Digging Into Self-Care with Poetry

How can you make it a little easier to integrate self-care into your life?

Illustration Courtesy of VectorMine

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
—Brené Brown

There was something that left me feeling a little disenchanted with the kind of writing that I writing lately. It felt aimless. It felt disjointed and it felt like I was just rehashing familiar topics in slightly different ways. That’s precisely why I wanted to try and address self-care a little differently with my poetry.

In a writing workshop with NYT bestseller Rupi Kaur, one of the prompts was to write from the perspective of different body parts. I love to step out of my usual narrative voice and give life to something that usually can’t speak for itself. I decided to expand that idea and write as many different short pieces as I could from the perspective of different parts of the body.

It’s easier to implement self-care into things you already do.

“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.”
—Brian Andreas

Poem by Author

For me, that’s with poetry. I try to write regularly, even if I don’t end up posting all of it.

This is the first of the series. This poem is, unfortunately, pretty grim.

When the prompt came to write about the heart, my first thought was how it’s so incredibly easy to ignore our internal organs.

We do terrible things to our bodies that impact our long term health.

We do it very carelessly and very often, if we don’t pay attention.

I might be one of the few to take “heart” literally rather than figuratively and talk about emotions, but that was the direction my mind went in.

Not all the poems in this series will be so dark, but there’s a reason they start out this way.

“Self-discipline is self-caring.”
—M. Scott Peck

Poem by Author

I’ve almost been denying myself poetry because I feel like I’ve got so many more important, more time-sensitive things to do. I used to be really terrible about taking care of myself. It’s only in the last few years how I realized that I was making everything in life so much worse by not taking care of my body.

These early poems are pretty dark because I feel like a lot of my body parts probably wouldn’t be too thrilled with how I treated them for most of my life. I had to learn to start taking care of my hands truly by force — because writing, drawing, and using computers a lot doesn’t do anything good for your hands if you don’t give them breaks.

I’ve had times when it felt like carpal tunnel was out of control. Even after I started to take a little more care of myself, I still managed to injure my hands earlier this year while in quarantine and spending my entire day pouring over a laptop.

I’m admittedly still in that learning process of taking care of myself, but I am making the attempt.

“It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.”
—Diane Von Furstenberg

Poem by Author

I don’t let my mind or my body rest quite as often as I should, but I’m working toward balancing my life better. I’m trying to take small steps each day to taking care of myself and the people around me who I value the most.

We all have setbacks and slumps, it’s inevitable in life. We also just have times where we feel drained, burnt out, or just generally demotivated.

There isn’t always a clear cause for these times when you feel down. It could be a big setback or it could just be a dozen little things piling up and weighing you down.

Whatever the scenario is, it’s incredibly easy to throw everything you do to improve your life, maintain your health, and take care of yourself right out the window. It’s easy to do and it’s probably what you want to do when you’re in this dark mood, but it’s the last thing you should do.

When you’re low on motivation, it becomes even harder to take care of yourself. Despite that, it’s the most important time for you to show yourself a little self-love.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
—John Lubbock

Writer and poet from Neptune. Instructional designer in NYC. Grad student at @NYUTandon studying Integrated Digital Media.

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