If you live with a chronic illness, you struggle with feeling overwhelmed sometimes. I get it, so do I. Lately, I have been thinking of myself as a chronic illness warrior instead of a “sufferer”. My internal talk has changed and become more positive overall. It's all about reframing your perspective.
You see, no matter how we may want to give up or throw in the towel, we live each day with a chronic illness. Just pushing through from one day to the next makes us warriors-maybe not by choice but definitely by our reality.
And since there is nothing like music to lift your spirits, I created a warrior playlist. Listening to these songs when I am down is so powerful in changing my mood for the better. I actually listen to it regularly and I believe it is a proactive move to keep my chin up and mental armor on.
Since the arthritis and chronic back pain I deal with every day prevents me from dancing around the house much, I have found that the “dancing” while driving my minivan can be just as uplifting. And since I have four kiddos and find myself in our minivan quite a lot, listening to my favorite playlists make my taxi service duties lots more fun. Sure, I might be embarrassing my kids, but hey, isn’t that part of what parents are supposed to do—LOL
So here is my warrior playlist, and yes, it does come from a kid's movie. Listen to the lyrics and you'll see it has so much meaning we can apply to our lives. It has taught me a lot about becoming a chronic illness warrior who is not likely to give up or turn down the challenges of my illness.
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One of my kids’ favorite movies is The Trolls. If like me you remember the Trolls toys of yesteryear, I am sure you agree that they were unmistakably ugly and really creepy. I mean they could have easily been the main character in the “Chucky” movies. I am not sure how the toy company thought they would be a success. So, the cute, colorful, and happy Trolls of today are a great remake.
And . . . the Trolls movie soundtrack is the source of my favorite playlist. Of course, the most famous song, Can’t Stop the Feeling is the most popular. But I want to introduce you to some more of the songs whose lyrics you may not have noticed before.
My Warrior Playlist:
“Hair Up”–Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Ron Funches
Truthfully it is not the lyrics of the song that inspire me, it’s the beat. And, also, if you listen carefully you’ll notice that the songs is based on the classical composition by Edvard Grieg, “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” This piece happens to be a favorite of my oldest son and has been used by many artists in pop culture.
“Move Your Feet/D.A.N.C.E./It's a Sunshine Day”-Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Aino Jawo, Caroline Hjelt, Walt Dohrn, Anna Kendrick, Ron Funches and Kunal Nayyar
As people living with a chronic illness, we need to feel united and together in our struggles. We need to draw strength from each other and on days we are feeling so well be encouraged by another who may be experiencing a good day.
- “Everybody, shake your hair and feel united, oh oh oh”
- “Your confidence gives me strength”
- “It ain't hard out here, when you’re doing it right
Put a smile on blast, that's the troll life”
“Get Back Up Again”–Anna Kendrick
This song really reminds me of the roller coaster ride we are on with our chronic illness. Some days are easier than others, and we need to practice not getting totally derailed on the hard days. Having a personal mantra that you repeat to yourself on those tough days can help you immensely
I'm not giving up today
There's nothing getting in my way
And if you knock knock me over
I will get back up again, oh
If something goes a little wrong
Well you can go ahead and bring it on
‘Cause if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again
Whoa oh oh oh oh, get back up again, whoa oh oh oh oh oh”
“I'm Coming Out/Mo' Money Mo' Problems”– Gwen Stefani, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Aino Jawo, Caroline Hjelt, Walt Dohrn, Anna Kendrick, Ron Funches and Kunal Nayyar
This is a short one, but powerful. Encouraging us to be the best version of ourselves.
- “Like the sun after rain
Ready to shine no time to be plain”
- “It's time to take a stand and show the world that I'm—-
She's coming out”
“They Don’t Know”–Arianna Grande
Simply lyrics–We know the world doesn’t truly understand us. If only they could walk a day in our shoes, so many of the questions and misconceptions would be corrected. Many of us have illnesses that seem to others to be “invisible.” My husband often tells me that he really wishes he could live in my body for a day. I don’t think anyone could have explained to me how rheumatoid arthritis would make my body feel. I think much like so many other chronic illnesses, it is a sensation that is completely foreign until you experience it firsthand
- “Oh, they don't know, they don't know, they don't know, they don't know about us”
- “So put your hand in my hand. It's you and me, it's us against the world”
“September”– Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick
You can’t help but dance to this one—whether it’s the dance floor, the kitchen, or your car. I love to think about good weather and “never was a cloudy day.” What a wonderful world would that be if we never had cloudy days when our chronic illness manifests its challenges for us. But, we are a community and understand each other in a way that should encourage us and keep us from feeling alone.
- “My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you”
- “The bell was ringing, aha
Our souls were singing
Do you remember
Never was a cloudy day”
“What U Workin’ With?”– Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake
This song is about perspective. It encourages you to reframe it to see what you CAN do instead of what you CAN’T do which can be life changing. It helps you to accept your limitations but not to dwell on them. You still have so much to offer this world, it just may not be in the ways you think it should be.
- “Let’s talk about you
Head down, all blue”
- “Just talking that truth
I truly wouldn’t walk that way
Now we’re talking that truth
This is the moment when everybody’s in the light
So what u working with?”
- “Show me, show me
What u working with?”
“True Colors”–Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick
I love this version of this song. I listened to the Cyndi Lauper version but it just wasn’t the same for me. I feel like my chronic illness has changed so much about me—the way that I walk, my daily routine, the weight I have gained—so it is easy to forget that our “true colors” never change. And that our true colors are beautiful and we should celebrate who we are and find strength in knowing we are not defined by our illness or our limitations.
- “You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged, oh I realize
It's hard to take courage”
- “And I see your true colors
- “So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful”
By the way, I created a special printable for you with this idea in mind!
Hang it in a place you will see it often—your bathroom mirror, your desk, your refrigerator.
Get it FREE here!
“Can’t Stop the Feeling”–Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick
- “I got this feeling inside my bones
It goes electric, wavy when I turn it on
And if you want it, inside your soul
Just open up your heart, let music take control”
- “Cause I got that sunshine in my pocket
Got that good soul in my feet”
This song really sums up the point I am making—that music can uplift you. I mean just use the visual of having “sunshine in your pocket” next time you are feeling down. Really focus your thoughts on how that sunshine can radiate through your body and shine the light in the darkness that we feel we sometimes live in.
• “Hair Up” -Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Ron Funches
• “Move Your Feet/D.A.N.C.E./It's a Sunshine Day” – Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Aino Jawo, Caroline Hjelt, Walt Dohrn, Anna Kendrick, Ron Funches and Kunal Nayyar
• “Get Back Up Again” -Anna Kendrick
• “I'm Coming Out/Mo' Money Mo' Problems” – Gwen Stefani, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Aino Jawo, Caroline Hjelt, Walt Dohrn, Anna Kendrick, Ron Funches and Kunal Nayyar
• “They Don’t Know” Arianna Grande
• “September” – Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick
• “What U Workin’ With?” – Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake
• “True Colors” -Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick
• “Can’t Stop the Feeling” -Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick
So, although this playlist may be from an unlikely source, I hope you find it brings you joy and encouragement. It sure does for me. When my kids hear the first few beats belt out over our minivan speakers, they just sigh and think, “Here mom goes again. I hope she doesn’t start bopping around like crazy in the carpool line.” They may not want to admit it, but they love this playlist too—as well as me, their crazy dancin’ mom.
What are some of your favorite songs for lifting your spirits? Comment below so I can start a new playlist!