The past few years, I have been living about 6 hours away from my family while I have been going to school. Every holiday, I drive those 6 hours to see them—and sometimes I even make the trip for just a weekend, if I’m feeling a little low.
I used to dread the trip—actual dread would fill my heart, soul and body, and I would have to drag myself into the car. I just hated being by myself for so long, with no one to talk to unless they were on the phone (and who wants to be on the phone that long, anyway?). I would spend the time either talking to myself, which can be very therapeutic… but for 6 whole hours? No thanks. Or I would just sit in silence, watching the scenic views that East Tennessee has to offer pass me by. (Side note: in addition to fall being my favorite weather-season, it is also my favorite travel-season. In East Tennessee, the rolling hills and tree-scattered mountains make it an absolute dream to drive through.)
In the past few months, however, whenever I have had to make that trip by myself (which is less often now that I am married. Husbands are good for something), I have made a playlist either the night before or the morning of. And while I make the playlist, I assess my general mood. Am I calm and contemplative? Am I hurried and anxious? Am I frustrated? Am I playful? And then I make a playlist to either counteract or to uplift my mood. It takes some time to go through all my songs that my husband so painstakingly downloaded onto my music player. I usually have to set aside an extra 30 minutes or so, so that I can get it done before I am on the road.
And once I am ready, I plug it in and let it play! There is something so amazing about your mood being either changed or reinforced by music. Music is such a powerful tool that we have at our disposal. I don’t understand how it works in us so magically, but I intend to let it be something that I use to help myself when I need it.
There is value in quiet, and there is value in music. Music is not just noise; it is food for the soul. You can either ingest junk food and not help your body grow and flourish in a healthy way, or you can partake in wholesome meals that not only satisfy your needs, but also allow you to function on a higher level—physically and mentally.
So on your next trip, alone or otherwise, prepare a satisfying playlist, and let it help you to help yourself.