Penned by Hari Trivedi.

If you’re having to stay at home and self isolate, looking after your mental health can seem more difficult than usual, but it’s just as important as looking after your physical health during this COVID-19 outbreak.

Here are some steps to take to ensure you’re looking after your mental health, especially through these uncertain times.

1. Keep in contact with people

Whether you play with a collective of musicians or solo, we all need human interaction to enhance our playing and feel supported. I personally find it very different from having a busy gig schedule to a total vacuum of no audience participation and feeling that adrenaline rush of performing on stage. Lockdown for myself has been a way to grow deeper in my music practice and also start producing music to help all to heal from within and feel balanced. 

We’re all aware of the various video chat software that is available so I won’t explain how to set those up but it is extremely important to try and arrange a few video calls with fellow band members / music enthusiasts to check in on each other. You never know where you’ll find inspiration from.

2. Incorporate music with staying active

Making exercise part of your routine will give you those endorphins which we all know and love. Music directly affects your mood so use the time that you have to research new artists, try to listen to different music to accompany your workouts. Whether you’re a yoga enthusiast, runner, walker or just love HIIT, there is a soundtrack that will work for you. I’ve been a yoga student since childhood and my mornings usually consist of meditation, yoga and sitting in my temple space at home with my tabla to practice. I always have soothing music on in the background and I’ve discovered hundreds of new artists. If you use any music streaming service, you’ll find a range of premade playlists to help motivate you. 

Here is my own Spotify playlist that I’ve put together to create a relaxing ambience:

I also produce healing soundtracks which are here for you:

3. Morning music practice – fresh and ready for the day

Getting sunlight can improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress. Make sure you’re opening your curtains every morning to let as much light in as possible. Why not arrange a new comfortable place to sit by a window to soak up that sunlight and get your instruments out to do your daily practice? If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, allow yourself time to sit outside and maybe play some music outside? Tough to do this in the wintertime. I find that I’m more creative in the morning and can play my tabla with much more freedom compared to later in the day where so much has already happened. Regardless of what genre of music you play, you always need a clear head and focus, you can achieve this by making a routine and sticking to it. You’ll find it hard some days to get up and practice, but those are the days you MUST do it! Muscle memory is key 

Listen to Marcus Joseph talking with Julie about his musical journey and practice here along with other episodes from our SOUNDS OF… podcasts

4. Find creative ways to spend your time 

As we’re not able to carry on with our usual routines, it’s important to take time to think about new activities you can do whilst spending your time in isolation. You may feel the only portal to the outside world is through your phone, but this is not always the case. Catch up on the latest news once a day and be mindful of the social media and news channels you’re consuming. 

I’ve been busy with home diy projects in making a yoga / music room, producing music and also found innovative ways to work with my usual festival gigs, promoters to produce some fantastic music, videos and tutorials. In many ways, I feel that I have gathered a wider audience globally, better footage and quality production. However, you still can’t beat the thrill of an audience and playing with like minded musicians!

Are you used to playing in competitions, performances or practicing for performance? Then why don’t you do just that! This is what I do, I act as if I have a 20 minute solo performance for a certain date and practice a load of material to fill that time. This gets you thinking creatively on what tempo to play what composition at etc. You could potentially film yourself when playing the solo and broadcast it online or if that’s not comfortable, then maybe for your family or just for yourself to analyse how you’re playing. This will elevate your whole manner of practice.

You’ll notice that everything we interact with is causing some form of constant stimulus, from advertising, social media, the food we eat and what we drink. It makes sense to reevaluate how you balance these. Music is a key tool that we have to help keep us in check. Use the extra time that you now have to maybe dig out some old music lessons or if you’ve not played your instrument in a long time, bring it out. I have noticed a huge uptake in people taking out their old tabla sets after many years and bringing them to me to repair so they can pick up from where they left in their youth. There have been many positives to come out during this period which has reset how the world operates and how we treat each other. Huge shifts in work patterns, education, health and an overall change in everything we do, but one thing that has stayed constant for me is yoga, music practice, art/design and family. Those elements have always been a key part of my life and have been my strength during lockdown.

5. Reach out for support

Are you fed up, tired, maybe having financial issues that have caused you to lose interest with many things that you used to be passionate about? Please reach out to your peers, family to talk through how you’re feeling. You may feel alone in isolation but you’re not. You can also chat to our lovely team here at D+B who will be more than happy to help out. 

You can reach us through our website or social media. As always, we wish you all stay safe and we WILL meet once again in person to thrash out some choons! 

Hari x