The COVID pandemic has had a dramatic affect on all our lives. Our work and social lives have all destabilised. For many countries, the lockdown has started to ease, and small gatherings are permitted. Large stages, however, are still closed and musicians continue to bear the brunt of the restrictions.
In our continued efforts to draw attention and support musicians mental health, we asked Danish organisation MentalVoice (read our previous article) for six tips for staying mentally healthy during these challenging times.
1. Stay informed but limit your news consumption.
It is natural to want to keep up with the latest information concerning the Corona pandemic. Many people feel a need to be in control, which you might think you can achieve by gathering as much information as possible. But it is crucial to limit your news intake so that the information does not become harmful and end up adding to the anxiety and concerns you are trying to minimise. A way to limit your news consumption and still stay informed is only to read news from a particular media that you find trustworthy, and only at certain times during the day.
2. Accept your feelings.
Everyone handles this challenge differently, and there is no right or wrong reaction. Some people become more anxious than others, and that is alright. Some people see this situation as an opportunity to be creative and create music. Others might find it stressful that other artists make one livestream after the other and release new songs related to Corona. In this case, it is important not to compare yourself with others and avoid thinking of what you ‘should’ or ‘are supposed’ to do. Do what you feel like doing and do things that make you happy. Maybe now you finally have time to learn something new, try out a new instrument or try other new creative ideas.
3. Stay connected with the rest of the world.
Today, there are so many ways to communicate and connect with people without being together physically. It is essential that you talk to someone about your possible concerns regarding this situation and also about something completely different, something that makes you happy. Reach out to others in the industry. There are currently a lot of people who now have time for new cooperation/collaborations. You can also go on virtual trips to a museum or a national park together via Google Arts & Culture or similar platforms.
4. Make sure to exercise.
As long as you stay out of crowded places and keep your distance to other people, you can still go for a walk or a run. Exercising and being out in nature can actually help lower your anxiety and release hormones that make you happier. Combining exercise and fresh air can help reduce stress, which is why it is especially important during a time like this.
5. Create structure.
Make a plan or schedule of the activities for the following day or week and make sure to incorporate some routines. If you are working from home, try working at the time you normally do. This situation is also an opportunity to change bad habits if you find it necessary. Many musicians work different hours changing from day-to-day. Maybe this is the opportunity for you to create a more stable and structured daily life.
6. Reflect and think outside the box.
During this period, you have an even bigger opportunity to think outside the box. Consider if there is anything in your new daily life that has improved your wellbeing. Ask yourself: Why music? How do I benefit from creating music? What do I want to achieve by creating music? What am I able to do today that I was not able to do a year ago? What am I able to do if I want? How am I able to help others?
Need more help? Reach out. Speak to someone.
*Special thanks to MentalVoice for helping create this article*