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66% of artists have experienced burnout at least once, study finds

Pirate Studios surveyed 1,500 DJs

A new survey of 1,500 DJs carried out by Pirate Studios has found that 66% of artists have suffered burnout at least once.

Pirate points out that Mental Health UK defines burnout as 'a state of physical and emotional exhaustion', which occurs 'when you experience long-term stress'. When asked to describe the feeling of burnout, some survey participants compared it to being hysterical or overwhelmed, while others described feeling short-tempered or imposter syndrome.

The main reason listed for participants burning out was financial pressure, with 85% of respondents describing working full or part-time in other sectors while trying to ‘make it’ in the arts. One person answering the survey said they played 62 shows in a year, alongside working a full-time job, while another anonymous respondent said: "I had to be in around 8 bands to make things work which was a nightmare to manage logistically."

Elsewhere in the survey, 72% of artists said they have experienced spending more money on their creative practice than they make.

NAINA, who runs the Hooversound label with SHERELLE, and is a DJ spoke to Pirate about her recent experience of burning out, saying: "It's tough when you become self-employed, you can get buried in so many projects that you forget to take time off.

|I recently bought my first flat which has been my goal for a while, but the pressure I put on myself meant I was barely taking time off. My mindset was crazy. I think you gotta experience a burnout to avoid it happening again. You discover your limits and you recognise how important taking breaks is."

She lists various methods of self-care, such as drawing, exercise and getting a good night's sleep, as ways to stave off burnout.

Find out more about Pirate's survey here.

Find out more about Pirate Studios via DJ Mag's October 2020 feature on the organisation.

Revisit DJ Mag's 2019 feature on the mental health crisis in dance music here, and find a list of various mental health resources here.