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  • Writer's pictureSam Dunstan

Blues Monday

I woke up this morning and I didn’t quite know what to do. Everything feels A LOT right now. On the one hand I’ve got a to do list and lots to be getting on with. On the other hand, overcoming the inertia brought on by the overwhelming times we’re living in is quite a challenge. It all feels so vast, so large, so unending that I still doom-scrolled for 45 minutes before getting up.

When I founded Jozara with my Co-Director, Dean, we wanted to help empower artists and practitioners on everything ‘Beyond the stage’. Tax and Finance, business, career development, all the stuff we should have been taught at school/university, but weren’t. Most important, in my opinion, is our work on wellbeing. We’ve tried to help our members frame decision making, create professional boundaries and generally manage the emotions and stresses of working in a creative field. Wellbeing gets tough though when there is no stage to work beyond. Admin now takes up the majority of my time since I can’t get into a rehearsal room to focus on performance and I can’t see shows or go to events. Suddenly “productivity” becomes a dirty word. Something I slave myself towards. A goal that feels tough to reach, but something I beat myself up over when I give it the time it deserves. Yes, I want to work and am thankful I have work I can be doing, but I also want to give myself space to process these feelings.

The November lockdown was a particularly tough one for me. I took too much on, spent little time out of my room and put a lot of pressure on myself to be productive. Whilst I’m not pressuring myself to be as productive (and neither should you) I do want to get some things done and not let the blues beat me. As we approach another new month in the unending 2nd act of this (shit)show that no one likes, Monday mornings, or mornings in general, can feel tough.

I’ve tried a few things over the last month to help fight this inertia. Some have worked a treat, some are less reliable but still helpful to ground the big thoughts and feelings into something tangible.

Vitamin D: It is getting warmer and brighter, but we are all still running at a loss on vitamin D from the last month. So, I popped to a pharmacy and bought a load of tablets. If you’re not a fan of tablets you can get a sun lamp online.

Creative Check-ins: I signed up to these check-ins for creatives every weekday morning (and midday on Wednesdays) run by Anna Spearpoint. Starting the day talking to other humans, having a stretch, doing some free-writing and giving myself a reason to get out of bed has been fantastic. Click here for more info.

Bed. Curtains. Water: Make your bed. Open your curtains. Drink some water. I know it’s cliché, but it really is the best way to start your day. Set an alarm on your phone to do it. Ask a friend to call you to tell you to do it. However, you remind yourself to do it, just do it.

Ta-Da List: Opposite of a To Do List. Instead of listing the things I need to do and crossing them off once completed, I list all the things I have done on that day. Could be something professional/work oriented or simply putting on proper clothes and dancing in the kitchen.

‘Radical Kindness’: It sounds like something from a Headspace advert, but it is the best phrase I can think of to describe the permission you give yourself to say “I didn’t get everything done I wanted to today, and that’s ok. Tomorrow is another day”

Circles of Control: A simple exercise to help you take stock of what you can and can’t control. To help make sense of the messy conceptual thoughts in your brain. See below for a short video on the subject.

If you’re feeling like me why not try some of these yourself and let me know how you get on. Do you have your own tricks, routines or rituals to fight the morning blues? Comment below, let me know.

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