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sarah’s breathe & connect story

How Breathe & Connect helped Sarah to manage her condition

Singers Janet Wood and Ali Bullivent sing with musician Luke Carver Goss in the background playing a guitar. At The Point with darts in Doncaster

What is Breathe & Connect?
Breathe & Connect is a programme using singing, breathing, relaxation and gentle movement. It is for people who have Long Covid and other long term breathing-related or health issues. darts developed the approach in 2022 during an intense three-month period funded through Doncaster Council and the Additional Restrictions Grant from South Yorkshire Mayoral Authority.

This period of development enabled darts artists and freelance artists to work collaboratively with each other, and with health professionals, to understand the health and social impacts of Long Covid. The artists worked together, and with groups of Doncaster adults, to test and refine their approach, using their experience of delivering years of singing and dance programmes but adapting the model to respond to the specific needs of Long Covid.

Sarah’s story – the beginning
Sarah has chronic fatigue and has been struggling to manage this for some time. She had been ill, and then contracted Covid-19 before finding out about the Breathe & Connect sessions. She told us:

I arrived at the first session feeling a bit of trepidation about what I was going to find, but immediately felt at ease by the warm welcome and friendly atmosphere which continued throughout the session.

Sarah’s experience of Breathe & Connect
Sarah told us that she found the breathing exercises and information about breathing correctly very helpful. She says that breathing is the main coping mechanism that she uses to help manage her symptoms. She usually engages in a five to ten minute breathing session at least once a day and sometimes more if I she’s having a bad day. She felt that practising in a group setting was good because she took more care with what she was doing and didn’t rush things.

I remember we also did some humming but couldn’t remember why it was a good thing to do. I did a bit of research and found that humming stimulates the vagus nerve (also known as cranial nerve) which is known to improve general wellbeing, slowing the heart beat and reducing stress. So humming will come in very useful for me to use when needed. I enjoyed the guided meditation and managed to relax so that was good.

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