Every year around this time, I start to feel like I’m watching the credits roll on my Black girl dramedy season finale. And much like everyone’s favorite awkward protagonist Issa Rae, who is left reflecting on her life at the end of each Insecure episode, I’m often left thinking about the last few months of my own. Summer is fun, sure, but between recklessly running the streets with my friends and drinking until the day is done, I’m not always proud of the decisions I make, but hell—that can be true in any season.

But similar to many of my favorite shows, while the drama cycles in and out, there’s one thing I am always grateful for: The soundtrack. Whether I’m drowning summer sorrows in the bathtub or chasing them with a midday twerk session as I call in new joy, music has always helped me re-stage the scene for whatever comes next. As I work toward returning to my center, there are a few additional things that help me achieve this.

I work from home but travel frequently, often finding myself between New York City and North Carolina. In order to stay grounded, I keep my journal close by, maintain a (kinda) consistent meditation routine, and repeat several positive affirmations throughout my day (my current go-tos are: “You are worthy of happiness today” and “You are capable of making great decisions”). And while I’m not a “sticky notes on the mirror” type of girl ( no shade to those who are), if I can affirm myself while singing in my shower, I consider that a win-win, so I curated a playlist with that exact purpose in mind.

The following tunes are a special selection of songs that realign me with my best self. Songs like “444” by Gayathri Krishnan remind me to breathe and to remain present in the moment, while “Energy” by Tyla Jane allows me to practice self-love and to bop around in my chicest granny panties as I clean my kitchen. I run this playlist from beginning to end, and every time I play it, I recognize that I am intentionally creating space for myself to heal, to grow, and to let go of everything that doesn’t serve me. My hope is that whenever you play this, it offers you the same solace. Scroll down to browse the songs on Spotify, or keep scrolling for the complete track list. Enjoy.

Full playlist:

  1. “444,” by Gayathri Krishnan
  2. “I Like Me,” by ByHaze, Tahj, and Dana From Upstairs
  3. “Grounded,” by Ari Lennox
  4. “Rise,” by KadyRoxz
  5. “Energy,” by Tyla Jane
  6. “I Forgive Myself & I Release,” by Geminelle
  7. “Cycles,” by Inahna
  8. “Sula (Paperback),” by Jamila Woods
  9. “And So It’s So,” by Iman Europe and Kaelin Ellis
  10. “Inspo,” by Bliss Looper
  11. “Go Gina,” by Sza
  12. “Higher,” by Tems
  13. “Shine,” by Cleo Soul
  14. “Higher Self,” by Liyah Dalani and Maijah
  15. “Stone Or Lavender,” by Hiatus Kaiyote
  16. “Let it Go,” by Mallika Vie
  17. “Unplugged,” by Oshun
  18. “It’s Okay,” by Lion Babe and Oshun
  19. “One,” by Cleo Soul
  20. “One of Those Changes Is You,” by Anna Wise and Pink Siifu