In tough times, we often turn to art — including music. Soothing music provides more than just entertainment, it can actually combat the negative effects of stress and anxiety. “Right now, our external experience is in chaos. Music is a great regulator. When our internal experience feels calmer, our external experience should feel calmer as well,” says somatic psychologist Holly Richmond. In fact, research suggests that listening to music can actually reduce anxiety.
All of our lives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and self-isolation. This unprecedented event is understandably triggering anxiety, especially for those who have a pre-existing anxiety disorder or other mental health condition. While you should keep in touch with your therapist or doctor virtually as you navigate this new strange world, consider adding some calming playlists into your self-care routine.
Sometimes we need to listen to sad songs so we feel less alone, and other times we need to hear something a little more upbeat to keep us feeling positive when we’re about to crumble. Or maybe anxiety is keeping you up at night and you could benefit from listening to an ambient playlist. There are different playlists for different moods, and we’ve picked out six to help you through this tough time. Listen, relax, and even consider making one of your own. You’ve got this.
1. A playlist to help calm you down
The aptly-named Calm Down Playlist, created by Jane Aldridge, will help you do just that. When you feel overwhelmed or like your anxiety is starting to spiral, put this on. The song curation excellently blends tracks that are both relaxing and uplifting. It’s a calm enough playlist that you can just press play and relax, and yes, all the songs are full of good vibes only. Stay positive with tracks such as “A Time for Love” by Dennis Coffey.
2. A playlist for the moment
Singer and songwriter Phoebe Bridgers kindly created this playlist called Catch Me Inside (yes, a nod to Bhad Bhabie) that’s full of songs about, well, staying inside, for the most part. But it’s not that simple — songs on this list are also full of longing, and desire, and nostalgia, and it might just be exactly what you want to hear right now.
3. A playlist to help you focus
For anyone currently struggling to try to get any work done, turn on this focus playlist created by Spotify. All the songs included are somehow serene yet stimulating. Sometimes trying to work to songs with words can be distracting, but these instrumental ambient tunes from greats such as City of the Sun will help give your brain some lively background noise that won’t distract you so you can get your work done.
4. A playlist to help you sleep
It can be hard to fall asleep when times are tough and you’re feeling anxious. This ambient music playlist, which updates every 48 hours, is here to help you with that. There are no distracting words or beats, only silky atmospheric sounds to promote serenity. In addition to helping fight insomnia, it also makes for a tranquil meditation playlist.
5. A playlist for when you’re feeling emotional
Poet and author of The Magical Writing Grimoire: Use the Word as Your Wand for Magic, Manifestation & Ritual Lisa Marie Basile put together the ultimate Pisces playlist. Pisces are dreamy, nostalgic, and ethereal emotional water signs. Regardless of your sign, most of us are feeling like water signs these days due to an array of quarantine emotions and feels. Put on this playlist as you cook dinner or unwind in the bath. This one includes everyone from Lana Del Rey, to FKA Twigs, to the Pisces queen Rihanna.
6. A playlist for chill vibes
Content creator Eb the Celeb created a chill playlist (that’s also a little sexy!) with highly relatable tracks for this moment, such as “I Don’t Wanna Go Outside” by Zilo and “Nudes” by Jada. Sometimes, you just need to listen to some sad songs that remind you of your ex to remind you that you’re not alone. Grab a glass of wine, take a deep breath, and unwind with these mellow tunes from all different genres. Not only are these songs relaxing, but you may just find yourself wanting to unleash your emotions by belting along. Cathartic.