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Music is My Medicine, #UNLITTERYOURMIND

By Carolina Joy

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine, feeling stuck or stressed about different tasks or responsibilities, and one of the best ways to take care of yourself is by being mindful of your needs. I know that I experience these moments now and then, and my go-to way to #UNLITTERMymind is with music.

We have a multitude of ways to show our inner selves, whether it’s through making art, wearing different styles of clothing, body art, hair dye, or music. This self-expression is often one of the best ways to disrupt boring routines or relieve stress. My favorite way to channel my thoughts and emotions is through music, and I often use it as a way to find and focus on the small things throughout my days. Even if it's only for a few minutes during your day, taking time to #UNLITTERMyMind not only helps with my productivity but also with finding a pocket of peace where I can focus on myself and my feelings.

I was first exposed to the #UNLITTER movement at a trash clean-up in Gainesville. I was struck by how passionate the #UNLITTER community was in the area, and now I’m lucky enough to be a part of the team as an executive officer at the University of Florida. The #UNLITTER movement realizes ​​that “when your mind is littered, it's tough for positivity & inspiration to flourish.” Just like invasive species can prevent balance within an ecosystem, so too can our routines and minds be disrupted by stress. That’s why I make sure to facilitate productive work and positive relationships through music and living in the moment, both with my team and also within my community.

I truly love integrating music into different aspects of my life. Sometimes, I gravitate toward songs that resonate with my emotions and serve as a reflection of how I feel. Other times, I choose to listen to music to help me navigate through a specific state of mind, or for the simple enjoyment of having a lively soundtrack to my day. For instance, while cooking, why not play songs that make me want to dance around the kitchen? And when I'm driving or cleaning my room, or even when I'm feeling overwhelmed by stress or sadness, I often turn to music as a therapeutic and rhythmic companion, allowing myself to fully embrace those emotions and granting myself a well-deserved break.

To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than a great movie with a soundtrack that elevates it even further. That’s why I cultivate different playlists for myself to match certain situations. Below (in no particular order), you can find a handful of some of the songs I enjoy listening to and the occasions in which I do so.

girl sitting in a car looking out the window with the sun shining through her hair
This photo feels like Electric Love (BØRNS). Matches the Windows down, late-night summer drives vibe. Taken of me at the Bottle Cap Mural Photoshoot.

Windows down, late-night summer drives:

Sex on Fire (Kings of Leon), The Spins (Mac Miller), Tongue-tied (Grouplove), Summer (Calvin Harris), Paradise (George Ezra), The Nights (Avicii), Doses and Mimosas (Cherub), 8TEEN (Khalid), No Control (One Direction).

photo in ireland of clifs of moor
You Can Close Your Eyes (James Taylor). This photo reminds me of leaning into my feelings. I find that true fresh air brings me a certain type of peace (I took this picture at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland).

Embracing your emotions:

Hasta la raíz (Natalia Lafourcade), San Luis (Gregory Alan Isakov), Fire (Gary Clark), Places We Won’t Walk (Bruno Major), Slow Dancing in a Burning Room (John Mayer), Julia (Jeremy Zucker), The Luckiest (Ben Folds), April Come She Will (Simon & Garfunkel), Jealous (Labrinth).

two friends sitting in a car taking a selfie with the rear view mirror
Monkey Wrench (Foo Fighters). This photo reminds me of feeling momentarily fed up for two reasons (1) I had just worked out and I listen to that kind of music during my workouts, and (2) we were stuck in traffic at the time. I took this in the car with one of my best friends.

Cathartic Restarts:

Metalingus (Alter Bridge), Lone Star (The Front Bottoms), Becoming (Volbeat), Still Waiting (Sum 41), Hayloft (Mother Mother), Crazy Bitch (Buckcherry), The Diary of Jane (Breaking Benjamin), Self Esteem (The Offspring), Dull Knives (Imagine Dragons).

fall leaves in boston in a park
Carolina in My Mind (James Taylor). Matches the Sunday Morning Vibe. I took this in my home city! Boston in the Fall :)

Sunday Morning Vibing:

Banana Pancakes (Jack Johnson), Cry to Me (Solomon Burke), Father Figure (George Michael), Easy (Commodores), New Slang (The Shins), Pink Moon (Nick Drake), Santeria (Sublime), Killing Me Softly with His Song (The Fugees), Beyond (Leon Bridges).

photo of a buildling that is made of brick at the university of florida
This photo captures the vibes of a Productive Study Sesh. Now We Are Free (Hans Zimmer). I took this on the Plaza of the Americas in the center of UF’s campus, a favorite study spot of mine.

Productive Study Sesh:

Vision (Paolo Buonvino), Bloom (The Paper Kites), Night, Pt. 1: Snow (George Winston), Pensiero notturno (Fabrizio Paterlini), Once Upon a Time… Storybook Love (Mark Knopfler), I Wish I Had A Hundred Years (Fernando Velázquez), Yesteryear (Thad Fiscella), Anyway (Noah Kahan), Photos of the Sun (Lennox Lorenzo).

Life can be overwhelming, but sometimes moments are so great you want to keep the energy going, whatever your end goal may be, it’s always beneficial to #UNLITTERYourMind and allow yourself to be in the moment. Whether you're listening to music, doing yoga, spending time with friends and family, taking a nap, soaking in your natural surroundings, or just catching some sun, make sure to take some time for yourself. #UNLITTERYourMind.

the #UNLITTER logo - simple with a circle around the word "#UNLITTER"

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