We are currently in the middle of an extremely bizarre situation and many of us are stuck at home. I for one have not left my apartment for five weeks, crazy! We are all craving the outdoors, our usual routine and just some normality! Sadly, we still do not know when this might end, but there are things we can do to improve the situation and our mental health. If you are reading this it is very likely you are a musician (and most probably a flute player!). We are so lucky to have this skill available to us as it can be a great tool in helping us deal with our mental health during this really strange time…
So how does music help our mental health?
There are many different ways that music can help us. Here are a few of the many ways
Improves your mood
Ever listened to a happy upbeat song and instantly feel better? Put your favourite song on and have a dance party! Our current favourite at the moment is having a dance party to Disney songs with our beautiful baby twins! They love it and it instantly puts a smile on our faces as well.
Being a musician, we can take this further and play our favourite tunes. Taking yourself out of your usual routine to play some melodies that you enjoy will make you feel better and accomplished!
The physical act of playing your instrument will also instantly affect your brain. There are many studies on how playing a musical instrument can make your brain function better. It will also improve your memory and communication skills. It also makes you smile more! Short bursts of musical training also increase the blood flow to your brain, meaning that you are given an energy boost! Think you’ve been drinking too much coffee during quarantine…try this instead!
Helps you to relax
Listening to soothing music will instantly slow your brain down. I don’t know about you, but my brain is going a million miles an hour at the moment. I have made a point of listening to relaxing music and my favoruite tunes that I can sing along to! Ensuring that I am doing my flute practice every day is also a huge help. It always gives me a focus for an hour or two, rather than thinking about the current situation! Music is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, make it a priority to involve music in your every-day life.
Improves your sleep
Music is more than just an enjoyable pastime. Listening to music has a direct effect on your parasympathetic nervous system. It has the power to slow down your heart rate and even lower your blood pressure. All of these things will help you fall to sleep quicker and aid your mental and physical health.
Taking myself away from the screen for a few hours has also been really important. Since going online and teaching all my lessons via the zoom platform, I have found myself staring at a screen for most of the week, often in the same room. Exposing myself to this much blue light has been hard on my sleep schedule. Being able to take myself off for a couple of hours and play my flute has given me a reason to take time away from my computer.
Music can be a great source of motivation. Listening to your favourite tunes whilst completing your chores will make these jobs more enjoyable, and dare I say it, something you might even look forward to. As a musician, you can create a sense of structure to your day by giving yourself a practice schedule. Specific aims, such as learning a new scale or exercise, can give your practice a clear focus. Facebook groups and other online platforms allow you to share practice and will give you a sense of community and some (much needed) social interaction, so vital is this time of isolation!
If you need some help structuring your music practice then check out my practice resources!
Look after yourself during this difficult time! And check out my other blog posts here!