Healthy Living

Kacey Musgraves’ New Album Transformed My Wellness Routine

"Deeper Well" can teach us so much about our own wellbeing
written by JOSEY MURRAY
kacey musgraves"
kacey musgraves
Source: Kacey Musgraves
Source: Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves is one of my favorite artists. Her songs effortlessly boost my spirits and settle my thoughts with playful lyrics and golden-hour vibes. The commercial played during the 2024 Grammys to promote her new album screamed everything we love about Kacey, but all grown up: the flowy, embroidered dresses, the horses, lying down in the grass, and riding a horse through a stream in the rain. It encapsulates being grounded in the best way. 

Musgraves’ new album, Deeper Well, is being called a “wellness lifestyle album” because it’s about her own definition of wellness: connecting to nature, finding yourself, and spending time with your people. Her songs may include what some reviewers call “woo-woo” wellness references like jade bracelets, energies, astrology, and bathing in the moonlight, but the album is really about pursuing wellness to become your truest, healthiest, most healed self. Below are the lessons I learned about wellness from Deeper Well that I applied to my own healing journey and self-care routine.

1. Growth sometimes means quitting people or habits that no longer serve you

Self-care isn’t a new idea for Musgraves. Since her song Follow Your Arrow came out in 2013, she’s been singing about enjoying life, setting boundaries, and taking care of yourself first and foremost. But what is different about Deeper Well than previous albums is that Musgraves now knows her needs and acts on them. The title track Deeper Well explores a couple of different ways she has realized her needs and found a deeper sense of well-being in her life: distancing herself from toxic people (“So I’m sayin’ goodbye to the people / that I feel are real good at wasting my time”) and quitting habits that no longer serve her. In her interview with The Cut, she shared that people and habits often get in the way of growth: “Operating from your high self is having the courage to remove resistance to growth, whether that be people or habits or whatever.”

2. You can romanticize your life through gratitude

According to her interview with The Cut, Musgraves wrote the song Dinner With Friends about making space for the things that make her happy. This song based on gratitude (a scientifically-backed well-being-boosting activity) reminds me of the power of romanticizing my own life and finding glimmers in the every day: watching golden hour consume my apartment inch by inch, remembering the unique shade of green of my boyfriend’s eyes, savoring that first sweet sip of strawberry matcha. Recalling these things that I “would miss from the other side” never fails to make me thankful for the life I have. 

3. Part of wellness is not knowing all the answers

Deeper Well also brings a new openness to Musgraves’ questions about life. For example, The Architect has over 20 questions in its lyrics (“This life that we make / is it random or fate?”), and Cardinal is mostly a repetition of the same two questions (“Cardinal / Are you bringing me a message from the other side? / Cardinal / Are you tellin’ me I’m on somebody’s mind?”). Her decision to remain in the question instead of coming to a definitive answer is much more representative of what seeking wellness means—it’s a process.

Musgraves knows that true wellness means not knowing all the answers, and I’m experiencing that for myself. With all of the self-reflection I’ve done to figure out the answers to my “whys,” I’ve realized that finding the answers becomes less and less important. For me, it’s a constant trial and error to align with what perspective works for me and leads me to a more fulfilling existence. Instead of wondering if everything happens for a reason, I now ask, “What if I believed everything happened for a reason?” Questions turn into other questions, and somehow, that process helps me see the world with a wider, clearer lens and, well, find a deeper well to draw from. 

4. Nature is healing

Like Musgraves’ ad during the Grammys, this album is rooted in nature. Musgraves described the album’s vibe as “soft nature cottage witch” (which coincidentally defines my vision board). Nature is the main character of the entire album. Throughout the album, she frequently references birds, tidal waves, flowers, weather, seasons, and trees. For example, in Heart of the Woods, she references the mycorrhizal network or the fungal threads that allow trees and other plants to communicate with each other (“Under the ground, there’s a neighborhood that can’t be seen / communicating through the roots of the trees”).

My takeaway from the nature theme throughout the album is that nature is wellness. We cannot be fully well without a connection to Earth and the natural world around us. The lyrics in Jade Green say, “I wanna bathe in the moonlight / Until I’m fully charged / Come into my power / And heal the broken parts.” My interpretation? Nature is healing, and connecting to nature helps our bodies and minds feel their best. As quoted by NPR, Musgraves said, “Nature is everything. To me, nature is god.”

5. Community care is self-care too

The references to the mycorrhizal network made me reflect on more than just nature. The idea of “a neighborhood that can’t be seen / communicating through the roots of the trees” also made me think of human relationships and interconnectedness. We are all responsible for tending to our relationships and caring for each other. I often spend moments outside under the trees imagining the network under my feet and the many invisible threads that tie me to my family and my dog, and how much the well-being of us all is tied up in those threads. Being aware of this connection alone changes how I show up in the world and helps me see myself and others with a bit more openness and compassion. Heart of the Woods reminds me of those sentiments, of needing to tend to myself, others, and my community, and I cannot think of a better representation of what wellness is really about.