In order to mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 we are sharing some stories from our singers in regard to how being a member of the choir has a positive impact on their health.

Here is Robyn’s Story:

My full name is Robyn Wood and I’m 26. I work as a Finance Analyst for a travel technology company and although it’s not innately stressful, the hours and work expected of you can sometimes be overwhelming. On top of that I’m also studying for my accountancy qualification which involves 15 exams over 3 years.

Last year our team at work was continuously 2 men down and I stepped up to fill these roles which put a massive burden on my shoulders and increased my stress levels significantly. I was exhausted physically but also mentally. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything for myself. Everything was for someone else.

The pressure culminated in August 2017 when I moved house, had an exam and had two of the busiest times of the year at work all coincide. Plus my boyfriend plays the drums in a band so was away every weekend at festivals. I was totally empty. Someone had opened a tap in my energy levels and just let it drain out!!

In September, after settling into our new home in lovely West Kensington, I decided enough was enough and I signed up for a taster evening with the Kensington Singers. I sang in a choir at uni for a year so knew I would enjoy the community feel, but going along on that first night I just felt everything I had bottled up went away. My empty tap was being filled up again.

The actual activity of singing with others focuses all thoughts. Your mind and body are in sync in that moment and that is your aim. Even if you are just rolling your shoulders in preparation in the warm up, it relaxes you. Then the singing itself is a release. You don’t have to worry if you make a mistake, the pressure is not there like it is at work. You just give it your best and have fun. The feeling you get when you leave choir is of such completeness and the relaxation isn’t even comparable to something like yoga. You can tell your mind and body have had a proper treat!

Joining Kensington singers is one of the only things I’ve done for ME in the last year and a half. And that is important too.

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