• Dr. Heather Nelson

Songs in the Key of Coronavirus

Y'all.


I'm feeling it.


And I bet you are, too.


You know, that low-level but constant stress over the last two and a half weeks that is quiet and small, but there. It's exhausting, and it's honestly starting to get to me. I'm sure I'm not alone. (Welllll, I really am alone in my house, except for the dog and the cat, but you know what I mean.) Also, if your heart needs a break from stories and such, feel free to skip to the end where I've listed some resources for you. Look for the blue text and the picture of a puppy to jump back in.


I'm naturally and introvert. And as a single lady who does the bulk of her work from home, honestly, the pace and structure of my life hasn't changed that much. My church job is different since we aren't meeting for several weeks, and that will be very strange. We're still figuring all that out, but I'm certain it will be fine once we figure out where the wrinkles are and then iron them out.


My life is largely the same, but also it's very, very different. There's something about this that is just strange, and I can't quite put my finger on it yet. I was chatting with my best friend this afternoon, and I told her this is what I imagine a zombie apocalypse would be like. Things are really quiet on my street. More than usual, and I live in a pretty dang quiet neighborhood. There's noticeably less movement from the people on my street. It seems like everybody is just waiting for the next thing. The next announcement. The next restriction. The next release of numbers. Like everyone is collectively holding their breath, and we don't know when it's okay to let it out.


I've been physically preparing for this for a couple of weeks now. I have family who work in health care, and we were warned that it was coming and that it was going to be bad. Coupled with that, I have some amazing colleagues in the voice teaching world, specifically my pals in the Speakeasy Cooperative, who were digging in and getting ready, sharing resources, encouragement, and ideas, so when the time came we could be ready to serve our clients online at a moment's notice. And it really worked. Voice teachers, in many respects, have been really well prepared for this ahead of other industries. So I feel like I had enough time to have my home and my business prepared.


My heart was still taken aback at how fast everything came, and the extent it all changed so quickly. That part has been more difficult for me to manage. I see it manifesting in myself as a lack of motivation, headaches, and some trouble sleeping. It took me a couple of days to really nail down what it was, but now that I see it, I'm giving myself some grace to just feel my feelings for a couple of days. I've never encountered this before, so it's okay to slow down and process a bit, rather than forcing myself to barrel ahead. It's all too new to adjust to in a second. This is going to take some time for us.


If you're like me, the constant barrage of information, some of it conflicting or confusing, is taking it's toll.


I am conscious of the need to regulate what is coming into my mind and heart, which will effect what comes out of my mouth, my homekeeping, and my efforts in my business. So, to that end, I'm issuing and invitation and a challenge.


The invitation!


Each Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon at 3:00 CDT, I will host a half hour (very punctual) Quaran-tea in my Zoom room. It's open to anybody who would like to pop in and have some conversation over a cup of tea, coffee, or whatever. (I won't judge.) I will be very intentional to keep it to thirty minutes so that it's hopefully uplifting without being overwhelming. It would be lovely if someone would share a song during that time, but there's no obligation. Just drop in and join us. I'll do this until I think it's no longer needed. (And, I'm sure it goes without saying, jerks will be kicked out and banned, so it will be a safe space for us.)


The Challenge!


Our brains can easily get stuck in a loop of worry or overthinking. Surely I'm not the only one. One way to break that cycle is to intentionally learn something new. The challenge is to learn a new song each week. It doesn't have to be performance ready by the end of the week, or memorized, or anything. But it's a perfect opportunity to explore some new rep that you've been wanting to try, or another song by a favorite composer or artist. There's no pressure. It's a chance to let your brain dig into something that isn't a virus, and can keep those synapses firing in healthy ways.


If you need more help right now, here are some places to go:

If you are in recovery and need to keep accountable, you can find a directory of online AA meetings here and recordings of AA speakers here.


If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or an emotional crisis, the national Suicide Prevention Hotline is here.


If you are needing help feeding yourself or your family, Feeding America can help connect you to local help.


If you have questions about how your job may be affected by COVID-19, this FAQ page may be a place to start.


Current info from the CDC on COVID-19 can be found here.


If you're needing something to do, here are some things to try:


Music education sites I love for kiddos who might need something to do can be found at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra site and the San Fransisco Symphony kids site.


For an instant mood boost, try the Thoughts of Dog Instagram profile.


There's a Google Chrome extension that can allow you to watch Netflix shows or movies with other people who also have Netflix. Netflix Party lets you be together without actually being together. It does not guarantee your companions won't still talk over the movie.


If you'd like to help your community, here are some ways to reach out:


If you'd like to help out your community members who may be food insecure, you can donate here.


Teachers still have needs for their classrooms. You can help out a teacher through Donors Choose.


To help kids who may be food insecure, you can donate here.


If you'd like to donate a voice lesson to a client who might not be able to pay for it during this time, contact me for info on how you can do that.


Have you got other ideas to share? Leave a comment! I would love to have more resources to share with folks who may have various needs. Together we can strengthen our communities through this strange time. I wish you peace and wellness!



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