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Self Care: Making Spotify Playlists Edition

Not to expose myself, but my crazy Friday nights tend to consist of eating lots of snacks and making Spotify playlists.  I downloaded Spotify for the first time in high school and have been obsessed and attached ever since.  Over the past many years, I have essentially been able to chronicle my life, experiences and growth through music.  I can look back on a playlist and remember where I was when I made it, what artists were my favorite at the time, and see, in general, how much my music taste has changed over the years (thank god).  You know that feeling of listening to a song and being slapped in the face with nostalgia? Yeah, playlists are basically that but on a WAY bigger and better scale.  I know, I know, this sounds dramatic and most likely it is, but music truly can say so much about where you were in life and bring back so many memories.  I am now nearing 22 and can literally listen to the exact playlist I was fangirling over at 15 or 16 years old… HOW CRAZY IS THAT.  But melodramatic, existential life questions aside, making Spotify playlists has changed my life in so many ways and is something that is so near and dear to my heart.  If there is one thing that you pull from this article, I hope it is that making Spotify playlists should be added to your self care routine… and that Spotify is superior, but that is a conversation for another day.


Woman wearing white headphones and dancing
Photo by Bruce Mars from Unsplash


Growing up, I was always an iTunes kid.  I remember getting $10 or $15 iTunes gift cards for Christmas and feeling like I was on top of the world.  $.99 songs to put on my iPod shuffle? HECK YES.  But, like with everything in life, time goes on, technology advances, and things change.  There may or may not have been a period of time between iTunes and Spotify where I was using websites to um… ‘download’ music… but we won’t talk about that.  Then came high school and my personal discovery of the streaming app Spotify, which I have to believe must have been crafted by Jesus Christ himself (yes it is superior to Apple Music).  At first, I honestly had no idea what I was doing, and I was dealing with the free version of Spotify which consisted of unbearably long and frequent ads, so my passion for Spotify was nearly nonexistent.  Then one day, I decided to put my big girl pants on and pay for the premium subscription.  When I tell you this advancement was life-altering, I mean it was absolutely and irrevocably life-altering.  I started out by making monthly playlists that I would just listen to on repeat, over and over and over again.  But, as time went on, I started getting more creative and more passionate about the playlists that I was making and having on my page.  Whether it be a playlist for a certain event, feeling, crush, or just a bunch of songs that I liked at that very specific moment in time, I realized that monthly playlists alone weren’t going to cut it.  Now, years later, I have made nearly 150 playlists and am still going strong.   


airpods and phone on laptop
Photo by Behar Zenuni from Unsplash


Now I know you are probably thinking, really Rachel? 150 playlists? Don’t you have anything better to do?  But, let me explain myself.  For as long as I can remember, music has been everything to me.  Again, I know I sound melodramatic, but it’s 2:00 AM on a Thursday, what do you expect?  Music has been such an integral part of my life and has been an escape, a pick me up, a motivational speaker, a full on breakdown and so much more.  Music just has a way of making you feel a certain way at a certain time, and then remember that feeling for as long as you continue listening to that song, even if it has been years since you have last listened to it.  Making Spotify playlists has really become a manifestation of this passion that I have for music.  I am able to create a diary of music that can help me look back on so many different times in my life, but also have a collection of playlists that are perfect for any and every mood or moment in life.  Feel like ugly crying for a while? I got you.  Feel like screaming and dancing around your apartment on a Monday afternoon? I got you.  Feel like having an existential crisis? I got you. Feel like being the ‘main character’ for a day? I STILL got you.  With making so many different playlists, I can log on to my Spotify knowing that whatever I am feeling or dealing with will be reflected in some way or another in one of my playlists.


With all this in mind, you now also may be thinking, well how the heck do you find so much different music to fill all these playlists?  Allow me to let you in on a couple of my trade secrets.  First tip, CREEP ON PEOPLE.  Literally just look at random people’s profiles and creep through their playlists to find good songs or new artists.  One of those songs is bound to inspire you in one way or another.  Second tip is to use the ‘fans also like’ function that Spotify has.  If there is an artist or band that you are obsessed with, Spotify has a magical tool that will recommend you artists that are similar.  WHAT A REVELATION, AM I RIGHT?  Not only is there the ‘fans also like’, but Spotify also will recommend songs or make you personal playlists based on your streaming history.  Third tip is to just flat out explore.  Look up keywords or key phrases for whatever you are feeling or for whatever playlist you want to make/music you want to find.  With that keyword search, you will get results of songs, artists, albums, and playlists that all fit that in one way or another.  Then, once you get the first couple songs down, just let your creative juices flow and it is smooth sailing from there.


Crowd in a concert
Photo by Kaleb Nimz from Unsplash


I know I have talked a lot about music and the impact it has, but to round off this talk on making Spotify playlists, I want to really hone in on the self care aspect.  Like I have said over and over again, music itself is self care and a true act of therapy.  But, I also will argue with full confidence that the act of making playlists is also a form of self care and an incredibly therapeutic experience.  For the thirty minutes, one hour, or however long it takes me to make a playlist, my brain shuts off and forgets about the craziness of the outside world for a while.  In hard and crazy times, especially like the last eight months, having something to take your mind off what is going on in the world can be a saving grace.  For that certain amount of time, you are focused on the music you are listening to, the artists you are discovering, and the playlist you are building.  Nothing else matters, you just feel grounded and distracted in the best way.  It feels super productive to create something that is important to you, allows you to express yourself, and that you will come back to.  Not to mention, you can share your playlists with other people to show off your awesome music taste, or make collaborative playlists with your friends to share your music discoveries!



I feel like this article has been extremely rambly and all over the place, but I hope to have at least convinced you a little bit to start making playlists on Spotify.  If I didn’t convince you to do that, I hope I at least convinced or motivated you to find something that is equivalent to making playlists for me that will help you escape and distract you from the crazy world we live in, at least for a little while.  To close off this article, I thought what better to do than a little bit of self promo… SO HERE’S MY SPOTIFY (I am giving full permission to creep): https://open.spotify.com/user/rachel_holt

Rachel Holt

Wisconsin '21

Rachel is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison studying Retailing & Consumer Behavior, Communication Arts, Digital Studies and Entrepreneurship. She loves fall, 'snoozles' with her pug, and Harry Potter.
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