I just finished, and I have been listening to these tunes on loop all morning and afternoon, and I am feeling immeasurably better! These are songs about finding strength in the face of adversity, hope, resilience, never giving up, etc. I now share them with you in hopes that they will help you get through this pandemic.
I named this playlist after two of the songs on it: Invincible (by Kelly Clarkson) and Overcomer (an absolute BANGER of a Christian song by Mandisa, with an inspiring video; see below). Yes, I have included a few songs by contemporary Christian artists, which I still listen to even though I now consider myself an atheist (or perhaps agnostic); I hope you don’t mind! You can always skip them if it offends you. 😉
On March 16th, 2020, I began working from home for my full-time paying job as a science librarian at the University of Manitoba. A week later, my library colleagues were all sent home to work and the entire campus was shut down during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, December 15th , 2021, a full 640 days after I first started working at home, is officially my first day back on campus, the beginning of what is planned to be my permanent return to the office.
Note that I did come into my office on a few Mondays over the summer and autumn of 2021, but I am now expected to show up in person every day rather than work from home. I am the last of the librarians in my library to return to full-time work in the office; our returns have been staggered over the past few months. I asked to be the last librarian to return, because I have several underlying health conditions (obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and asthma) that put me at risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if I were to become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
I will be receiving my third booster COVID vaccination at my local pharmacy next Monday, and this science librarian is profoundly grateful for the researchers whose pioneering work on mRNA vaccine technology made this possible. TIME magazine has named four of those vaccine scientists as its Heroes of the Year for 2021 (and quite frankly, they should have been named People of the Year instead of Elon Musk!).
So I am feeling particularly anxious. Between the recently-concluded faculty strike (which lasted a full five weeks and broke the record for the longest strike in the history of the University of Manitoba), and this rising new wave of the pandemic, I must confess that I am utterly exhausted. Stretched to the limit. Burned out.
Thankfully, my Christmas holidays start next Monday—the same day I get my third booster shot—and I am looking forward to two weeks of vacation. I still plan to continue my December vacation from blogging, even though all the metaverse news and announcements are coming fast and furious! Now more than ever, there is no shortage of things to write about. But I need to take a break.
Stay safe and stay healthy in these challenging and stressful times!
I wanted to share a short playlist of five songs which I have been listening to, when I feel anxious, upset, and stressed. I know that many of you (including the faculty, staff, and students at my university) are feeling pretty stressed out as well, and I sincerely hope that listening to this uplifting music helps in some small way. Maybe you’ll even find a new song to help you get through the tougher times in your life!
Tell by the way you hang your head The way you cast your eyes and things you haven’t said You’ve gathered past ten years written on your face Your whole damn life’s been one big race Everybody goes there whether they want to or not Everybody starts to hold on to what they got And start to settle in with the long haul Real life baby, oh, you can’t have it all
When you got nothing left to lose Might sound good, but I’m not sure that’s true You carry the pain around and that’s what sees you through The different shades of blue
—Joe Bonamassa, Different Shades of Blue
Depression is a funny thing (not literally, of course; perhaps it would be more accurate to say that depression is a strange thing). It can go away or come back, settle in for the long haul and then lift unexpectedly, at a moment’s notice. I have become accustomed to my moods, sometimes only noticing them when remarked upon by friends, family, and coworkers.
I am often feeling different shades of blue, cranky and exhausted, worn out by twenty months of pandemic and a very busy September at my university. I often find myself lying on the sofa, with the lights turned off, listening to one or another relaxing music livestream on YouTube. I seem to be spending a lot of time on YouTube lately for some reason, rabidly consuming content which seems to fall into four main categories:
Here’s an example of the kind of video I like to put on when I am feeling stressed and depressed, and I need to chill. It’s just a livestream of a tropical beach somewhere, where the waves crashing onto the shore. Sometimes I even leave it on and go to sleep! I find the sound of the waves so soothing.
One livestream video channel, which I find I like to listen to while lying on the sofa in the darkness, is deceptively simple but very soothing: 1920s-1940s oldies music playing muffled (as if it were in another room), with the sound of crickets chirping. Metro reports:
A wave of videos have emerged on YouTube since the pandemic began. Creators are putting together playlists of muffled oldies music (from the 1920s-40s) with sound effects of rain, thunder, and log fires over the top to create the illusion of being inside a cozy room with distant background music…
At a time when things life feels far less certain and predictable, it makes sense that people are turning to comforting sounds to help them unwind or relax while getting on with other tasks.
Creator of YouTube channel Nemo’s Dreamscapes, which currently has over 103k subscribers, says they’ve noticed these kinds of videos have existed for a few years now, but it’s only more recently they’ve become a ‘trend’.
Here’s an example from Nemo’s Dreamscapes:
If you are also feeling different shades of blue, I hope that you can find a bit of serenity with my YouTube picks! I find it also helps to take a firm break from my newsfeed and my social media (I tend to doomscroll the COVID-19 news until I am thoroughly angry, anxious, and demoralized!).
Stay safe and stay healthy!
P.S. Did you know that Ryan’s 15-minute three-cheese lasanga is clinically proven to cure depression? 😉 (Hey, it’s gotta be better for you than ivermectin!) Here’s the recipe. All the fabulous serotonin-boosting lasagna taste, in just fifteen minutes!!!