“This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.” Winston Churchill
Our lives seem to be out of whack this year. Everything we do in our profession has been changed, rescheduled, revamped, reformatted, and rethought. Nothing we do is as it was, and we are struggling in ways we never thought we would struggle. If you thought you were alone, you should take heart to know you are NOT alone. It’s small comfort, I know, to realize others are struggling but perhaps comfort, anyway you can get it, is a good thing.
Those with mental health issues are really struggling. Those who never had mental health issues before the Pandemic are struggling as well. As we trudge through this eighth month, the uncertainty, the hopelessness, the lack of a clear way of handling ANYTHING from rehearsals and concerts to the future of our choral programs and organizations, has taken its toll. We are not the same people we were before, and we will surely not be the same people after. Our lives won’t be the same after the Pandemic and that may not be a bad thing.
One of the things I am doing, that I have NEVER done before, is take some consistent time for myself. I certainly have taken time for myself, but now I consciously do so every day. On weekdays, I watch “Jeopardy,” sometimes during the actual broadcast, sometimes after. During the last four years or so, I’ve made it a point to watch most days. It keeps my mind distracted and I feel good when I have a good game and keep up with the contestants. On weekends, I often make a special meal or watch movies with my family. Not to say, I didn’t do those things BEFORE the Pandemic but now am doing so consciously. And it’s helped my mental health. I hope to continue these things when we are back to whatever will constitute normal.
Taking time to do some Yoga or Alexander Technique breathing when things are especially stressful will be worth the time taken to do it. At the very least, instead of immediately jumping back into the fray after a concert, perhaps it would be MORE productive to take a breath or two and then get back into it. If that’s the only thing we take back into our lives after COVID-19, it won’t be a bad thing. Often, in days past, we’ve felt guilty taking time for ourselves but if there’s anything we’ve learned, taking time for ourselves is important not just for our physical health, but our mental health as well.
Behaviors we have used to self-sooth and take care of our bodies and minds, can be brought with us when we cross back into normal times again. Will we ever get back to where we were, with busyness and stress part of our daily lives? I hope not. I hope we won’t fall into old habits, but my guess is, we will. But still I hope we have learned from our forced slow down how beneficial it is to just do nothing or, to just WAIT and breathe.
Until next week, be well and be safe.
I am taking my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page for the foreseeable future. Please join me there this morning! https://www.facebook.com/themidwestmotetsociety/