Songs for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Article and Cover Photo by: Katie Hovde
If you live in the Pacific Northwest like we do, you know this time of year is particularly unfriendly to your mental health. It’s starting to get colder and darker. People are getting more and more stressed out; more inclined to hibernate. Seasonal Affective Disorder is rampant until about May or June, and music is one of the best ways that I have found to cope with this long stretch ahead of us. I would like to offer you the following list of go-to mental health songs in the hopes of facing this winter head-on together.
For when you are cleaning the house for holiday guests: A Spoonful of Sugar from Mary Poppins by Julie Andrews. Seriously this song is made for curing the blues. Fun orchestration keeps your head boppin’. Julie Andrews’ beautiful voice keeps your heart meltin’. Just try being depressed after spending a few moments with this song.
For when you need help not taking yourself too seriously: Lift Yourself by Kanye West. This song begins with a simple message: “Lift yourself up on your feet.” And then we’re talking about poop. Everyone loves a good poop joke. Ultimately I don’t think it’s possible to listen to this track without at least a courtesy laugh for Kanye as an idea.
For when you need to “just keep swimming” no matter how much you’re hurting: Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. This song is easily one of my personal favorite mental health songs. Laugh all you want, but the more you sing/scream the chorus you really start feeling so much more resilient. A funky nineties beat seals the deal and before long you might find just a little more strength to keep tackling the day.
For when you drink too much at the holidays and say something inflammatory to a family member (or vice versa): Get Up Offa That Thing by James Brown. Few things in life can’t be solved by dancing. If your family is as stressful as mine is at the holidays, allow yourself a dance break or two.
For when you are just plane alone: I’ll Be There for You by Maisie Peters. This is a cover of the Friends theme song by The Rembrandts. When it’s stripped down to a few melodic instruments, paired with Maisie Peters’ angelic and relatable voice, it’s sure to comfort even in the darkest dark. This track is like a warm hug for your ears.
For when you just need to hibernate in bed all day: Hideaway by Jacob Collier. Obviously if you can, it’s best not to give into the depression that comes with this time of year. However sometimes you just need to curl up into a tiny ball under a lot of blankets with a good book and a mug of tea. This track is for those times.
For when monotony creeps in: Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine. This is an excellent track for shaking loose the dust of monotony that comes with Pacific Northwest winter. Every time I listen to this song, it’s like a complete reset for my brain. Shake out old anxiety. Shake out sadness. Make room for new ways to be happy.
I hope that this list of songs can provide you some warmth and solace in these hard months ahead. Don’t forget that we are all in this together; you are more supported and loved than you may realize. Taking some extra vitamin D doesn’t hurt either.