A Playlist for the Pandemic

Author: Grace Seamon-Lahiff

Like most people under COVID lockdown, I am rediscovering things about myself that were buried under the stress of work, school and general adulting. One such thing is my love of a stress-induced dance party. 

As a kid, my dad was deployed a lot and when life became too much, my mom would announce that we needed a dance party. Cut to the two of us jumping around the living room while the B52’s blared through the speakers. It was unplanned, unhinged and uncoordinated. It was always fun and it always made us feel better by the end. Breathless and laughing, we were prepared to handle single-mom, single-kid life once again. 

While I have never forgotten those dance parties, I did stop dancing. Even after watching TAPS advisory board member Dr. James Gordon, talk about the importance of movement and reading his book, “Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma,” which specifically prescribes shaking and dancing as a means to relieve stress and anxiety — I maintained a very “Footloose” attitude toward dance.

woman with headset dancingPhoto: Bruce Mars on Unsplash

Then came COVID-19. In quarantine, I couldn’t cover up my feelings with the business of life outside. My work life has moved online, my classes are more relaxed, and my increasing anxiety at being unable to leave my home has begun to put a strain on my mental health. One day, when I was feeling especially trapped, I announced to myself that I needed a dance party. And so, alone in my living room, I danced. It was unplanned, unhinged and uncoordinated. It was fun and it made me feel better. By the end, breathless, laughing, and sore from jumping up and down, I felt prepared to handle life again. Dr. Gordon and my mother were right. 

Pandemic Playlist

Nine weeks into the shelter-in-place order, I am dancing at least once a week. So, from one stressed-out COVID shut-in to all of you out there doing your best to get through the day, here is my pandemic playlist. 

  1. Shake it out - Florence + the Machine
  2. Mess- Noah Kahan
  3. I’m okay - Judah and the Lion
  4. You + the sun - Old Daisy
  5. Boogie Shoes - KC and the Sunshine Band
  6. It’s the end of the world as we know it - R.E.M.
  7. Hundred Days - The Bengsons
  8. Everybody Breaks - Ivan & Alyosha
  9. RAIN - Ben Platt
  10. Can’t stop this feeling - Justin Timberlake
  11. Quarter-life crisis - Judah and the Lion
  12. You make my dreams come true - Hall and Oates
  13. Where do you run - The Score
  14. Happiness - We Banjo 3
  15. Morning comes - Delta Rae 

Grace Seamon-Lahiff is a military brat, a military spouse, and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is currently getting her doctorate at Catholic University and works for TAPS as the manager for Research and Impact Assessment. Prior to coming to TAPS, she served as a mental health clinician for Marine Corps Community Services, providing therapy and creating preventative mental health programs.


Songs of Love and Remembrance

For songs meaningful to TAPS survivors, visit a special playlist on Spotify called “TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance.”

Andy, father of Danny, came up with the idea of collecting the songs that have been submitted to the Saturday Morning Message in an online playlist. Spotify is an online music service. You will have to create an account to access free songs and the TAPS playlist. If you have a song that is special to you, please send the song title and performer, along with a sentence or two about what makes the song meaningful to you, to online@taps.org

Love Lives On Album

This Memorial Day 2020, stories of love and honor will come to life with the release of the music album, Love Lives On. Through heartfelt lyrics co-written by 10 TAPS families, personal stories of their loved ones honor all those who have served and sacrificed. The title track was inspired by Bonnie Carroll’s own story and the phrase she had inscribed on her husband Tom’s headstone. Learn more about the album and ways to hear the songs and share this album on social media.