Room 217 wants to help you relax during COVID-19

If you’re feeling more stressed and anxious these days — or during the past five months — you’re far from alone. 

Room 217, a Canadian music-based health arts organization, wants to help. The collective is making available a library of music specially designed to help people relax, with tempos matching a resting heart rate. 

The collection, available now for streaming, has been listened to more than 500,000 times since it was launched. 

“Since we’ve been under social isolation rules, there has been all kinds of social chatter about people experiencing sleep disturbances, sadness, anxiety and depression,” says Bev Foster, executive director of the Room 217 Foundation. “Living with these weights on our shoulders, especially as we are socially isolated from the people we love and who support us, is affecting many people’s mental health.” 

Mental Health Research Canada recently noted that the rate of anxiety has quadrupled since the onset of COVID-19 earlier this year. Room 217 Foundation’s release of their library is a non-medical tool to help people find a little peace and relaxation in a very weird time. 

The collection was originally designed as a comfort tool for nursing and care staff, volunteers, hospice and palliative care units, along with long-term care and assisted living homes. 

Each of the four collections contain six full-length, 60-minute albums, designed for continuous play. Some songs have vocals while others are instrumental. 

“Our Music Collections can be used in self-care, too — especially among those suffering forms of insomnia, burnout, compassion fatigue, or increased anxiety and depression,” Foster says. She recommends Gentle Waters for people who have trouble sleeping, or British Invasion or Lotus Blossom. (Some of the songs are described as reimaginations on favourite, well-known songs.) “My favourite for starting the day off is Road Trip and Broadway Melodies, and Bamboo Garden is perfect if you’re trying to focus while working or rest in the afternoon.”

More information on Room 217 is available here; the library can be streamed here or here

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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