Self Care Post of the Week – Music

*I want to start these self care posts by saying that I’m not a professional. I’m just someone who suffers from both anxiety and depression. These are all things that I personally do that help me either physically, mentally or both. What works for me may not work for you – so take these ideas as a stepping stone to figure out what resonates with and helps you. Something I DO know is the more consistent I am in focusing on various self care things for myself, the better I feel. As I write these, they will be added to the Self Care page so they can be easily found and not jumbled in with all the blog posts.

Music can be so transformative. How many times have you heard a song and it brings you back in time or makes you think of a specific place or person. Use this to your advantage when it comes to self care!

There are so many different aspects to music that can help in multiple situations. From the words being sung, how slow or fast the beats are and the emotion being conveyed in the tone of it.

Something fast and up-beat can pump you up, motivate you and keep you going. Ever listen to music when working out and it helps it feel not so hard and a great distraction to the pain you may be feeling in the moment? It’s a great distraction to what you’re physically feeling and makes it not feel so bad. Quick paced music can make you feel more alert and energized too. It’s hard to not nod your head, tap your toe or move your body when it’s a beat you can feel through to your core.

Something slow can be so calming, restorative and soothing. Think of babies and lullabies or the cool-down of a work out where the pace of the music slows. I love when I listen to a meditation that has soft music in the background that keeps the feeling calm in the parts that are without talking.

Use music that strikes an emotional chord with you to help spike that dopamine feel good level in your brain. I just can’t help but smile when I hear certain songs from 20 years ago when I was going dancing at the bar with friends. Those were such happy memories of friendship and feeling free.

Sometimes I even use music to help draw out emotions. Ever have times where you’re just so on edge and feel like everything it just so pent up. Then something sets you over that edge and you release those emotions and you get a calm washing over you after? For some people it’s anger, anxiety or sadness. For me personally, it’s pent up sadness that I feel the most relief from when I can finally get a good cry out and release it all – but sometimes it can be hard to find that release and music can help get me there. This is a case when the lyrics speak to me and help me get that release. I can physically feel my bodies release of tension that I was holding in by suppressing the release of emotions.

If you’re not feeling the music of the mood you’re trying to achieve, you can also do it in steps. Want to get energized and happy but you’re feeling low and unmotivated? Start with something slow that fits your mood and gradually listen to choices that are quicker. There’s nothing saying you have to jump right in and listen to something that’s not fitting your mood or resonating with you. Go at your own pace and make it your own. Just be careful – while music can be a positive thing, it can also bring some negative emotions too. Sometimes it may be better to stop listening or changing what you’re listening to. It’s always possible that music just isn’t what you need in the moment if it’s doing more harm to your thoughts and emotions instead of helpful and feel-good.

I like to make playlists in my Spotify to have it ready when I need it – setting those intentions for what I need in the moment. I have one I called Upbeat that I’ll use to help keep my body moving and Relax with calming, slower paced music. You can come up with whatever titles resonate to you – maybe you want one that says Calm, Memories, Move – get creative with it!

How do you use music in your life? What are your favorites to either motivate or relax you? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, xoxo