As March draws to a close, here are some of the songs I’ve been listening to during recovery this month. There is great strength and solidarity to be gained from listening to music, and I’ve tried to include all sorts of genres in the hope that there will be something you might be interested in.
I’ve included YouTube links if they are available, but all the songs below are on Spotify. Happy listening!
You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead of You Baby– IDER (2018):
This song is brilliant if, like me, you are in your early twenties and the future is immediately ahead of you. The lyrics are a perfect reminder that it’s normal to be scared of the unknown, and listening to this song has made me feel a lot less alone in my own post-graduation anxieties.
trying to enjoy myself, love myself,
Who the fuck is myself?
But they keep telling me
You’ve got your whole life ahead of you, baby
Don’t worry, don’t stress, do your best
What if that doesn’t save me?’
Harmony Hall– Vampire Weekend (2019):
I’ve dubbed Harmony Hall my ‘recovery anthem’ because of the lyric
‘I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die.’
Well, it’s true. Recovering from an eating disorder is not exactly how anyone wants to spend their time. But recovery is important if we want to live a fulfilling, happier life.
I also love how upbeat this song is. If I’m in the library at University and it shuffles onto my Spotify playlist, I struggle to keep myself from singing along aloud.
I Say So – Chloe x Halle (2017):
This song is very optimistic, and a must if you need some positivity and reassurance. The lyrics are simple, but the message is important.
the children of the world
We are the lovers of the earth
And that’s why every little thing, every
little thing gonna be alright.’
Sometimes, you just need something cheery, poppy and uncomplicated to pick you up. If you ask me, I Say So fits the bill here.
Beware of Darkness – George Harrison (1970):
An older song, but timeless. George Harrison issues a warning of the negativity that life can throw your way, telling the listener that there is more to life than suffering.
The lyrics are also beautifully poetic:
‘Beware of sadness
It can hit you
It can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for’
Beware of Darkness is not as upbeat as some of the other songs in this list, but that doesn’t stop me from listening to it on repeat when times get rough. I recommend this song when you need reminding that you deserve more than the low feelings you experience.
Orange Moon– Erykah Badu (2000):
Orange Moon is all about self-love and seeing the beauty and strength in yourself.
an orange moon
I’m brighter than before
Brighter than ever before
I’m an orange moon and I shine so bright’.
Sometimes, we forget our value. But Erykah Badu’s song encourages the listener that goodness stills exists within us.
Last Hope – Paramore (2013):
Last Hope is a wonderful song because the lyrics are, needless to say, full of hope:
just a spark but it’s enough to keep me going
And when it’s dark out and no one’s around it keeps glowing’.
I think this song belongs on recovery playlists because its message is clear: there is always a reason to keep fighting. I’ll admit, I cried the first time listening to this song after I entered recovery. I needed the reminder that I have so much to live for. I have gained so much strength from this song, and, even if you are not a fan of Paramore, I hope the lyrics are still comforting.
Meet Me in the Hallway – Harry Styles (2017):
Okay, this song is about a breakup, and it’s actually quite depressing. But forgive me. I’m a huge Harry Styles fan, so I was going to include something by him.
Besides, this song is kind of relevant to recovery. He sings
‘I gotta get better, gotta get better’
throughout the song. Getting better is important!
Long Promised Road – Beach Boys (1971):
Long Promised Road is a great song about fighting on.
‘…But I hit hard at the battle that’s confronting me’.
This song imagines adversity as a physical battle that we have to face. I love this, because sometimes recovery leaves us tired and weary. As hard as the mental struggles with my depression, anxiety and eating disorder are, they also leave my body exhausted, often barely able to get out of bed. However, Long Promised Road encourages us to find strength from within and persevere.
breathin – Ariana Grande (2018):
Last, but not least, breathin is all about Ariana Grande’s own experiences with anxiety. It is a fine example of how music can be a powerful expression of an artist’s struggles.
goes by and I can’t control my mind
Don’t know what else to try, but you tell me every time
Just keep breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’’.
What I admire about Grande is how she has opened up about her mental health, completely breaking what many people unfortunately view as a taboo discussion. By writing about her anxiety, she also provides her fans with practical help. Many can find comfort in the lyrics of breathin, which reminds listeners that life gets hard, but we still have to push on and, of course, keep breathing.