This week’s issue of Music Week is a wellbeing special, featuring all you need to know on how to maintain good mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Inside the issue, Former Music Week cover star Kwame Kwaten discusses his experience of overcoming coronavirus, Q Prime’s Tara Richardson opens up about and anxiety and Songtrust’s Lara Baker opens up about work and unemployment.
We also hear from music mental health specialist Dr Julia Jones, aka Dr Rock, on how the music industry can remain positive during lockdown. Subscribers can read her magazine piece here, below, we present Dr Rock’s Top 10 tips for good mental health during lockdown.
1 Sleep well
Stay away from screens and the news before bedtime. Getting your brain worked up before asking it to shut down is not an effective strategy. Immerse yourself in relaxing music instead.
2 Eat well
Consume lots of fruit (especially blueberries) and veg every day. Your brain also loves omega-3, such as oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts.
3 Drink water regularly throughout the day
Most of us don’t do enough of this. If you find it boring, put some fruit in it.
Getting your brain worked up before asking it to shut down is not an effective strategy
4 Exercise moderately every day
You’re allowed out of the house once a day, so make the most of it. Try and mix up your routes so it doesn’t get too repetitive and gives your brain some new sights to process. Choose an album you love and listen to it during your walk, run or cycle.
5 Get up, get motivated and get some early sunlight
Checking social media and writing emails on your phone in bed when you wake up is tempting. But try and maintain a routine. Put some upbeat music on and get some sunlight on your face early in the morning to help keep your sleep cycle nice and regular.
6 Stay social (virtually)
Let’s be thankful for the internet and use the multitude of video apps that enable us to easily connect in real-time with friends and family. Sing-alongs, jam sessions or exercise-to-music sessions give your body and brain a great workout.
7 Get purpose
Aimlessly wandering around your home in your pyjamas, comforting eating is not helpful. Get dressed and do something that makes you feel good. Organise a fundraiser, volunteer, go shopping for a neighbour or simply get stuck into some high quality work.
Block out home distractions to get some high quality work done
8 Make a plan and focus
Write down your current problems and make a list of actions that will help resolve them. Put your headphones on, choose some ambient focus sounds and block out home distractions to get some high quality work done.
9 Learn a new skill
Learn a new instrument or a new technique on an instrument you can already play. This is a superb way to challenge the brain and forge new neural pathways. Your hippocampus (the memory boss) can build new brain cells through this type of activity.
10 Laugh and get creative
Even in tough times, it’s essential to have some fun and be playful. This floods the brain’s emotional regions with feel good chemicals. The wave of humorous memes circulating social media will help. In the words of Bobby McFerrin, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’. This will soon be over and we will party once again.