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BUT if we take a closer, deeper look around, and brainstorm possibilities, there are things we can do to help ourselves and others not only get safely through this global pandemic but come out better for the battle. I'm going to share some thoughts and hopefully turn a light or two on for you in whatever your unique situation is.
OK, FIRST THE BAD NEWS
There are valid reasons why public events are canceling, cities, states, and whole countries are locking down, schools are closing and lessons (including mine) are going online only. The recommended practice of 'social distancing' and the resulting gig economy cancellations are devastating to scores of businesses including the entertainment and public speaking industries. It's also true that most people can get this virus, get over it without medical intervention and come out just fine. So...
WHY IS THIS FLU SUCH A CRISIS?
- It's super contagious.
- Those who do get diagnosed with COVID-19 disease will be asked to quarantine themselves.
- The biggest reason: It can overwhelm our health care system
THIS CRISIS WILL END!
- Shelter in place when the local authorities call for it. This could keep numbers of hospitalizations at a manageable level, saving a bed or a ventilator for a time of your or someone else's desperate need.
- If you DO get sick with this flu...
- try to minimize hard coughing as much as possible. Try to 'pull' your coughs to lessen the stress on your vocal cords
- if you need to be intubated on a ventilator, tell your anesthesiologist or doctor that you are a professional singer (or speaker) and to please use extra care inserting the tube.
- I have some vocal recovery information at this blogpost, including some exercises to help you get your voice back from any illness.
- Raise the bar on all your health practices including physical exercise; research some new ones (online yoga, dance, deep breathing, healthy cooking classes), stop smoking, adopt better eating habits (paleo anyone?), drink more water, walk outside (even if just on the balcony), get more quality sleep. I'm trying a phone app for binaural beat therapy to get to sleep because my brain is on overdrive right now!
- Adopt protective habits:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Stop touching your face. Stay 6 feet away from sick people. Avoid crowds and don't fly unless you absolutely have to.
- Bring alcohol wipes to any studio or gig you do.
- When you can get back in the public, interacting with others (including fans), use the forearm bump instead of a handshake, or better yet, just wave and smile.
- Guard your mind. Watch your time surfing the internet... lots of bad news and false stories abound. No, there are no dolphins in the canals of Venice, but there ARE wild animals venturing more boldly into city streets. Look for helpful, positive stories to balance what you need to know to deal with the real situation.
- Take time to be still. Pray, meditate, breathe and be in the present.
- Ask for help when you need it. Give help when you can... it's the fastest way out of your own fearful mindset!
- Create material! Write songs, scripts, books!
- Create more ability! Study your craft, research, explore, experiment, go deeper, take some online training so that at the end of this crisis, you're better than ever at what you do.
- Do something you've never done - learn to play piano, guitar, study music theory, sing harmony (or lead!), public speaking. There are tons of free and paid courses online. Read more books!
- Work on your artistic definition. What is in your heart to sing or speak? Who do you want for your audience? What are you missing in your body of work?
- Study music business, marketing and promotion. Gain skills that will help you move your career forward like a rocket when this crisis is over. Create a detailed plan for launching a new project or tour.
- Large groups of people are asked NOT to gather during this crisis, so this will impact live audience concerts as well as writers' nights and speaking events. Connect with your fans in other ways. Do online shows with virtual tip jars. Try out Patreon or use Buy Me A Coffee for small one time donations
- Do some internet infrastructure work (website updates, social networking, etc).
- Find creative ways to make financial ends meet.
- Some mortgage lenders are now pausing payments for as much as 12 months and freezing foreclosures and evictions. We're globally all in the same boat... so don't hesitate to ask for payment grace.
- Be willing to look for at least a temporary new type of job. While most businesses are being crushed, the food industry including delivery and local grocery stores, health care, wellness and home fitness industries, online education, remote work
- Ask yourself how you can truly help. There is so much need, and there is much we can do for our communities... taking food to the doorsteps of those in quarantine, making music or reciting poetry online or across the ally for each other. Donate as you can to service organizations and food banks. Think about all the things you uniquely know about and can do. Be creative and brainstorm with others about how to take your empathy into active and useful endeavors.
- Check in with family and friends. Social distancing doesn't have to create emotional distancing!
- Be useful to your fanbase. How can you make their world a little better? They love what you do. Love them back with something special that is a one-way-street gift to them. A free online concert. A personal message or live video event to support and encourage them for what THEY are going through.
HOW CAN I HELP YOU?To protect us all, I will only offer online lessons until this crisis passes. If you can't afford lessons right now, I will be giving plenty of free information out in this blog and podcast so people can still train. Please stay in touch and tell me what you need! One thing I'm considering is a video about centering, opening and breathing to help anyone who is having emotional or respiratory distress. Let me know in the comments if you'd like that... or any other subject you'd like for me to cover.
MY LESSONS: If you can and would like to, there are some silver linings to doing online lessons with me:
- You can't catch a virus through the internet (except a computer one:)
- You don't have to deal with traffic to get here.
- You can take the lesson on any device anywhere you get internet (smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer) - in the parking lot, a green room, your bathroom, your motel room, your car.
- You can take a lesson even when you're sick! Or still in your pajamas!
- If you wonder how online lessons work, read/listen to an article I did on it... https://blog.
judyrodman.com/2017/02/online- vocal-lessons-pros-and-cons. html
- NOW IS THE TIME to adopt proactive and protective practices so we can avoid contracting this dangerous flu and spreading it to others. Remember... it doesn't just matter to you, it matters to everyone you come in contact with.
- LOOK FORWARD: There WILL be an end to the crisis. It may not be til next year that a vaccine and/or effective antivirus drug gets developed. But audiences will gather again. People will shake hands again. Right now we don't need to panic... we just need to prepare. Prevention is better than cure.
- STAY CONNECTED! Call & check up on family and friends, text, email, message, chat face to face online. Look for fact-based sources of information to make wises choices as things progress. We are all better together.