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First IQ Focus session tackles staying healthy in a pandemic

Agency, festival and wellbeing professionals shared tips on how to cope with life under lockdown in the debut IQ Focus virtual panel

By IQ on 08 May 2020

Staying Safe & Sane During Covid, IQ Focus #1

Clockwise from top left: Pragnell, Embleton, Franks, Lehmkuhl and Cochraine

Live industry professionals shared tips on how to cope with job insecurity, home working and a lack of social interaction in the first of the weekly IQ Focus virtual panel series, which centred on maintaining mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chaired by Stacey Pragnell from ATC Live, Staying Safe & Sane During Covid, which was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube, and is available to watch back now, featured Lollapalooza Berlin promoter Stefan Lehmkuhl (Goodlive), the Music Industry Therapists and Coaches founder Tamsin Embleton (Embleton Psychotherapy), tour manager Andy Franks (Music Support) and Jenni Cochrane, CEO of Getahead and organiser of the new Getahead Virtual Festivals.

As the coronavirus shutdown brings business to a standstill, provokes job uncertainty and puts the brakes on social contact, Pragnell asked panellists what live music professionals need to do to protect their mental health and wellbeing.

“We all need to accept that things are currently out of control,” said Embleton, “This is hard for people who are used to pulling off massive tours and festivals, but we need to adapt and be flexible.”

Lehmkuhl spoke of the importance of establishing a daily routine while working from home and in developing new habits such as regular meditation and exercise, which will also help maintain wellbeing once the Covid-19 crisis has passed.

“There’s a good chance that, if there are festivals, events and parties next year, then it’s going to be a very big year,” said Lehmkuhl. “So this is a chance to plan for this and create new habits.”

Pragnell noted that many people feel anxious about working from home and asked how to tackle this.

“My fear is that when we start to ease back into things there is going to be so much work to do … We need to pace ourselves”

Franks stressed the importance of delineating between work and rest. “It’s rare you will find a boss or employer that will suggest you take time off, so you need to know when to stop and have a rest.”

The panellists also recommended the use of industry specific support services, with Hub of Hope, Passenger Recovery, Backline, Music Support, Help Musicians’ Music Minds Matter, the UK Musicians’ Union, Live Nation’s Crew Nation and Bapam among the services mentioned.

“When you talk to someone that’s involved in our industry, it makes a hell of a lot of difference,” said Franks.

As an employer, Lehmkuhl said it is important to lead by example and be open about any difficulties you may encounter in order to break down boundaries and encourage employees to do the same.

Talk turned to how to harness any positive changes brought about by the current crisis. “I hope this has taught us all how to slow down and relax,” said Embleton. “My fear is that when we start to ease back into things there is going to be so much work to do and it’s going to be a real rush. We need to pace ourselves.”

The next IQ Focus panel, Festival Forum: Here Come 21, is taking place on Thursday 14 May at 4pm BST.

Watch Staying Safe & Sane During Covid back here:

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