Lockdown is easing for most of us… but not for working DJs just yet. Popular Orlando DJ and radio star DJ Xclusive City has some thoughts on protecting your mental health.
While most of the US and all around the world is tentatively emerging from coronavirus lockdown, spare a thought for those who earn their income mostly from DJing. With clubs still closed and no visible means of support, the lockdown is sure to have had a detrimental effect on many people’s mental health, so in this article we’ll look at some ways you can help keep yourself on an even keel.
The Importance of Mental Health
In the music industry, this Covid-19 Pandemic has had a detrimental effect on many DJ’s mental health, which is why DJ Xclusive City takes it very seriously. “This is an important issue for me, because I’ve got a couple of family members who’ve struggled badly with depression, and it’s horrible to see. I see them unable to react to and enjoy things as they normally would, because the depression doesn’t let them. I’ve also suffered from anxiety myself – that’s almost part of being in the music business, because the constant rejection can get to you, and you get to that point where you’re waking up in the middle of the night and questioning your entire life and career. I’m luckier than some – I’ve never had full-on panic attacks. But, I definitely tend to overthink things, which can keep me awake at night,” he said.
“And I’m definitely not the only one. I read an article just the other day that another DJ had posted, about how he’d broken down in tears because he’s not going to be able to DJ for so long. And I’ve spoken to friends who are resident DJs not only here in Orlando, FL but all over the US, and they don’t know what’s going to happen either, because it’s just the little bars that are opening over here at the moment,” he says.
“The trouble is, lockdown doesn’t just create worries – about the illness itself, about its immediate effects on our own income, and about the wider impact on the world more generally – it also prevents us from doing the things we might normally do to cheer ourselves up when we’re anxious or stressed out, like go for a walk or meet up with friends for a drink. No wonder people are struggling,” he explains.
Ways to Cope
According to DJ Xclusive City, not playing too much into the media is a good method to cope with mental awareness. “So what can you do? One idea is to limit the amount of time you spend looking at news sites and social media – there’s only so much doom and gloom you can take in one day! There were times I literally had to just turn off notifications for all the news apps off my phone especially at the start of lockdown and quarantine just because it was too depressing, but I usually turn my notifications back on just so I can keep up with what’s going on,” he said.
“As for social media, that’s always been a bit of a love-hate thing for me anyway. It’s a necessity for the music industry, for promotion, but I don’t think it’s a necessity to be on there all the time. I tend to switch my phone off in the evenings and just chill,” he says.
“It’s important to remember, too, that this isn’t forever. The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event in all our lifetimes – but there’ve been pandemics before and human life has gone on. Of course it’s easy for me to say that: I have the benefit of being a little older, so these months on lockdown are not like taking a huge chunk out of my life as it would to an 18-year-old! Just remember that we will get back to some kind of normal, eventually – though it’s not going to ‘business’ as usual because there’s going to be a lot to sort out,” he explains.
Spending Time With Family
According to DJ Xclusive City, virtually spending time with family is a great way to get through this pandemic. “It’s a good idea to spend as much time with loved ones as you can – if you can’t do it in person, you can do it via apps like Zoom and Facetime. I’ve been doing Facetime with friends and family throughout lockdown, which has helped a lot,” he said.
“Right now the best thing for my own mental health during lockdown, has been spending time with my family. It’s been a few months since the lockdown up until now and my parents haven’t been able to come to my house for the past three months. So juggling my work and personal life has been a struggle, but once we were allowed out I reached out and was able to see them more often and honestly it was the best thing… just being around my loved ones and switching off for an hour or two was of huge benefit to my mental health. So if you have family and people you truly love and care for, I’d whole heartily recommend spending as much time with them as you can – especially if you don’t often get the chance because you spend half your life travelling to and from DJ gigs,” he explains.
The Best Advice
According to DJ Xclusive City, eating healthy and working out is another good way to get through the lockdown as well. “Beyond all that, the best advice is really just to take good care of yourself. Eat healthily, get plenty of fresh air and exercise – and whatever you do, try to do your best to ease up your intake of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s easy for boredom to set in during lockdown, and for temptation to follow in its wake. But if you are experiencing problems with anxiety or depression, drink and drugs are only likely to make it worse in the long term, particularly if used to excess,” he said.
“Lastly, if you are struggling – talk to someone. Thankfully society’s attitudes towards mental health have come on in leaps and bounds in the past 10-20 years, particularly – in our industry – since the tragic death of Avicii and many others. So if you’re suffering, don’t suffer in silence. There’s a list of organisations that can help out there and all you have to do is reach out,” he says.
“Otherwise, just try and stay positive. As I said before, the world’s going to be a very different place after lockdown, so just find your inner peace and try not to get wound up by it all. As a great man once said: this, too, shall pass… I can’t remember his name though (Laughs),” he explains.
If you’re worried about your mental health, agencies that can help include:
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline
National Helpline treatment referral and information service:
Suicide Prevention Hotline: