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29 Apr 2020

Recovery College Online service provides free soothing music for lockdown anxiety

If you're looking for a musical pick-me-up during lockdown, this free relaxation music service might be of use

Weeks of lockdown might have you feeling a little anxious or desperate for motivation. If that's the case, the new calming service from Recovery College Online could be for you.

The series, which can be found on Recovery College Online, is a joint piece of work from Northumbria University, Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, the Calm Foundation and music technology company X-System. It offers free music and videos for relaxation and mood-boosting.

This service is usually only made available to patients who have been referred to Recovery College. But with the UK currently in lockdown, it has been opened up this week to anybody who needs a musical treat during these unprecedented times.

Coronavirus advice - the latest news and advice on COVID-19

What is Music for Wellbeing?

On the Recovery College Online website, you have access to a range of playlists aiming to lead you from one state of mind to another.

The playlists on offer include relaxation mixes featuring Adele, Wagner, Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett, along with enlivening sets starring Coldplay, Frank Sinatra and Kylie Minogue.

Users have the option of keeping track of their mood using an online diary to help log their thoughts and feelings in a more structured format.

Angela Kennedy, trauma informed care lead at Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said in a press release: 'Recent medical research has shown that music may have significant effects on the state of our minds and bodies.

'Music can help us change the way we feel by helping to lift our mood or helping us to relax. This resource might be particularly useful for all of us at this time.

'We believe that this new platform for self-care through music could give valuable support to our service users, staff and the general public, particularly while we all need to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By creating a variety of playlists, the platform allows you to choose a particular type or genre of music that you prefer.'

And even if it doesn't work, it's free music streaming whenever you want.

How to listen to Music for Wellbeing playlists

The Music for Wellbeing playlists can be accessed via the Recovery College website on your computer, smartphone or tablet. There are a variety of scenarios to choose from, so you can pick a playlist that has been engineered for your state of mind.

For the best experience, enlist the help of a wireless speaker or a set of headphones to improve the sound quality.

Make the most of your tech during lockdown

If you already have a music streaming service that you enjoy, such as Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, note that each of these services offers tailor-made playlists for every different mood. They may not have academic, medical backing, but if you just need something to help you chill out, there should be something for everybody.

If you have a voice assistant, such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, you can also try some voice commands to put you into a calmer mood. See below for the details.

Relax using Google Assistant

Try these voice commands on your Google Assistant speaker:

  • 'OK, Google, help me relax'Listen to a soothing sound, such as a crackling fire or a stream of water.
  • 'OK, Google, talk to Headspace'Download Headspace on your smartphone and you can use the meditation tool through Google Assistant.
  • 'OK, Google, what other ambient sounds do you know?'Hear other ambient sound options and pick your favourite.

For more on the boredom-busting power of Google Assistant, see our advice on how to make the most of Google Assistant during the lockdown.

Relax using Alexa

Try these voice commands on your Amazon Alexa speaker:

  • 'Alexa, open Headspace'Download Headspace on your smartphone and you can use the meditation tool through Alexa.
  • 'Alexa, open Meditation Timer'Enjoy timed soundscapes 'composed to evoke feelings of calm and relaxation'.
  • 'Alexa, ask the BBC to play Mindful Mix'Enjoy curated playlists from BBC Sounds.

For more on Alexa and its soothing skills, see our advice on how to make the most of Alexa during lockdown.

Talking to family and friends over a video chat could be another way of reducing boredom and stress. See our guide on how to make a video call.