When life feels a bit blah, put on some music and dance.

Lockdown is finally easing and we’re hesitantly thinking about life returning to some sort of normality, and yet not quite sure if normality as we once knew it still exists.

Will there be a third wave, will our children stay at school, will we be forced to live indefinitely with mask wearing and social distancing, will we ever dance in a crowd or travel abroad again?

I can’t know what’s in the future but I do know that living in the moment and being grateful for what I have, can be a brilliant antidote to that.

And yet gratitude doesn’t always come easily.

Languishing

After more than a year of living through these strangely suspended pandemic times, it’s no wonder that many of us are feeling a little lacklustre, short of energy and enthusiasm.

A friend described feeling like a soggy blob and although she might have been talking about her hangover, I couldn’t help thinking it’s the perfect phrase to describe my physical and mental state at times, after too many weeks in lockdown.

I know I’m not alone,  it probably explains why psychologist Adam Grant’s recent article in the New York Times has been so widely shared:

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s called Languishing.

In the piece, Adam describes Languishing as:

“a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.”

Reclaim your freedom

The same article mentions another delightful phrase, “Revenge bedtime procrastination” or the habit of staying up late to reclaim the freedom we’ve lost during the day. 

I realise that I’ve been practicing this very thing and it might be my antidote to languishing. 

Sitting at home for what seems like the 999th weekend in a row, yearning for a Saturday night when something exciting, fun or even just different will happen. 

Gradually, the rest of the family tick off another day and drift to bed. My way of celebrating this deliciously rare solitude, something I’ve been badly craving, is to put on my headphones and lose myself in music. 

Let’s dance

For me, there’s nothing like music to jolt me out of a brooding mood and back into the moment.

Music has the ability to transport me to all those times in my life I’ve experienced fun, joy, and the warm embrace of friends and family. 

Memories are evoked from childhood, warm and secure in my bed, while my parents played Steve Miller Band and Fleetwood Mac downstairs, to the lullabies I played and sang to my own babies. I can almost feel the thump in my chest and ringing in my ears, as I walked onto a dance floor or pushed my way to the front of a crowd to get closer to the stage.

While I’m physically and indefinitely separated from the people, places and experiences that I love, I know that through music, I can find connection again. So for now, although I don’t yet know when I can go to a gig, or dance in a crowded bar, I say thank you for the music, for always being there; a soundtrack to old adventures and a playlist for fun times to come.

Melissa McConnell

Listen to Music is Medicine playlist on Spotify