FilmWe want to use our platform to support, inform and inspire one another. Many of you may now be working from home during this difficult time, and although it feels like everything has changed, it doesn’t mean the creativity has to stop. Dr Claire Renfrew, Chartered Music Psychologist and part of the Abbey Road team, shares her advice on how to adjust and ensure wellbeing when working from home.Many of you may be working from home during this difficult time. Although it feels like everything has changed, it doesn’t mean the creativity has to stop. Across Europe, people are taking to their balconies to make music and teachers are giving music lessons online. The music scene as we know it has left the stage for the time being, but is continuing at home with many artists including John Legend, Chris Martin, Diplo, Death Cab for Cutie, Yungblud, Alejandro Sanz and Juanes, YungBlud, LauvJ, Balvin, Conan Gray, Alec Benjamin, Sech, Rudy Mancuso and Camila Cabello finding unique ways to encourage people to stay home, while entertaining them by streaming live or virtual gigs. Christine and the Queens is performing a live show on the Instagram every night at 18:00 EST. Here's a playlist that compiles all of this incredible content.
Here are some things to consider to help ensure good balance when working from home.
Stay Connected - Check in with Your Creative CommunitySocial inclusiveness is an essential part of every individual’s life. Keep your connections strong by engaging in online collaborative activities every day whether that is songwriting sessions, band rehearsals, singing lessons or finding a production partner to take your music to a new level. (We’ll explore collaboration tools in another blog.)
It is important to maintain a collective identity and a sense of community throughout difficult times. Apps such as Zoom are perfect for bringing people together to discuss or collaborate, so avoid the temptation to defer meetings with external contacts – have a video call instead. But bear in mind that pyjamas don’t look great on Zoom!
Work to a Daily ScheduleTo help ensure you maintain a healthy routine, it’s good to write a realistic daily schedule outlining all your tasks throughout each day. Routines are proven to help individuals cope with change and reduce stress levels. A sense of normality will enable you to stick to your tasks and decrease anxiety.
If you’re adjusting to the change of working from home, ensure that you wake up at your usual time each day and aim to start work at the time you would normally. Take a proper lunch break away from your computer and ensure you take regular breaks. Using an app such as Focus Boster can help encourage this. Make sure that you also end the working day at a regular time and avoid the trap of overworking at home. It’s important to set a ‘stop’ time and try not to check your emails throughout the evening. Having a proper break and sleep will allow you to work better tomorrow.
Equally important is finding your at-home work location and setting yourself a dedicated work space. Try to create separation between your work space and your home life if you can.
Protect ‘You’ Time and Be Proactive with Your Own Self-Care
Time on your own is vital to maintain a sense of self. Have balance. Focus on your work and creative projects, but don’t forget to spend time on other things that you enjoy whether that is cooking, reading or writing. You might want to take up a new project or skill, such as painting – anything that reminds you of your ability to create. Take a look at art therapy online. Or, if you simply need time out, Headspace’s Meditation App or the YouTube Playlist Meditate with Me will give you the breathing space that is required.
Working from home is a perfect time to practice mindfulness. If you're not familiar with the term, here's a simple introduction. A great way to start is to focus on your breathing. When you pay attention to its rhythms, it takes you away from your constant thoughts and allows you time to focus on your body. Stop Breathe Think is an app worth trying.
Additionally, try to regulate your possible anxiety levels by avoiding checking social media and the news frequently - only look at updates at set times and from trusted sources.
Keep MovingPick up that instrument that you haven’t played in a while. Not only is playing an instrument physically rewarding, it has numerous mental health benefits. It can help to build confidence, enhance learning and relieve stress and anxiety.
General movement does wonders for our mood, stress levels and quality of sleep. Bodyism has many videos that encourages movement and are suitable for everyone. You also might want to look at the FITT App's free classes, Joe Wicks' work sessions or Yoga Flow for Yoga clases online.
Create a PlaylistListening to music enables us to obtain emotional regulation, a sense of freedom and discovery alongside purpose and fulfilment. Make a playlist and share it with your friends. Here are a few recommended playlists: