

So I’ve created a quick checklist that now in hindsight, I will use when considering if this human being is worthy of my time, energy and general care. Yes, I am encouraging you to be picky with who you are around. Why? So you don’t get used, abused and thrown to the wolves. I’m going to give you a two-steps ahead approach to identifying a human being that doesn’t respect themselves…

  1. Can They Live? – When considering  human beings you want to be around make sure you can have a sober conversation with them. And that you can get along with them when they’re sober. Do this before you put yourself into situations such as I did. Like living with them. Or you’ll find that when they’re not high or drunk, their socially awkward tendencies show full-bore. It’s not pretty. And it’ll make you depressed.
  2. Watch How They Interact With Others – Early on when you’re getting to know a particular human being you may want to hang out with more often, pay attention to how they react to people in need, eccentric/socially awkward people, persons with handicaps or hell even visible minorities. You won’t even have to have a conversation about it which will make things really easy on you. Would you hang out with a human being that publicly makes fun and tries to draw more attention to someone that”doesn’t fit in” with the trendy clothes or is a little hard up for money? Do you stand up or down to bullies? Because that’s all this insecure piece of work is…
  3. Listen To How They Describe Things (Especially Their Accomplishments) – Do they say “we”, “our” and “us” or does it sound a little more like “I”, “me” and “everyone else”. The human being that repeatedly uses the latter is kind of like a rabid, cornered wild dog. You may upset this dog with words and phrases such as “cooperation”, “teamwork” and “division of labour” (or just “labour” in most cases). The human being that takes credit where credit isn’t due or doesn’t give credit where credit is due is the same person that just doesn’t get it. Doesn’t understand the all for one, one for all approach that has proven t’s worth time and time again in any relationship. Please remove yourself from association with these types of human beings. They will never have your back.
  4. Do They Love Themselves? – Well now you’re going to be all like “Mike, WTF?” I mean it, you want a human being that genuinely loves themselves. Why? Well, until they love themselves they’ll struggle to love another person. So unless you plan on being trampled and used for years on years (like I did in a few other relationships that are now fortunately cut forever…) I’d suggest you identify things like their lifestyle patterns (like nutrition, exercise, meditation/self-work), they’re stance on volunteering, faith and charity, and if whether or not they are a Blue Jays fan. These things are all roots (Okay, maybe not the Jays…) that are engrained into how they’ll carry out actions down the road. If you don’t line up in the root of the problem, you’ll continually have disagreements on silly things. Well, they’re not silly – but they’re symptoms of the deeper issue. (ex. Human being doesn’t recycle old boxes, used cans or bottles or donate unwanted, used clothes… would rather just throw it out and be done with the hassle. Human being doesn’t just hate the environment and have no sympathy for the less fortunate, no no… this human being is just plain ungrateful. Likely because this person has rarely had to earn anything if their life. It’s worth noting that this person is also probably NOT a Jay’s fan.)

I think these are 4 pretty solid determining factors of whether or not you should carry on with a relationship of any sort with the human being in subject. I truly believe that a person that fails this type of general assessment really just doesn’t respect themselves. And I’ll be the first to say that if that person doesn’t respect themselves, they’ll likely care less about all other the other people around them. Especially when those people no longer serve them any good…. If  you care to add some insight, please do! I’m interested to hear what others think about finding people around them and choosing the right people to surround themselves with.

Remember, you don’t have to be a rock star to start, but you have to start in order to become a rock star. Stay sweet, kids.


Before I begin, I would like to clear something up. Athletes do not have the same vocabulary as the general public. Especially when discussing the words “therapy”, “massage” or “treatment”. Now that that’s out of the way… I have a strong dislike for the art of “cupping”, a form of horrendous manual therapy I was graced with this afternoon. Basically, the premise is like this – attach a suction cup to area of body that’s experiencing fascial distress (for me the IT band and left knee), then suck said fascial tissue to surface of the skin – mildly unpleasant, then rip the suction cup down the length of now soon to be severely traumatized section of the body. After this, I’m quite certain I blacked out. CNS was in full flight or fight mode and I wanted to front kick the otherwise sweet, caring Andrea my AT in the mouth. There’s no word to describe how much pain was brought on in these quick 4 minutes… They seemed like a year and a half of sheer hell. I don’t ever want a friend to have to go through that experience. But the results do not lie. They look horrible. But it was effective. Today marks the first day I was able to run full dry land imitations and slide board with no pain in my knee. It was hell, but oftentimes the best things in life are hell. I got this.

You can’t talk your way out of things you behave yourself into.

– Stephen Covey

How applicable.

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