Listen to This: De-stress to a calming playlist for a taxing week

Close your eyes, breathe deeply and enjoy these relaxing tracks.

In times of stress or hardship, music can be a portable safe space that provides an escape from whatever is going on in the world. Music lovers everywhere put on headphones and tune out their surroundings, finding that a relaxing melody can sometimes be the best medicine.

I know I reached for my own library these past few days as saddening news became overwhelming. My own connections to Orlando (I was in the town at the time) and to my many close friends in the LGBTQ community caused this news cycle to be one that made me want to fly into space instead of staying on Earth.

Whether this week has had a similar effect on you or if you’re looking at this piece from a different angle of hardship, here are a few songs that I find healing.

“Animal Crossing: New Leaf - 7 PM (Piano Arrangement)” by Ambassador Foxx

This arrangement of a song from the lovely video game “Animal Crossing: New Leaf” is one of my favorite calm piano pieces. It’s the perfect song to listen to and close your eyes, take deep breaths and imagine you’re by the ocean (or wherever you feel most at peace).

“Heal Over” by KT Tunstall

KT’s record “Eye To The Telescope” is one of my favorite albums of all time, and “Heal Over” is one of my favorite de-stressing songs, with a chorus that says “Let me wipe your tears away … ‘cause you’ll heal over someday.”

“Dancing in the Moonlight (Cover)” by Alt-J

Thin Lizzy’s funky and upbeat love song becomes a relaxed, slow and acoustic-filled piece in this Alt-J cover. The soft and soothing sound of the song is great for falling asleep or just clearing your mind.

“Blue” by Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s vocals have healing properties of their own, but “Blue” is such a wonderful song about her love for her daughter. This song devoted to familial and platonic love says “we gotta hold on,” and sometimes, that’s what you need to hear.

“Première Arabesque” by Claude Debussy

You’ve (hopefully) heard of Debussy’s masterpiece “Clair de Lune,” but “Première Arabesque” is another great work by the famed Impressionist pianist. If you’ve never really gotten into classical music, lovely piano pieces like this one are an approachable and relaxing entrance.

“Everything’s Not Lost” by Coldplay

Not only is this just a great song from one of Coldplay’s most beloved albums, “Parachutes,” it has some of the band’s best lyrics about going through hard patches in life. Put “Fix You” to the side for a bit and listen to Chris Martin tell you “Everything’s Not Lost.”

“The Cascades” by Fleet Foxes

If you prefer your instrumentals strings-style, folk masters Fleet Foxes’ “The Cascades” is a song that does feel like growing rainfall. This song is such a favorite of mine that it has a coveted spot on my top 10 most-played list.

“Angela” by The Lumineers

Almost the entirety of The Lumineers’ discography could be classified as acoustic, healing songs. This piece is one of the more pretty and soft tracks from their new album, “Cleopatra.” (Read my review of the album here.)

“Cosmic Love (Acoustic Version)” by Florence + The Machine

This is my best guess of what angels would like to listen to — Florence Welch’s voice accompanied by harp alone. It’s one of the better Florence + The Machine songs to escape to, along with everyone’s favorite, [“Shake It Out.”]()

“Flower Duet (from Lakmé)” by William Haviland

This is the last piano solo, I promise. A beautiful and relaxing piece like this can take you to the ocean, a quiet museum or an open field when you close your eyes, and that’s what I love about it.

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