Beat COVID stress with music

Dr Shveata Mishra
Only when normal things are not normal anymore , do we realise how special normal things are.
Normal can be a very tricky word. Maybe if we’re missing life when it felt normal, we’re actually noticing the kind of life that we truly want to live. When so much of the life that we’re used to is taken away, we become very aware of the people and things in life that truly matter to us.
So instead of using the word normal, let’s try this:
“We do realise what matters most to us, how special the people and things in life are”.
The exact realisation prevailed when the globe hit with the deleterious coronavirus ( Covid 19). It sent down the chills to everyone who came to know how rapidly it spreads , the symptoms that are visible only after 6-7 days, when contaminated person has unknowingly or knowingly transferred it to other 10 and they to another 20 in the family or community . When suddenly every second person passing by seems to be under strict surveillance all the time with suspicion .
The Covid created multiple mental health issues amongst the citizen around the globe . The world turned into a Zombie Land . Where one zombie bites you then you ought to be the zombie . Similar the case here , if one Covid carrier touches you, cough or sneezes in front of you then there would be 80% chances that you too be the covid positive . Knowing all the precautions and guidelines given to us by media and are government raised the mental pressure and mental problems started to take place. Crucial role played by Lockdown for 2 months i.e. no one is suppose to move out, total quarantined self isolation at your places or where ever who so ever was .
This pandemic affected the mental health that includes emotional psychological and social well beings. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps to determine how we handle stress related to others and make choices. But today at this point of time we all are affected by deadly disease called Covid 19. which has affected our emotional psychological and social well beings . Every single day our brains have been absorbing a massive amount of information and statistics. Gossips and rumours have also flourished so reading false information and scaremongering. Some people obsess about it which has resulted in mental saturation and overload. It has affected daily functioning and sleep. Anxiety levels begin to rise with the uncertainty of it all. Also people with mental health issues are also a vulnerable group we must not overlook. Individuals with obsessive Compulsive Disorder , General Anxiety Disorder, health anxiety and paranoia may experience exacerbation of symptomatology.
Mostly the housewives are too being affected at the moment where work load has increased in context to cooking cleaning and taking care of the children and family without any domestic help and sometime no help from the family members , they are over exerted. People are anxious because of the uncertainty. Activities like going to a park, meeting friends, which were previously coping strategies for anxiety patients, are now restricted. Parents are themselves stressed due to the pandemic. With children staying at home, parents are unable to keep them engaged at all times. This often leads to frustration and fights.
It’s really important to understand that this is the perfect time to tap into your intuition. Self isolation or during quarantine it’s okay if you don’t feel up to being productive, starting a project or trying something new. Focus on what you want to do ( and not what you think you should be doing )
Few Steps to Begin With
1) Don’t always listen to your mind. Be mindful ; Stay Calm
2) Don’t try to ignore physical symptoms of stress – Sometimes we make ourself more unwell through panic and anxiety . In the moments of panics you should try to take few moments of breaths. Sit down and count your breathing in and out for 10 secs to relax yourself
3) Keep a record of your worries – Right the things you can control and the things you cannot . This way you’ll able to generalise the seriousness of your thought process and unnecessary anxiety pressure .
4) Only consume what you can handle – If you are trying to cope from health or stress stop your exposure to the news and daily updates . Time to clean up your social media.
5) Take practical steps – Stay connected to your support networks. In the time of stress it could be easy to self isolate but its crucial to maintain human interaction to maintain your anxiety levels. Keep strong connections , this will help you supported and surrounded by positivity .
6) Avoid speculation and focus of facts – it’s easy to get speculation hyped specially when social media is so popular in our society .
We can help to stop the spread the coronavirus if we can reduce the human state of panic. Stress during the infectious diseases
* Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
* Fear of contamination
* Low mood
* Difficulty in concentrating
* Anxiety or overwhelming fear
* Negative Thinking
* Virus related worries and insecurity
* Self verbalisation that does not always reflect reality
* Feeling of discouragement, insecurity , sadness anger etc.
* Fear of being enclosed
* Loss of pleasure
* Overthinking
Music for Stress ,Anxiety and Depression in the time of Pandemic
Music is a universal language that doesn’t need words to have you express emotion, to validate what you’re feeling. At this moment of pandemic we’re all connected in a strange, nervous kind of way in tune to the strings of united music. To reduce stress and anxiety, we need to feel more grounded, more rooted in something or a sense of place and that’s what music does . The sound, that instrument, connects you to something and makes you feel grounded. It makes you ‘feel’- even if it’s just for a moment, but that moment really has a healing power, a mental and emotional kind of healing power. You might come back to reality after, but you are able to face that reality differently. We all have music that speaks to us, individual playlists that aren’t the same as anyone else’s. We curate our lists. These are songs that speak to our lives. These songs become a soundtrack to our lives . Songs gives us some strange kind of comfort and peace , and emotional boost up . The sound possesses the energy of light and heat which plays an important role in the lives of the beings. Music is a process of sound that affords the beings instant relief and peace and it is like a precious medicine in the modern tense life because it is capable of affording and making the man experience peace and comforts reducing his mental tensions.
Musical Journey During Tough Times
* When mentally exhausted avoid listening to slow pace or sad music .
* To keep yourself motivated listen to the fast beat songs
* Your wake up alarm at the moment should not be harsh or loud but soft instrumental pieces like sitar, soft guitar, piano
* Afternoon music during self isolation / quarantine should be of medium tempo with positive words.
* Make sure which ever song you listen it must have positive words or messages . As repeating of words unconsciously goes to our subconscious mind and acts accordingly
* You might love to hear sad songs ( that’s perfectly fine as choice of music entirely depends on individual’s music inclination ) but at the moment try to avoid listening specifically at the afternoon when your brain and body is tired and during night when your body and brain needs rest .
* Important to meditate at least for 20 minutes in evening with the sound present in the environment or in the nature , it could be chirping of birds , the breeze or rustling of leaves .
* Music as background music, while cleaning the house. or even cooking can make you feel like someone is always there. Listening to music has great effects for coping.
* The soothing power of music is well established. It has a unique link to our emotions, so can be an extremely effective stress management tool .
* Try to be more creative during this time of quarantine/ lockdown . Singing (or shouting) along can also be a great release of tension, and karaoke is very enjoyable for some extroverts! Calming music before bedtime promotes peace and relaxation and helps to induce sleep.
It is important to realise that social distancing does not have to mean social isolation especially with modern technologies available to many of us. This social distancing will help us to stop spreading the virus among the nation and recover from the present situation . Let us join hands together and fight back . Stay safe and do not panic .
(The author is Music Psychologist and Therapist)