Playlist 23: (Pro)Actively (Self-)Aware

℗ 2017 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited


“Don’t Kill My Vibe”

The flow of my weeks has been flipped upside down as of late, where Mondays feel like Fridays and Fridays feel like Mondays. My work week mainly includes Friday-Monday with a few sporadic shifts on weeknights. Needless to say, I’ve been a little confused lately as to which way is up.

With Friday vibes at the start of a Monday morning, one would think that I’d be in a fantastic mindset, but today I wasn’t! I had this feeling of dread going into work today with no real reason behind it. I’ve had so many confidence-boosting experiences over the last week or two, and many wonderful opportunities to learn.

It can be weird and unsettling when you feel anxious or nervous about something and haven’t figured out the reason behind it. Maybe there’s an underlying fear of the unknown, never being sure what you’re going to walk into, which I guess would be a valid reason for making a person nervous. Whatever the reason, heading to work with a knot in your stomach is a pretty terrible buzzkill.

I’d been jamming to this song for about a week already, but I developed a whole new perception of it this morning— that this song is now a message to anxiety, nerves, insecurity, and worry: Don’t. Kill. My. Vibe.

Mental Health Idea: Imagine personifying your negative emotions. Turn them into an entity, a being that you can identify in a tangible way. Then, communicate with it in some way, either by talking to it, writing it a letter, or even singing a song with a message to it. Direct those words at that entity, and see how it makes you feel.

Give this idea a shot if you think it may help you get some mental clarity. It doesn’t have to be by singing this particular song. It doesn’t have to be with a song at all really. Personifying negativity and telling it to back off can be an empowering way to help build mental and emotional strength and start to take control of your happiness.

℗ 2017 Sony Music Entertainment Sweden AB


“Say My Name”
Tove Styrke

A day off means a good mood in my world. Today was my only day off this week and I was going to embrace every possible moment of it. A big chunk of the morning included running errands with my parents, which is not really my idea of a “fun” day, but having dinner plans with an old friend on the horizon, I was determined to stay carefree and relaxed.

I think I listened to “Say My Name” to and from dinner, vibing with the sass and funky beat. Tove Styrke was part of a large list of recommendations sent my way from Facebook friends. After a little digging, I learned how unique and cool Tove Styrke is. I found a few of her songs and fell for the quirky weirdness of this particular tune. The verses, pre-chorus and chorus all feel like they sort of belong in different songs, but have this underlying thread that connects the whole thing.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a million times again, I love being introduced to new artists and songs. I’m a sucker for learning about indie artists and people who haven’t had their big break yet, so I’m stoked that I got the inside scoop on Tove Styrke. I’m always open to music recommendations, if you have any.

℗ 2012 Warner Music UK Limited for the world excluding Australia and New Zealand


Matt Corby

Repeat artist alert: Matt Corby is on fire. On Monday night, my coworkers and I got together for a Goodbye/Welcome Home party for two of our fellow artists. What started as an evening filled with pizza and cat obsessions turned into a creative wonderland, complete with collaborative painting and guitar sing-alongs that made my heart melt. I left the party feeling so full of life and love and inspired me once again to try and foster those feelings every day.

Tonight at work, there were different vibes going on with my lovely friend to whom we were saying goodbye a few nights earlier. She came into work flustered and not in good spirits, with a lot to get off her chest as her last few days in New York were winding down. Like the incredible team that we are, the five of us who were also working geared up to support her as best we could.

She had sung this song to us during our pow wow on Monday and I was totally taken aback by how beautiful her voice and delivery were. I figured this was a fitting choice for today, not only to honor her, but to send the beauty of the song back her way. Music can be a way to show support to someone without having to say a word, or come up with the right words to say. The message is already built into a song or melody, and using music can sometimes be a more personal way of showing someone you’re there for them.

℗ 2014 4AD


“When We’re Fire”

I had described my mind as “cloudy” earlier in the day, but couldn’t really put a finger on why I was feeling that way. The cloudiness is either going to be one of those things that passes or that intensifies right before my eyes. It’s too soon to tell.

Today’s music choice didn’t really pull me in all that much. Frankly, no song really did, but there’s a soothing energy that I get from this song. Rather than leave a day blank, I picked this one because it soothed my tired, headache-riddled mind after a late night. Between Lo-Fang’s voice, and the cloudy-sounding music in the background, this song found my parallel for today.

℗ 2015 Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC


“Half the World Away”

Though not included much in my song write-ups, there were some things brewing here and there as the days went on this week. They were brushed to the side, simply because they weren’t a huge deal at the time. By this morning, it had all caught up with me and I was feeling vulnerable and sort of stuck.

All of that courage and tenacity I had on Monday had fallen by the wayside and made room for frustration, and I didn’t even see it coming. I feel like I should have. Or, at least, I could have.

Self-awareness is such an important skill to keep in your arsenal. Although it takes practice, it can really have a significant and positive impact on how each of us carry ourselves throughout day-to-day life. I had my little moments during the week and thought I’d handled them, but probably should’ve geared myself up with a little extra self-care so as to avoid something more major taking place.

Here’s an important reminder to me and everyone else: We are always learning, improving, growing, and given opportunities to do better. We are not perfect. We can learn better ways of doing things by taking in our experiences, reflecting back on them and choosing our paths moving forward. It takes time and effort, but it can be done.

I try to keep these thoughts in my back pocket for easy access on a day to day basis.

I chose this song today for several reasons, the first being that it helped quiet my mind— there was a lot running through it this morning to say the least. I was really looking for a message from my music today, and this one fit the bill. It’s a song that has very personal meaning to me and really touches on just how vulnerable I was feeling. It soothed me, and the lyrics reminded me that life has a lot to offer, including opportunities to be our best selves.

There’s a line that stuck with me and helped me carry on today that I’ll leave with you here: “I’ve been lost, I’ve been found, but I don’t feel down, I don’t feel down.”

Keep your chin up, friends.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Developing a strong sense of self-awareness is something I constantly encourage my clients at work to do. It may be one of the most important skills to hone in order to better handle situations, manage emotions, and cope with unsettling things that come your way. You are at the core of everything you do, and understanding yourself needs to be a priority.

What’s becoming more and more interesting to me is looking back on these playlists and noticing certain transitions that go on from Monday to Friday. Writing this blog gives me an increased self-awareness of not only how I’m feeling, but also of how things progress during one week’s time.

Stand-Out Song: “Don’t Kill My Vibe”

I'm in better spirits than I was this morning, so I’m revisiting this song to bring the week full circle and remind myself that nothing should be strong enough to kill my vibe. Things will happen, and things will pass. In the meantime, we can keep moving forward.

What do you listen to when you’re needing a boost of confidence?
Share your comments at the bottom of the page.

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