Singing is well-known to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing and health, and it’s all the more important that we keep it going in tough times.
Now, with the coronavirus heavily limiting our social contact, jobs on the line and worries about our health finances, and – for too many – the loss of loved ones, we could all do with a bit of a boost. And yet, it’s at times like these that it’s all too easy to forget how important music is in our lives.
Making space for song
On a personal note, living in a busy household is a powerful shield from the loss of other social contact and something I’m eternally grateful for. Still, in just two weeks of juggling work with three housebound children and feeling increasingly guilty at how little time I’d spent on home schooling, I barely limped across the finish line this past Friday evening.
After a quick dog walk (I am thankful I live in the countryside), the fog lifted a little and, with a slightly larger than necessary glass of wine, I found myself humming as I cooked dinner. Over the weekend, I screeched as I whizzed down a local bike trail with my youngest doing the same (albeit to an entirely different tune), and I warbled in the garden while we planted seeds. Then it struck me; I was surrounded by noise and the busy-ness of daily life, but – without regular choir rehearsals – I had forgotten to make time to sing.
So, I dug out some sheet music, wrestled away one of the children’s headphones (complete with a surprisingly fancy microphone), plugged it in to my computer and belted my way through a few tracks on YouTube. It wasn’t my finest vocal hour, but I came away feeling energised, my spirits lifted and all the more determined to keep at it.
Why singing makes us feel great
The health benefits of singing are widely researched, with University professors across the globe reporting that it can help to reduce anxiety and blood pressure, improve breath control and heart rate, strengthen our immune system, and even to relieve symptoms of dementia.
Singing can be a full-body experience, as we stand tall, breathe deeply, move with the music, our blood moving faster round our bodies, with the release of endorphins that lift our mood and help us feel even more energised than when we began. A song a day won’t keep the doctor away, but it can certainly help us deal with what life throws at us.
During busy times and particularly when worries set in, the voice can be a powerful therapy. As we scream in frustration, screech in shock and howl our woes, let’s not forget to make song our delight.
So, please keep singing! And, in case you need any more motivation, here are 5 awesome videos of people using the power of song to inspire others during the height of COVID-19, including – of course – some of the UK’s NHS heroes.
For those of you that enjoy singing as part of a group, here are some great opportunities to join with others and sing from home:
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