5 great ways for choir leaders to unwind

As busy choir leaders organising rehearsals, repertoire, performances and all the administration that goes with it, plus leading our busy lives, it can be easy to forget to relax! Relaxation is crucial, it allows us to take a break, to take time for ourselves and to feel restored so that we can move forward with a calm, clear and focused mind.

Here are my five great ways to relax, but I’d love to open this out and hear from you about your top relaxation tips. I’m sure they’ll be a wide range of suggestions which can help inspire others. You may be super-efficient at including relaxation time into your week already, but if not I challenge you to try at least one thing this week and see what difference it makes.


After a busy day or first thing in the morning, I love to go for a swim. I’m not an amazing swimmer by any stretch of the imagination but the feeling of being in the water and doing a few lengths is so relaxing, it gives me a great boost. If doing lengths is not your thing why not try an aqua aerobics class? This can be great fun, sociable and is a great way to get fit.


Now again, I’m not going to win the Tour de France any time soon and I’ve been told by my more cycle-knowledgeable friends that my inexpensive bike weighs a ton, but I just love getting out on my bike. The sense of freedom it gives me is amazing. Choosing not to get involved with the traffic (not sure that’s┬árelaxing), I enjoy cycling off-road along tracks. If you enjoy time on your bike you could plan a route, go cycling with a friend or even look to join a local club.


Yoga is so calming yet gives you an amazing all round stretch and develops your strength. As choir leaders it’s easy to suffer with tension, particularly in the shoulders and neck. Yoga is a great antidote and something I enjoy at home with DVDs. I always aim to include a short session on days when I know things will be hectic and I’m doing a lot of teaching or leading my choir. Why not look out for a local yoga class? You will probably find both daytime and evening options so that you can fit it to your schedule.

Time with friends

I’m always conscious to make time for seeing friends. Sometimes this can be during the week but tends mostly to be at weekends. I love catching up with everyone, relaxing and having a giggle. It’s definitely good for the soul. I think it’s so important to do this especially if you work from home which can be more isolating than being in a workplace with colleagues. I enjoy coming up with ideas whether cooking at home or going out.


Okay, so this is something most of us do already but walking is so good for you, particularly when you pick up the pace. Walking has no cost involved and you can fit it in whenever you need a break. Have a think about your weekly routine, are there are times when you drive or take puclic transport but could walk instead? Walking is a great way to clear the mind but also gain clarity on issues or ideas that you were struggling with at your desk or computer. So many times I’ve been needing inspiration for warm-ups, rehearsals or reprtoire and a good brisk walk was all that was needed!

Comments on 5 great ways for choir leaders to unwind

  1. Avatar Shelagh Rogers says:

    The dog takes me walking and we spend a lot of time bird watching and plant recording – it takes you to such interesting places. In Spring and Summer bird-watching is mostly a question of listening to bird-song and identifying it. Once the leaves are off the trees in winter, it becomes more visual. Wild flowers nearly always lead me on into photography. My dog is endlessly patient and spends his time snuffling around until I am ready to go on with his walk. He has even been known to dig himself a nest in the undergrowth and go to sleep while I am identifying a particularly recalcitrant plant.

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Thanks Shelagh, sounds like a lovely way to relax.

  2. Avatar Lyn Young says:

    Ha ha. I do swimming, but Zumba?? I tried it for a while. May be the perfectionist in me, but although I could see I was no worse than anyone else in the class, I couldn’t bear not keeping up with the instructor. I don’t mean the fitness level, just the fancy steps. I seemed to end up on the wrong foot, facing the wrong way etc. Too complicated. I realised I don’t even enjoy it and stopped.
    Happier cycling or walking with comedy in my headphones. My swimming up to 50 lengths so quite pleased worth that, but it is monotonous and have to keep mind on the numbers or lose count.

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Thanks Lyn, yes counting lengths is definitely important, it’s easy to lose count if you’re not careful and like you I like to know how many I’ve done! I like the idea of comedy through headphones, can’t go wrong with a bit of laughter to relax.

  3. So glad you mentioned Zumba , I teach 4 classes a week and totally love it . Only trouble is my head b ecomes a mush of music . One minute I’m choreographing a Latin pop song , the next I’m going over one of my choir songs . The lovely thing is that a lot of my choir members come to my Zumba classes and we have a weekender were we walk , Zumba and sing . I love it xx

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Great to hear how you combine all these things Irene. Must be lovely to have such a busy schedule based around singing, dance and music.

  4. Avatar Pat Cannell says:

    Totally with you on the swimming. To me it is the nearest thing to meditation. All the daily hurly butly is cut out, it’s just me and the water, and the only thing in my head is a rhythmic chant of the number of the length I’m on.

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Thanks Pat.

  5. Twenty eight years ago I came upon what, for me, is the ideal outlet. I frequently do a bit of walking (anything from 30 mns to 4 hours) but it doesn’t really do it for me. I am allergic to anything that requires strenuous effort without a real purpose or destination so that rules out cycling. I couldn’t take the incessant noise of a zumba dance so that or a gym are not for me. Swimming I do like … but up and down the pool … nah…nah… AHHHH Then I found scuba diving. A certain level of fitness is required but after that it is wonderful. Fabulous scenery, wonderful fish life so plenty to see. It also incorporates a bit of self awareness in that all you can hear is your own breathing – so relaxing. I have a few videos up on my facebook page for anyone interested.

    1. Avatar Victoria Hopkins says:

      Wow Kevin. How fantastic. I wonder how many other Choir leaders have such unusual hobbies.

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