This is a list of some of the activities I’ve been enjoying solo, and the music I’ve been playing on repeat to keep my spirits high and my mood-swings low.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve become so much more of a recluse during this lockdown. I don’t want to speak to friends, family, colleagues, even my dog. The novelty of Zoom gatherings and quizzes has royally worn off and I’m over it. I just want to be alone. If you’re feeling like that too, that’s OK. If you’re like me, and just want to take Lockdown 3.0 as a bit of you time, go you!
There are a few solitary activities I’ve been enjoying this time around, with yoga, cooking, pamper sessions and watching musicals being just a few. If you’d have told me last year that I’d be spending my evenings with a facemask on, listening to The Greatest Showman doing the Downward Dog, I would have laughed in your face. That sentence is just not me. Or should I say, wasn’t me!
Let’s start with yoga. I used to admire my friends who would obsess over yoga and who would book classes and watch Youtube demonstrations. This was never for me. I used to prefer high-energy activities, where I could listen to pop-punk music. HOWEVER NOT ANYMORE! I am obsessed with yoga ‘flows’ and have started doing them before work. It honestly gets me in a good frame of mind before working, stretches out my incredibly stiff limbs and generally makes me feel amazing.
Some of the relaxing tunes I like to play during my 15-20 minute solo yoga sessions include:
Misplaced – Riley Pearce (I reviewed this song for Neon Music a few years ago and have loved it ever since)
Girl – Jamie XX
Redbone – Childish Gambino
New France – Orbital ft Zola Jesus (some of you may recognise this from the Made In Chelsea credits)
Too Little – Tora
All of these songs mix soft-mellow vocals with the most relaxing acoustic guitars and beautifully crafted electronic rhythms that calm and relax.
Give them a listen and see if they inspire you to try the Happy Baby pose (look it up).
Next, we have a good old pamper session. Now, I don’t know about you, but since lockdown, I’ve become au natural. I can’t be arsed shaving, washing my hair, plucking my eyebrows or painting my nails. Who cares? The only person I see is my Mum (we live together!). This has all changed very recently. I’m all about social media-free time. Influencers aren’t real and celebs don’t live the lives of us 9-5’ers but, I’ve decided, this time around, I’m going to take care of myself. I run big, giant, bubble baths filled with salts and oils. I shave my legs. I paint my nails. Even my toes. Normally I get painfully bored with such girlie-rituals. But I’ve made a power-down playlist on Spotify that includes some beautifully relaxing music. I’d highly recommend:
Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
Oceans – Seafret (I had the privilege of seeing this band in Liverpool back in 2015 and there was not a dry eye in the house)
Sunday – Foals (a very lovely song, it reminds me that we’ll be seeing our friends again very soon)
Taro – Alt J
Julia – Jungle (also had the privilege of seeing this 9 strong band perform in Liverpool. They were unreal!)
Most of these artists I have seen live and can honestly say, they were all fantastic. If you haven’t heard of them, go and give them a listen.
If any of my old flatmates are reading this, they will cry with laughter at what I’m about to say. I’ve started to cook. Not just making fajitas and thinking I’m Gordon Ramsey but actually cooking. Inspired by Veganuary, I started using the BBC Good Food app (I would highly recommend), to inspire some new recipes. Since discovering my culinary genius, I’ve made chickpea curries, sweet potato burgers and Mexican veggie hashes. This may not sound like much, but this is coming from a girl who only used to eat oven-baked chicken breast covered in pepper with some lettuce. I. Hated. Cooking. What’s helped me in the kitchen is, of course, music! There’s no better time to listen to some upbeat tunes than in the kitchen cooking up a storm. My absolute favourites are dominated by Queens of pop:
Lift Off – Kanye West, JAY-Z and Beyonce
Get Me Bodied – Beyonce
Rules – Doja Cat
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
Survivor – Destiny’s Child
Pop on these power-house tracks and you’ll be feeling like a pop-star singing into your spatula. I love some guilt-free pop anthems!
Last but not least is my sudden obsession with musicals! OK don’t hate me, I’m not talking about the classical musicals like Rent or Les Mis, I’m talking more along the lines of Moulin Rouge, Burlesque (which has just been put on Netflix, get on that if you want to see Christina Aguilera and Cher do their thinnnngg!), The Greatest Showman, and one of my favourite Disney films, Mulan. They are the definition of escapism and feel-good films with shameless soundtracks that make you want to cry, laugh and feel inspired. My all-time favourite tracks from each of these films include:
The Greatest Show – The Greatest Showman (this track is also on my running playlist because it’s such a powerful song)
Lady Marmalade – Moulin Rouge (how can you not love this song… I have no words to describe its brilliance)
I’ll Make a Man out of You – Mulan
I hope this has given you a few suggestions for how you can spice up your home-life with some great music. And just remember, you may feel like you’re on your own at the moment, but as Zac Efron once sang, “we are all in this together“.
Listen to Lauren’s Lockdown 3.0 playlist.