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Indulging in the arts supports your mental health and your community

Maintaining mental health and well-being as we continue through the pandemic

While the pandemic has presented people with many different challenges, one of the biggest is the escalation and management of their mental health issues.

Along with that, people are frustrated, sad and divided about all the different mandates, restrictions, and at the cycle of unpredictable and perpetual lockdowns. Having emerged from the most recent one, Mark Mannisto, president and founder of Sudbury Performance Group (SPG) said relationships have been strained and now it’s time to reconnect with your friends and community.

“We need an opportunity to get together as a community and realize that sure, we might all be going through this pandemic, but at the same time there are opportunities out there to celebrate as a community, it’s what makes it strong and what makes it thrive,” he said.

Like other industries, the arts and entertainment organizations have suffered under the restrictions, but Mannisto said with the current re-opening, supporting your local arts community would be just as beneficial for them as it would the audiences that come to enjoy them.

“In terms of mental health, people are constantly dealing with depression and with anxiety and especially in February when its usually the time people are getting tired of the snow, having to stay in because of the weather, so it’s great way to get out and beat the February blahs,” he said.

The arts are a way to boost your morale and reconnect with your friends and community

After two years, many of us are becoming familiar with the feelings of loneliness, isolation and the same routine of staying, working and being at home. Mannisto said being entertained is a great way to boost your mood as it provides a different experience, something to help you escape reality for a couple hours, and supports getting together with others.

“To be able to be amongst your friends and your peers, and actually have eye contact, sure you might be doing meetings on Zoom or Facebook, but it’s so different when you’re able to be there and see their smile and feed off of each other’s energy, and it will make a positive impact on your well-being,” he said.

This month, SPG will be hosting a stand-up comedy night with Canada’s fastest rising comic, Eric Johnston, when his North American ‘Run With the Bull’ comedy tour stops in Sudbury. Mannisto said whether you see this show or something else in Sudbury, it’s a great way to fight anxiety and depression, to nurture yourself and to step out of the reality that we’ve all been living in.

He said it’s not about just coming out to support SPG as there are many venues including the Sudbury Indie Cinema Co-op, live music at the Coulson Entertainment Centre or dining out at one of their local restaurants like the New Trevi Restaurant.

“There’s so many options that are going to be opening to us and we should be taking advantage of them to start celebrating life,” Mannisto said. “It’s a time to see friends, get lost in the experience and just forget about the now for a little bit and go out and see a show, see a movie, see a concert or a stand up show, and you’ll be able to, for the next two hours or so, be transported to a happy place.”

Apprehensions about being in the community during COVID can be overcome

With keeping our distance, staying indoors and practicing caution wherever we go for the past two years, Mannisto said that he understands that some people may have some apprehension with safety and readiness to re-emerge and visit entertainment venues.

However, he said that each organization takes health and safety seriously and wants people to visit their establishments, so they’re doing everything they can to make it safe for audiences to come back and enjoy their shows and services.

“They’re doing the cleaning, sanitizing, social distancing and they want to be working with their customers to ensure they feel comfortable to come to their venues,” he said, adding that SPG has also implemented strict safety measures and guidelines to avoid the spread of COVID.

To learn more about upcoming SPG’s shows or to buy tickets, contact call 705-662-8518, e mail [email protected] them, or check out their Facebook page for the latest information.