Music important part of self care

Adding music to your self care routine can be good for your soul. (Artwork by Cheyanne Abel)

At the beginning of every semester, I tell myself I’m going to stay ahead in my classes, go to bed early, and do yoga.

By the second week, I’m scrambling to keep up with the insanity I signed myself up for, staying up until 2 a.m., and living on coffee and vending machine hot cheetos.

When I overextend myself, one of the first areas of my life I neglect is self care.

And before the eyerolls begin, no, self care is not some buzz word made up by millennials.

It’s actually been around for centuries.

In fact, the ancient Greeks took their self care very seriously and even called it philautia, or love of one’s self.

In an effort to “be more like the Greek’s,” I decided I was going to focus on taking better care of myself this semester. 

“What is the first thing I do when I’m feeling down?” I wonder to myself as I turn on the radio.

I’m trying to figure out how to start this story, and I’m stressed. I turn the volume up.

Soon, I’m lost in the world of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s "Echo."

Then it hits me.

Music and self care go hand in hand.

It is a pathway through which many find comfort.

We use it to evict stress, anxiety, grief and whatever else life throws at us.

There’s a reason slaves would often sing while being forced to work . . . and no, it’s not because they were “happy.”

Think about how we feel after singing an emotional song.

The visceral and almost primitive release that comes from belting out a tune at the top of our lungs is unmatched.

And then there is the attachment we feel to the artist who created the music.

There’s so much power in listening to another’s emotional awakening – it helps us feel connected and alive.

Music is magic.

In an effort to share the transformative power of music, I decided to create a playlist.

In order to appeal to a wider audience, I’ve tried to keep this playlist a bit more “modern.”

If I were to make an actual personal playlist, I would be hurt if people did not like it (further cementing how personal music is to us).
Here are a few of my recommendations 

Post Malone – Congratulations 
This song just makes me happy. And with over half a billion views on YouTube, it apparently makes a lot of other people happy too. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

Beyonce – Who Run the World (Girls)
“I’m reppin’ for the girls who taking over the world,
Help me raise a glass for the college grads”
It may be the oldest song on my list, but Beyonce’s ode to girl power is a collegiate classic. Also, it’s good to remind ourselves what all of this time spent in the library and making appointments with writing fellows is for.

Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE.
Aside from the arresting imagery of the video and the intense beat, HUMBLE., like most Lamar songs, simultaneously brightens your day while delivering an important message.
Now, a few recommendations from members of the Agora staff:

Nigel Good feat. Go Periscope – Don’t Want to Go
“Over the hill of flannel-covered trees,
I wag my tail until the rooftops disappear,
Under the sound of stars that fish for dreams that never come,
But like the rain they start to heal”
Most of the album “Space Cadet” is great, but this song in particular grabbed me with its lyrics.
I was designing a character when I first heard it, and with this song, that character became a person, not just a sketch. 
So I always think of that character’s infectious happiness when I listen to this song, and I can’t help but grin. – James P. Quick

Kane Brown  feat. Lauren Alaina – What Ifs 
When I first heard this song I was riding in the car with my boyfriend. He had been serenading me the whole car ride but when this song came on he turned up the radio and sang a little prouder while he rested his hand on my leg. 
“What if I was made for you and you were made for me,
What if this is it, what if it’s meant to be,
What if I ain’t one of them fools just playin’ some game”
These lyrics, by themselves, could melt anyone’s heart but in hearing these words come out of a loved one’s mouth a heart could soar. – McKinley Striggow 

Hailee Steinfeld and Alesso feat Florida Georgia Line and WATT – Let Me Go
“Good on paper, picture perfect
Chased the high too far, too fast
Picket white fence, but we paint it black”
This song just never fails to put me in a good mood. It’s so upbeat and has a catchy tune. The lyrics are also a nice reminder that not everything works out like you think it should. – Taylor Dively

The Beatles – In My Life
This is a song I like to listen to when I want to be put in a better mood. I grew up listening to this song because it was a song that was played in a family picture slideshow video that we watched often. 
It reminds me of my childhood and of my family, and it helps put my mind at ease. Probably not the most famously known Beatles song, but it is definitely my all-time favorite for my personal reasons. – Shane Brooks

The Eagles – Take it Easy
“Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”
I like this song because it makes me feel laid back and relaxed. When you get that feeling that the world isn’t treating you right, listen to “Take it Easy,” sit back and you’ll feel better in no time. – Dan Shaw

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole– Somewhere Over the Rainbow
“Someday I’ll wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me,
Where trouble melts like lemon drops, high above the chimney tops, that’s where you’ll find me”
I’ve grown up with this song and it has always instantly put me in a better mood.  I love it because it’s so simple and sweet.  It’s impossible to not sing along. – Cassidy Maier (editors note – this song does instantly put you in a better mood!)