If you’ve got stuck in a rut during lockdown, there haven’t been many ways to change your mood. P.G.P. (pre-global-pandemic), a bad day at work could be off-set by an evening putting the world to rights with a friend at the pub. But over the last year, there have been no parties or holidays to look forward to, no libraries or gyms, no stumbling over new delis, no walks along unknown streets. The mood-altering experiences available have been reduced to going the other way around the park, varying snacks (chocolate, pretzels, chocolate pretzels), drinking wine, experimenting with caffeine and CBD oil, and trying out new recipes and Netflix series.

Amber Midland / Photo credit: Jessica Lambert

Amber Midland / Photo credit: Jessica Lambert

Even if you can’t mix up what happens in your day, you can change what you’re listening to. Music is one of the only instant dopamine-rousing, cortisol-burning chemically effective ways to fend off the blues without a downside – no chemicals, calories, units, or financial cost. And after all, who hasn’t imagined their life with a sound-track?

Here’s how to choose yours:

If you want to be energised:

Thank God (Rilès), Heaven (Emily Sandé), 9 TO 5 (Dolly Parton)

Is there such a thing as too much Dolly? Best listened to first thing in the morning or during the after-lunch slump, with several cups of black coffee, and a world-weary attitude.

If you want to celebrate:

Litty Bitty Pretty One (Franky Lymon & The Teenagers), Mambo Italiano (Rosemary Clooney), I Like it (Cardi B)

Indoor bunting only brings so much joy. Best paired with a dance partner, either tipsy or forgiving, or a floor-to-ceiling mirror.

If you want to feel sexy:

If but they’re just so comfortable has become your tagline and a duvet-dress seems like a great idea, try Addicted to Love (Florence + The Machine), Hunger of the Pine/ Something Good (Alt J), Billie Eilish (Bad Guy)

If you have rage:

If your muttering-while-walking routine is beginning to alarm people, try catharsis instead. Consider pummelling a pillow or shadow-boxing (lights off and a lamp works) to HUMBLE (Kendrick Lamar), Sugar Honey Iced Tea (Princess Nokia), Deceptacon (Le Tigre)

If you want to relax and you’ve found yourself Googling Can you overdose on Rescue Remedy, but you refuse to listen to ‘chill-out’ playlists try Venus As a Boy (Bjork) or Drinking Song (Hayley Heynderickx) or kick back with No Scrubs (TLC)

If you just need to cry, cry, cry:

Best listened to in the dark. Try 9 Crimes (Damien Rice). This will work best if you were a girl in the 90s. Also, Into My Arms (Nick Cave), No surprises (Radiohead)

If you’re done crying:

Good as Hell (Lizzo), Supercut (Lorde), Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles)

Check out Amber Medland's new book Wild Pets out now.

Wild Pets, by Amber Medland
Wild Pets, by Amber Medland

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