At the start of 2019, Brett Eldredge went (mostly) off the grid: He traded his flip phone for a smartphone; left Nashville for California and other locations; and bought a Polaroid camera, so that he could occasionally take photos and mail them to his manager to post on Instagram. The formerly always-online singer says the break was a godsend, both musically and in terms of his mental health.

A little over one year later, Eldredge is back on the grid, but still isolated, as he and much of the world is self-quarantining to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The singer knows his voluntary time away in 2019 was vastly different from this current, forced situation, but some of the lessons he learned then are certainly applicable now.

"When I got into this [coronavirus quarantine], I was like, 'Oh, this is kind of what I've dealt with a little bit over the last year,'" Eldredge told The Boot and other media members during a virtual roundtable. "You learn a lot of things of, 'What do I lean into? What do I use to get myself through this?'"

Eldredge signed his record deal with Warner Music Nashville a decade ago and, he admits, hadn't slowed down since. "I sailed away and was on the road for, you know, 250 days of the year," he says, "and then you never stop for, what is it, 10 years?"

"You don't really stop to give yourself time ... You don't take care of yourself," Eldredge admits, and it came back to bite him: "I got that burnout," he shares. "I love music, but it got to the point where I was just -- I lost the magic of what I wanted, so I had to take step back."

Eldredge forced himself to get comfortable with being alone and out of the public eye. He reconnected with himself and his loved ones, and looked for reasons to be grateful. Now, he meditates each morning, focusing on being present and staying in the moment.

"I think gratitude has been huge for me," Eldredge reflects. "You know, no matter where we go in our lives, it's been a lot of amazing things that have got us here."

Currently, Eldredge is quarantined alone, though he has seen his brother and sister-in-law, and his parents from a safe distance. He's trying to be productive, of course, but also isn't being too hard on himself when he's not.

"We're all in a weird, weird time, where it's hard to just stay focused. But I've found that if I get accomplished at least one thing a day -- that I can go to bed and be like, 'I did that' -- then it helps me a lot. So I've been doing that," he shares. "I've been writing on my mirror little things to work on ... Like, 'Can you play this song on guitar yet?' And then I'll look in the mirror, and I'll see myself and I'll see that. And then that reminds me to work on some things as well as, you know, just go watch movies and listen to books. And I've taken up trying to run and just be outside in nature."

Perhaps the most difficult part of the ongoing quarantine for Eldredge is promoting his music. The singer released a brand-new single, "Gabrielle," on Friday (April 17), and announced that he'll be dropping a new album, Sunday Drive, on July 10. However, social distancing and virus-related shutdowns mean a traditional record release plan is out of the question for now.

"We're all kind of trying to figure out how all that works," Eldredge says, adding that while he understands why some artists are opting to push their new albums back, he won't be joining them: "For me, it was like, 'Man, I want to be the escape that other artists have given me in tough times in my life. I want to get this out there,'" he explains.

"Whether I can promote it in that traditional way or not, I'm going to get it out there, and it's gonna, hopefully help people through certain tough times -- this or just at any time in their life," Eldredge continues. "I think that it was important to get this music out, regardless of if I'm on TV or if I'm sitting in my living room on a Zoom call with my friends, talking about the music.

"I'm going to get the excitement out there and get the music out there," he concludes, "and let the fans spread it around, hopefully, and share that love."

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