Search

Poetry as Self-Care

Poetry has the power to be there for us through our toughest times.


Engaging with poetry can help us focus on something that is not related to the daily grind or demands of life. It can uplift us, inspire us, make us feel understood, or take us out of the ordinary.


This is why reading and writing poetry can be such a powerful tool in our quest for better self-care.


The ritual of engaging with poetry can be elaborate or as simple as finding a quiet place to read and write. You can read poetry on the bus or sit down with your favorite cup of coffee or tea, light a candle, and immerse yourself in the experience.


We live in a culture that is always on the go, but setting aside time for yourself is an important part of resting and recharging the mind and soul.

Taking care of your mind during these unpredictable times is paramount, and I challenge everyone to explore the world through the eyes of a poet.


In her poem, “11:11” from her collection Through the Soil in my Skin, Los Angeles-based poet, Astrid, shows us how uplifting, inspirational, and motivational the experiences of the poet can be. Throughout her poem, she encourages us to continue on a journey of transformation.


11:11


“Today I choose myself. I will be a healed woman

who smiles in the mirror as a reminder.


My hips will dance to a rhythm of hope. Trust my body

is safe. Believe it is beautiful like a dove released from it’s cage.


I will climb out of bed in the mornings

I am crumbling. Thank myself for a new day.


Celebrate the three steps forward after two steps back,

because there is one step still worth appreciating.


There is a magenta sunset waiting, and this is a sign

to see it. Progress is laughter after the insult, a deep breath


before a meltdown, the fight during a flight response.

I’m a shooting star fluorescent in the sky and when I crash


I will land on Venus, rising beyond Aphrodite dreams.

the indigo child rebirthed from the sea,


flying on the back of a swan’s wings. I will close my eyes.

Feel my hair blowing in the wind.


Cry rivers to cleanse my spirit. The rose within will rise

From ashes to ashes, dust to dust through the soil in my skin


for Earth to see. The oracle in my sun, the gaze in my moon.

from this day forward, I promise to have and hold myself whole.”


In a world with so many demands, it is easy to let self-care fall to the wayside with busy schedules and little time for oneself. However, it can be beneficial to invest time in yourself, even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day.

Like the first line in her poem, we have to start our road to a stronger us with “Today I choose myself.”

Choosing ourselves even for a moment can make all the difference. This means changing how we treat ourselves. That is something we can do immediately. We can have compassion for ourselves and treat ourselves with kindness as we rise to the challenges of life.


Treating ourselves with respect and kindness means also listening to our inner self and giving voice to our emotions. Picking a prompt or writing a poem about our day can be a great place to start.


Astrid reminds us that our journey in healing is not perfect.


“I will climb out of bed in the mornings

I am crumbling. Thank myself for a new day.


Celebrate the three steps forward after two steps back,

because there is one step still worth appreciating.”


In life, we have to show up. Show up for ourselves and for what matters to us.

We have to matter to us. Applied to our writing, perfection is not a prelude to self-discovery and healing.


Leaving it on the page can be therapeutic and can help us find a way to process pain in a non-judgmental space. Presence with our wounds is important and writing helps us give our undivided attention to listening within and treating our emotions and thoughts with consideration.


Committing time to meet our mental, emotional, and physical needs can help us be more positive and present. Self-care has the potential to turn a day around and help us find something to look forward to at the end of the day. Time to reflect is also a vital part of looking into what makes us happy, what troubles us, and what we have the power to change. In times like these where so much is uncertain, this time to ourselves might bring normalcy and ease when there seem to be daily reminders that the world is in crisis.


Take these lines with you and remember your dreams propel you forward and that poetry is the language of dreams.

“I’m a shooting star fluorescent in the sky and when I crash


I will land on Venus, rising beyond Aphrodite dreams.

the indigo child rebirthed from the sea,


flying on the back of a swan’s wings. I will close my eyes.

Feel my hair blowing in the wind.”


63 views0 comments