A Stress-Less Holiday Playlist by Women in the Arts

December 23rd 2016


Has 2016 still got you in your feelings?

We asked all of this year’s Agenda collaborators and contributors to give us one self-care tip, along with one song that makes them feel better. Treat yourself and bliss out to the most incoherent playlist of the year, care of Women in the Arts. (Yep, two of us picked the same song.)



FBi Arts & Culture Executive Producer, and Sydney’s most enthusiastic dancer

Tell your friends how much you appreciate them! This is less a tip for self care and more just something we need more of. Everyday tell the people you appreciate in your life that you love them.

My song request is Good As Hell by Lizzo. It’s triumphant at any time of the day and a great one to move your body to.



Designer and illustrator

I keep a notebook, which I’ve titled “What Worked Today”. When things aren’t going ace, I find 3 positives from my day to scribble down. Could be anything from “I got a new job” to “The grumpy corner-shop lady smiled at me!”

Lately I’ve been blasting this self-love power anthem: ‘Good As Hell’ by Lizzo. (It’s great for a boogie, and the music video is a total bonus!)



Director & co-founder, Women in the Arts

My mum reckons you can treat most skin things with lemon rind. Also, stop ignoring your mum’s advice.

Moon Holiday’s remix of Rainbow Chan – ‘Fool’s Gold’.



City of Sydney Councillor, curator, policy thinker, festival director and media producer
  • Take weekends. It took me until well into my thirties before I started doing this. No matter how much you love what you do, you need to carve out time to take care of life and yourself.


  • AFDs. Openings and events and conferences and the rest, they can all run into each other. I realised at one point this year I was down to maybe one alcohol free day a week. So now I document my AFDs (especially important at this time of year) and try to have more off days than on (still a work in progress).


  • Go to bed, Jessica. Another cliche that is true. I used to be a total night owl and never went to bed before midnight, thinking I was winning one over on the world by squeezing in all those extra hours, not realising how much harder it made everything. I now try (and usually fail) to be in bed by 11 and once I’m in I remember how much I love it.


  • Be single. Ok ok ok, I’m not 100% serious. But i am about 10 – 20% serious. I get so much more done and have more time for myself (massages! Spending hours in galleries! Never compromising on dinner! Or anything!) since becoming single. It only sucks when you’re sick or don’t want to do the washing. And because of society. But taking care of number #1 has never been easier.

Track choice: ‘Pink + White’ by Frank Ocean is my everything/version of a hymn right now.



Director and co-founder, Women in the Arts

I try to make my bed as often as possible. Sometimes I forget that I’ve done it, and it’s such a nice little surprise at the end of a stressful day! I get a made bed, AND I get to thank myself for it!

‘Christa’ by Totally Mild makes me feel like everything is a-okay.



Curator, Kaldor Public Art Projects

Trust your gut.

My current power song: Angel Olsen, ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’.


Artist and Curator

Learn to say no, and to be OK with saying that to people. Your time is just as valuable as anybody else’s so don’t let people think you owe them anything, keep time to chill and regroup!

‘This Must Be The Place’ by Talking Heads is my all time favourite track that never ceases to make me happy!



I’m a big advocate of solitude as a form of self care, because I think it’s healthy to give yourself the time to observe your own thought processes. The next hot summer’s day, ignore your social media feed featuring beach selfies. Stay indoors, shut your blinds, lay in bed, and watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition) on repeat. When you get to a point where Frodo’s journey reduces you to tears, then you’ve reached a new level of self knowing.

My inspirational song is Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, ‘Dancing in the Street’. ‘Cause even when we dance collectively, ultimately we are dancing with ourselves, by ourselves.



Independent curator

I find approaching everything with a sense of humour and a grain of salt – Google ‘dogs wearing stockings’ for a good time!




Freelance arts writer and Creative Strategy Manager at Australian Design Centre

I think most people work in the arts because on one level or another, it reflects how you understand the world – or want the world to be. And so there’s a huge philosophical, intellectual, emotional, passionate investment in doing what you do. Which let’s be honest, can be exhausting!

So my self-care tends to involve getting out of my head. This usually means making things with my hands – I make jewellery – or swimming. There’s not much that can’t be fixed by submerging yourself in water and focusing only on your next breath.

‘Millionaire’ by Digital Farm Animals is cheesy but relentlessly upbeat. And the irony of the “I feel like a millionaire” refrain never fails to make me laugh as I walk to work.


Actress and radio presenter

Snuggles with my fat doggo, Dexter! And surrounding myself with family and my best mates. They’re always there for a laugh, which is so important. They all work in the arts as well, so understand the highs and lows of what we we do and being an artist.

I love strong, smart, and feisty women, and Chrissy Amphlett embodies all these things! This is a classic self-loving song that I think a lot of woman can relate to. Also my go to karaoke song! A great shower song… works best with lots of steam! ‘I Touch Myself’ by the Divinyls.



Co-creator of The Ladies Network

To look after myself I try and force myself to go to yoga, even if I don’t want to (which is always), because not only to I feel good after, but I feel proud that I’ve respected my body enough to do something healthy. I also like to lotion everywhere. I have a separate lotion for my feet, hands, body, face, eyes and cuticles, and I convince myself they so all different things.

Watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer is really good for my mental health, because I honestly feel like I can relate to her and the whole Scooby Gang in different ways. Also, staying off social media is a good idea when I’m feeling anxious. Calling my mum is another way for me to relax and put things in perspective.

‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ by Christina Aguilera, because it’s the best feminist song ever.




Mix epsom salts with coconut oil and lavender oil until it’s a paste. Stand in the cold shower stall and grab handfuls of the mixture and scrub it all over your skin. Imagine scrubbing away every single act of violence thrown towards your body. Thank your body for surviving and enduring it all. Imagine the body purified and surrounded by the gentlest light. Rinse off with warm water and imagine all the people that love you and are so blessed by your existence.

‘Undo’ by Björk helps me be kind to myself.



Editor in Chief, Museum Magazine

One thing that calms me when stressed is going to St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on a weekday, when there are no services on. I’m no longer religious—I’m an atheist actually—but it’s so quiet and lofty and constant, and in its showy, stained-glass way, very beautiful. I quietly walk the perimeter, and then I sit in a pew alone and take deep breaths in and out.

‘Born Slippy (Nuxx)’ by Underworld is sad and celebratory – it’s whatever you want really – but it’s good to wake up to and even better to walk somewhere purposefully to, even with the long drum part in the middle. I’ve had days where I’ve listened to it about 15 times straight as I pull myself out of a mood. It also reminds me of the UK, which is a place I think of mostly with fondness. Music associated with travel or with a time in your life you perceived yourself as an ‘ideal’ is helpful to return to. It reminds you it’s not impossible to go back there again.




Back yourself.  No one else will do this as well as you do.

My favourite song and music video that is inspiring me at the moment is Shabazz Palaces – ‘Black Up’ [OFFICIAL ALBUM SHORT FILM]. It is a mix of all their songs from their album and I adore the clip.


Visual artist and illustrator
I think the most important thing I have learnt as a freelancer is that you NEED to make time in the week to do something for yourself and to not show anyone you are doing it. Pick up a hobby that isn’t creative and is purely just for escapism and to destress. Whether it’s video games or collecting something silly. I found I am happier during the week when I have spent a day not thinking about my work.

I am always more motivated and energised after listening to ‘My World’ by Code Orange. They’re one of my favourite bands because they’re a hardcore band but they have metal and industrial elements mixed in there so it’s really unique. The band members are all in their early-mid 20’s but have been playing together since they were in high school.


Visual artist and multidisciplinary designer

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I dance. I know that it’s the ultimate companion to self-preservation, sanity and happiness. I dance hard, almost to the point of revelation. In a post-truth world, dancing is the only thing worth believing in… So!

In that case, my track naturally has to be ‘Move Your Body (The House-Music Anthem)’ by Marshall Jefferson.


Artist, dancer and performance maker

Remember, always Hydralyte – especially before going to bed after a boozy art opening. Morning after works a treat too.




Eat avocados and mangoes whole, with your bare hands. Don’t wear shoes. Be a brat do whatever you want.



Artist and designer

Keep the mozzies at bay this summer as local mob have for tens of thousands of years – use lemon tea tree or lemon eucalyptus oil on your pulse points 🙂

Tracy Chapman – ‘Talkin’ Bout a Revolution’. I’m not sure if it makes me feel better but it makes me look for strength in the deepest parts of me 🙂



Artist, professional dancer/dancemaker, writer and activist

My self care tip is to: make your bed with fresh crispy/silky sheets and sleep in it solo/deeply. If there is a good scented aroma happening by way of candle/leftover bath bomb/oil burner this is a plus.

Sade – ‘Love Is Stronger Than Pride’




No grant and definitely no MAN is worth compromising your 8 hours of sleep at night!!!






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