It’s half of the year 2020 and we’re still here– and we’re all feeling the covid pandemic blues. How are you guys holding up? It’s a little silly to ask this question because we know nobody is beaming with happiness these days but I really do wish you’re doing just fine.
Lots of questions pop in our heads these days like “What will happen to the music industry?”, “Is the arts really worth pursuing if the world is ending?” and ughhh something we all just want to know: “When will concerts happen again?”
At first, it was all cool. We spent our time trying to reflect and catch up on the latest Netflix shows.
But now that we’ve been locked in for over a month, everything starts to feel like we’re in a Twilight Zone episode titled Cabin Fever…and it’s getting a little depressing day by day.
As creatives, we are more wired to have mental health issues. Creative people are more prone to depression even before this pandemic. Now the number of clients consulting for anxiety (the cousin of depression) has increased. From the period of February-March alone, the number of consultations rose by 19% according to Mental Health America.
I talked to a lot of my musician friends and we share the same feeling of doom and gloom. We are in the wait-and-see phase and all we can do aside from washing our hands is TO STAY FED AND TO STAY SANE.
I started doing some research on how to cope with anxiety and depression during the pandemic. I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned.
Here are the top 5 things that helped me get through the funk:
#1. Step back from the noise of social media.
We now have plenty of time to check Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. And why shouldn’t we? We need to get our news and daily rants from friends. But if you’re feeling the pandemic blues, it helps to limit your screen time. According to Flixed, 43% of people who said they set time limits on the amount of COVID-19 news they consume, they reported a better mental health state.
#2. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet.
Do you catch yourself eating cake at 2am? Yeah, me too and I feel bad waking up at 11 in the morning. Well, that is a surefire way to increase your pandemic blues. Our physical health has a big impact on our mental state. You know that you have to sleep 6-8 hours a day, eat your veggies, but it could be our mild depression that’s telling us to just give in. It’s a catch-22. We have to fight this off and go back to having healthier habits.
If you’re carrying any guilt about not producing your best work, writing a screenplay, learning to quilt or putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle, you have permission to let that go. Dorfman says if you “respect the range of coping styles and view people’s behavior as their way to manage their anxiety, you can feel less judgmental” — of yourself and others. Psychotherapist Dana Dorfman says, “there’s no ‘right way’ [to get through this], other than allowing yourself to be your own way.”
#4. Have video calls with families and friends.
Seeing and hearing their voices of the people who are dear to you can truly perk up your mood. Just reading their texts and social media posts is not enough. Schedule a call every other day and laugh together. You should also share your other feelings– worry, frustration, fear. Yes, they are “negative” feelings but it doesn’t mean you can’t put a dash of humor. It’s called grace and it’s a must to stay sane in trying times.
#5. Support and help others
Helping someone else can benefit you as well as the recipient. Think how you can offer any support to people closest to you and even to those who you don’t know but are in need. Donate if you can, listen to a friend who just needs to rant, bake cookies for the neighbors…do anything that can make you feel a little useful to others. This kind of feeling can bring you a little joy. It’s hard if you’re already in a dark place but this is one way to crawl your way out of it.
What have you been doing to stay afloat and sane these days?
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.