Music and Sunshine

Ellie Maranda, Editor

I’ve always considered myself good at helping others. I like to think I’m someone who people can come to for advice or to help solve problems. While I don’t think there’s one sure-fire way to get through an event as difficult and anxiety-inducing as a global pandemic, I’ve found ways that have significantly helped me, and I hope they might work for others, too. 

The first way I’ve been lifting my spirits and keeping myself happy is music. I’ve always loved music, and I listen to it constantly, so the past two months have been no exception. One of the best activities for me when I feel overwhelmed or sad is putting my AirPods in and losing myself in a good song. The relief is almost instantaneous, and music is a very reliable source of joy. Music makes me happy in a way that nothing else can, so it’s natural that I’ve been consuming hours upon hours of it during a chaotic time like this. I’m almost always playing music, whether to keep me motivated while I do homework (just like I’m doing right now), in the background while I clean my room, or at full volume while I sing in the shower. A few uplifting songs in particular I’ve been loving have been Light On by Maggie Rogers, Fine Line by Harry Styles, Someone New by Hozier, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Are You Bored Yet? by Wallows, and Little League by Conan Gray. Even if you aren’t someone who typically enjoys music as much as I do, there’s just something so enjoyable about going for a drive on a sunny day with your favorite song turned all the way up and the windows down. I highly recommend checking out a new album, artist, or genre during this quarantine to alleviate stress and give yourself a much needed boost of happiness. 

Another way I like to bring myself joy is by spending time outside. It sounds cliche, but it can be truly therapeutic to spend time soaking up some much needed Vitamin D. Even if I’m not necessarily outside, just having the windows open and seeing the sunshine makes me feel so much better. When it’s been warm enough, I’ve really enjoyed reading in my backyard, playing with my dog, and going for walks with my family. We even took a trip to Maquoketa Caves this weekend, and had a blast. It was so relaxing to spend an afternoon exploring nature, getting some exercise, and taking our minds off of the current situation in the world. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my mood the past few days when it’s been too rainy and cold to be outdoors. I’ve been much less motivated and much more sad than I had been the previous weeks when the weather was sunnier and warmer. I hope the rain and clouds go away soon so I can get back out in the sunshine. 

If you’re struggling right now, I highly recommend finding enjoyable activities that help you relax and take your mind off of the chaos around us. My favorites are listening to music and getting outside, two simple and accessible ways to boost your mood and relieve stress.