When the world becomes too much to handle, a break can be best – before diving back into the hard work, that is. We’ve compiled some songs to help you recharge. (Credit: Raw Pixel)

I’ll be honest: I’m not sure how any of us are keeping up at the moment. With anything.

Amid the hectic swirl of our lives – and, with a following that’s mostly women, that likely means more childcare, chores and other forms of unpaid labor for you, dear reader – we’re also grappling with what feels like an unprecedented number of horrific national and global events. 

A burgeoning war with death tolls already in the thousands, and atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians – innocent children – that will live on in infamy; an ongoing pandemic that continues to claim scores of lives; upticks in hate crimes against members of numerous marginalized groups; economic crises that are putting everyday people’s wellbeing peril; natural disasters that repeatedly remind us of our rapidly worsening climate-change situation.

The world is … a lot, in short.

We agree that it’s important to keep on top of what’s happening – especially those of us who enjoy relative comfort and privilege in this world despite its ills. But burnout comes for everyone, be it physically or emotionally. And sometimes, you just need to take a damn breath.

So, we invite you to hit “pause” by pressing “play” on the following six soft songs. Let these soothing soundscapes and gentle performances seep into you as you unclench your jaws, relax your shoulders – and breathe deep in the knowledge that, while things aren’t okay now, they can be one day. As long as we’re strong enough to fight for that in whatever ways we can.


“Little Blue” – Jacob Collier (ft. Brandi Carlile)

Lilting vocals from both Collier and Carlile soar above a magical musical ocean of sound on this track. … Okay, perhaps that sounds a bit flowery (read: ridiculous), as song descriptions go. But if you close your eyes and listen to this sweet tune about finding guidance, strength and comfort in our self-made communities, you’ll find it hard to take issue with it.


“Cannock Chase” – Labi Siffre

This British songwriter and poet has been speaking his mind for as long as he’s been sharing his music – so, for several decades. But the message of this 1972 track is as relevant today as it was then: The world can be tough, and cruel, but if we take a moment to step back and reconnect with nature, and our inner selves, we can better face those problems head-on.


“Sunrise” – Norah Jones

Jones, the daughter of Bengali musician Ravi Shankar, has the sort of smooth, soulful style that instantly puts listeners at ease. Choruses of dancing “oohs” are wedged between contemplative verses that ruminate on the joy and pleasure of sharing one’s days with a special person standing – or lying – by their side.


“Los Paisajes” – Soledad

The Argentinian folk singer released this song as part of her 2023 album. The lyrics employ vivid imagery to convey the toll that loss, pain and confusion can take on people – and to reiterate that the most powerful forces to help us out of troubled times are hope and love. The song’s protagonist has not reached the promised land, but they believe that day will come.


“Take Care New York” – Dan Mills

A fairly on-the-nose addition to this list, this song dives into one’s need to step back from their hectic life to recharge – lest the demands of New York City wear one down to nothing. Mills’ gently plaintive performance perfectly encapsulates both the exhaustion of the daily grind, and the hope of finding solace and renewal in the act of stepping away for a time.


“How Deep is Your Love?” – The Bird and The Bee

A light yet almost haunting cover of a classic Bee Gees tune, this track comes at the titular question from a softer place than its source material. The mix of whisper-quiet vocals and an ethereal background padding do nothing to undercut the song’s urgency, though. (Also, most listeners can probably relate to the chorus’ lament about “living in a world of fools” at present.)