The Social Mixtape: Whenever possible, please breathe

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I remember when we all collectively decided 2016 was the year we wished wouldn’t have happened. 

The air felt heavy and there was a collective sense of, ‘Could the ball drop already?’. 

What with a multitude of celebrity deaths and the beginning of a drastically different political era, what could be worse?

Little did we know that four years later, we’d be living through another election season while witnessing the most deaths most of us had ever seen. 

Waking up in March when lockdown started felt like a fever dream to me. And sometimes, even though masking up and constant sanitization are the new norm, this still feels like some bad dream that I should be waking up from but haven’t. 

I think this feeling is quite mutual, but who’s to say? 

Needless to say, I did not have mostly staying indoors and engaging in copious amounts of video conferencing calls on my life bingo card. 

Who did, anyhow? 

Through this socially and emotionally heavy time, it feels as though time has gone by quickly.

One blink and there are many tasks littering my frequently utilized Google Calendar app. 

With another, the month has finished and I am jogging to catch up to the start of the new one. 

I am so accustomed to jogging on residual stamina and only faltering to breathe for just a second.

But in this time, in which the air feels heavy again with all the world’s burdens, it is so important to take as much time as possible to breathe substantial breaths. 

We are accustomed to hearing about self-care and doing something nice for ourselves. But more often than not, life feels too busy to truly drop everything we need to do to do something we want to do. 

Ironically, through working for a mental health startup company since the start of the semester, I have learned a lot about self-care and why it is important. 

As a part of my work, I have gotten to talk with students across the country about mental health and how they take care of themselves. To say that I have learned a lot is an absolute understatement. 

My team and I begin each meeting discussing what we did to practice self-care since we last saw each other and at the end, our supervisor reminds us, in a very kind way, to do self-care.

In a time where we are living in uncertainty and as people are moving onto new chapters, it is nice to hear that self-care is of importance to the process of doing all that we need to accomplish.

Whenever I need to clear my head, nowadays I will turn on a podcast, usually news-related, and shut my eyes for a while. 

But when the world was a little safer, I would jump in my car and drive around for a bit while playing music through Spotify. 

With my phone sitting in my cup holder with the volume cranked up, I was equipped to release whatever was burdening me at the moment.

I was ready to “treat myself,” even if only for 20 minutes at the least. 

One song that has helped me feel peace and joy without fail is “Bloom” by The Paper Kites. 

The song features a beautiful plucking pattern, harmonies, a simple song structure and whistling, all of which bring serenity to my person. 

As a musician, I will admit I have paid attention to the intricacies of the composition from time to time, but overall my listening experience is without a purpose. 

The singer begins by singing, “In the morning when I wake/ And the sun is coming through/ Oh, you fill my lungs with sweetness/ And you fill my head with you.” 

Through the song, the singer is trying to convey affection for the recipient in a, well, very sweet way. 

In the last stanza before two choruses, the singer says, “When the evening pulls the sun down/ And the day is almost through/ Oh, the whole world it is sleeping/ But my world is you.”

Even with just one listen, one can just feel the love and bliss oozing out with each line. 

The warmth and joy within each stanza is infectious. 

All the elements mixed together make me smile with each listen, which I suppose is perhaps what the band wanted with releasing “Bloom.” 

So as we take on the world, whether that be through completing tasks or consuming news, let’s remember to take the time to properly breathe on our jogs.

Let us try to invoke the warming bliss of whatever is our own personal “Bloom.” 

Some warmth in an otherwise chilly world can do some good.

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