With a pandemia on our shores, the keyword coronavirus has been unsettling moods, routines, economies, and health. Everyone is affected one way or another, freelancers and particularly musicians not being the least. I’ve been so amazed at the mobilisation and support offered and so moved to help that I thought a post would definitely summarise the many ways we could help each other (as in I could help others and they can help such people as musicians, other freelancers and others). Supporting each other is primordial in any crisis and does not have to stop because of lack of physical contact.

Know the facts, keep yourself informed

The news do have the latest on major channels. If like me you just want the facts, or don’t have a TV, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ will tell you the latest coronavirus statistics per country. What to do? The world health organisation offers information and advice Eachhttps://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus. And each government details their local response, advice and information; in the UK it is https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

I receive a regular newsletter from my council and that is how I know that, as of today, the UK government has announced schools closure from Friday. You will find many alternatives if you need some childcare help, one of which is Yoopies (used to be Find a babysitter but your 14-year old might like the alternative name just that tiny bit better). https://yoopies.co.uk/registration/user/parent/edit

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Seek (or within reason give) emotional and/or financial support

This situation can affect us not just physically but also emotionally or financially. I’m lucky enough that I’m in contact (phone / Facebook) with a lot of my neighbours. If you know of someone who might be alone, maybe pop a message to just say you’re available to talk (with maybe your phone number as it’s not always clear whether people have a computer or the Internet). It makes a difference.

If you or anyone you know is understandably having any sort of mental health issues because of the way the situation affects them, please seek help. In the UK, call Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org (24h response), more at https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/. They are extremely helpful and skilled and available to listen and advise.

Financially, check your mortgage, bank, the government sites, your employer where relevant for any help available. Helping others like the musician I am is great but please make sure that you have enough for yourself first.

In the UK, check out Money Saving Expert for free useful financial advice if all sorts at https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/. You can even subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Stay social (and even professionally active) while isolated

As you know, physical isolation has been recommended. Thankfully, in the 20th century, this does not mean loss of interaction. Your phone, the Internet and your window are major ways of keeping contact without physical contact. But the fact is many people are still digitally illiterate thus missing out.

Eiman Academy offers courses such as the IT Fundamentals course, online, printed and sent to your home (gloved up) or on the phone, live or asynchronously, to keep you connected and in the know. Just go to https://eiman.academy/it-fundamentals/. If you are an educator, or a presenter of any sort, 3E Web Media can show you how to teach online, advise you or put your course online, see examples at https://3ewebmedia.com and https://3ewebmedia.com/online-courses

Lighten up the mood

Panicking does not help, in fact just makes you feel worse. Arguing about the situation or its origins is just a case of “too soon”. There are many ways to entertain your mind and get a break from life worries and most of all to put a most therapeutic smile on our needing faces.

Music is a major way we can relax and enjoy ourselves, entertain and distract ourselves but it is also a form of medicine. You help musicians majorly by liking our social pages (https://facebook.com/tikiblackmusic, Twitter @tikiblacktunes, etc), sharing their posts and links, buying (or sometimes streaming) their music, videos and merch. Many musicians have funding pages (my own is https://gofundme.com/tikiblacklp2).

Like many musicians, I’ll likely be organising live streamed gigs from my home and already have done two so far. Below is my latest, courtesy of the Medicine Show Radio Moose Mobile

This will be most likely as part of Rob Ellen and The Moose ongoing self-isolating music initiative that starts tonight at 20.30 GMT at https://facebook.com/events/s/self-isolation-song-swap-tonig/415749492633357/?ti=as. I’ll keep you posted on my appearances on my Facebook page.

Of course, there are also online gaming sites (be weary of addictive activities, no point exchanging one problem for another), streaming videos since cinema is currently out of the question. You can start watching Netflix (Netflix.com) now for £5.99. If you are a manga / anime fan, the streaming company now includes many Ghibli and other more modern studio films and series but you also have crunchyroll.com.

Get things done

Of course, you can decide that this is the time for spring cleaning, and the likes. But I say, this is the time to write that book and get it edited, make that music video, create that merch, turn your idea into a game, reconnect, learn new things, everything but worry. Websites like Fiverr put you in contact with freelancers all over the world who can help you get things done. Browse the categoriess, read the reviews, ensure your requirements are clear, communicate with them, ask questions before you consider buying. Use Fiverr’s post a request to have the relevant sellers come to you with offers so you have choice. Take your time to choose. Fiverr also offers Fiverr Learn to learn something new. Eiman Academy that we mentioned before offers accredited courses that are so flexible you can also learn on the phone or on paper if learning online is a problem for you.

Conclusion

There is much more I can say here but I want this posted asap. Contact me if you have any questions about how to do any of the activities from jooining netflix (no I am not sponsored) to creating online courses. The nhs and government sites are there for anything else. My message here is simple: We might be getting isolated but You are not alone; and in order to make everyone else feel just the same, use some of these tips. With love.