Music hits the note during Covid-19
October 2020 is Mental Health Awareness month and COVID-19 and 2020 has done us no favours. Here in Australia we have found ourselves in a precedented time following bushfire disasters, uncertainty surrounding the spread and impact of the pandemic. What this brings is a heightened level of anxiety and panic, depression, anger, confusion and uncertainty, financial stress and loneliness. During similar pandemics between 25-33% of the community are experiencing high levels of worry and anxiety . Those people that already have pre-existing mental health risks will experience even higher anxiety levels. We have already seen in the news the increase of people accessing mental health services for assistance. Let me put this caveat together, and state that I am not a professional and if you require medical attention, please seek professional help. I want to give you some easy, take or leave, tips that you can use everyday.
We are created to be social. As this pandemic continues on, and we are unable to socialize this has become a huge problem and I am talking to many ladies who are feeling lonely. Especially if we have weeks of quarantine. Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. And as time goes on, we haven’t been out for the usual cuppa with friends, we are moving now into a stage of “can’t be bothered” to go out. We find ourselves in this vicious cycle of depression:
become less and less active
don’t go out much anymore but to social distancing
avoid hanging out with friends or can’t
have stopped engaging in your favourite activity due to Covid restrictions.
In our community a group of women commenced a monthly gathering called “women who wine together”. A mix match of women, who come together with no agenda, have a drink and a chat.
It’s so important to socialise, and it’s healthy for you.
Stress can cause you to think and do some crazy stuff. Confession: I did have a brief moment when I thought about buying 100’s of cartons of toilet paper….but I was to slow of the mark.
One trick that is essential is to breathe. Duh!. Well if we don’t breath we die, but isn’t it funny that breathing occurs without conscious thought and yet consciously we can also control it. When so much of what is happening in our environment is out of our control – then breathing is one thing that we can take control. And you don’t need to go anywhere, have anything special to do it and the benefits are everlasting.
Many studies have found that deep, yogic breathing helps balance the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions, such as temperature control and bladder function. This may help ease symptoms of stress-related disorders and mental health conditions. So here are four exercises that you can do right now. (Not all at once of course, you can pick one).
Falling out breath: This releases physical tension from your body. Start by taking a deep inhale, filling your lungs with as much air as possible. At the top of your breath, take one more sip of air. Then exhale, with a big sigh (yes make a big noise) as you release the air from your lungs. Do as many times as you feel – remember you may feel light headed as you are breathing deeper than you would normally sub-consciously do.
4-7-8 breathing: This one you start with your hand on your belly and your other hand on your chest. Slowly inhale deeply for 4 (feeling your stomach move). Hold your breath for count of 7. Exhale for count of 8 – as silently as you can and emptying out completely. Repeat.
Box breath: This one assists to increase your mindfulness. Start by inhaling for the count of 4, hold your breath for count of 4, exhale for count of 4 and hold your breath for count of 4.
Stimulating breath: This one of great for an energy boost. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose for 15 seconds. Breath normally for 15 seconds. Repeat for several cycles.
I thoroughly recommend this book on Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. This is also available on Kindle: Kindle Edition.
Another resource I have found that is highly recommended and a bestseller is Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business, and Beyond. This has a foreword by Tony Robbins. Also available on Kindle edition.
Love a Kindle? Need a new one? Buy one here at a reduced price: Kindle Paperwhite
Again this seems so self explanatory, but when we are in that cycle of stress, anxiety, depression. This seems the fatherliest away from our minds. I’m not talking about full on exercise – although that would be excellent. But I am meaning, instead of sitting watching another episode of your favourite Netflix program – how about going for a walk around the block. Drive to local bush area, play area and walk around, watch kids play. Go to the beach (if you live near the coast). Nothing like breathing in and looking at water to alleviate stress. It’s about taking that first step, and then the next ones after that.
Neuroscience reveals that several key hormones play a part in mood elevation. When you listen to songs that spark an emotional response, Oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”) and Dopamine (the “happy hormone”) are often released, elevating your mood. Science has demonstrated a strong connection between music and emotion. Music affects mood, gives your brain a workout, and can improve your overall quality of life.
This was the catalyst for this blog topic. I was listening to this particular song and it absolutely resonated with me. It’s a song that had been around for awhile, but only new to me, and its a song by a band called Stars Go Dim called “Know Me Better”. It’s of the Christian genre. But, the lyrics are especially relevant for now.
What it says is that we have a God that knows us better than we know ourselves. And that is we are seeing ourselves as unworthy, or incomplete – then we need to see ourselves how our God see’s us…. As wonderfully made, as perfect, as whole, as of value, as precious in His sight, as victorious, as of sound mind, as of worth, as loved.
Wow, does that not give your soul an instance boost.
Have you also ever gone to somewhere and entered a place and felt the atmosphere. Maybe you went to some friends place, they may have just had an argument and you can feel that awkwardness, the atmosphere. Or you meet someone and their demeanor just presents an atmosphere. As the above scenarios can create an atmosphere so does music. What you play can create an atmosphere. So ensure you are listening to music that is uplifting.
My husband and I always have music playing in the background…..yes I brought one of those google thingy’s and now I say “hey google, play this#%@^”. Generally we have Christian music playing because it is uplifting to your soul. But it is what makes you feel good. Do you remember those songs that just spirit you away to another time and place. I have a few:
Darkness of the edge of town by Bruce Springsteen – an old boyfriend
Diamond life by Sade – instantly my life in the UK mid 80’s
Rock Lobster by B52s – a nightclub in a chateau in the snow
All night long by Lionel Ritchie – another nightclub on the Gold Coast, Australia.
What are yours? Why not put a playlist together of your most memorable songs that lift your spirit and play that on a loop.
We hope that this helps you and drop Grace and I a line to tell us how your going. But please if you need more help, we have placed some services below – make contact. Look after yourself.
To listen to the song, go to Stars Go Dim website and or download via your music platform.
Help for Emotional and Mental Health
Kids Helpline – Australia’s only free, 24-hour counselling service especially for children and young people aged between 5 and 25. | kidshelpline.com.au | 1800 55 1800 | 24 hours, 7 days
Beyond Blue – Support hotline for anyone feeling anxious or depressed. | beyondblue.org.au | 1300 22 46 26 | 24 hours, 7 days
Lifeline – For anyone having a personal crisis, struggling emotionally or feeling distressed or suicidal. | www.lifeline.org.au | 13 11 14 | 24 hours, 7 days
Suicide Call Back Service – Australia’s 24-hour hotline, supporting anyone feeling suicidal. Call if you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts. www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au | 1300 659 467 | 24 hours, 7 days
MensLine Australia – A professional phone and internet support and info service for Australian men with emotional or relationship concerns. mensline.org.au | 1300 78 99 78 | 24 hours, 7 days
Bults, M., et al., Perceptions and behavioral responses of the general public during the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic: a systematic review. Disaster Med Public Health Prep, 2015. 9(2): p. 207-19.
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19 thoughts on “Music – hits the note for Covid19”
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