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Poetry and Self-Care in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus is like a slow hurricane that’s sweeping the nation and the world. In order to stay safe, we must be informed and follow the precautions advised by the scientists, but as we stay current with the news, it’s normal to become stressed by the gravity of COVID-19. Even if we’ve managed to remain calm in the eye of the storm, there are loved ones around us who are struggling either financially, physically, or psychologically. While it’s normal to feel afraid during these turbulent times, it’s counterintuitive to run on fear as fuel. 

 

When faced with the flight or fight response caused by a crisis, the immune system needs to heal itself with nurturing practices. That’s why it’s so important to find time to relax and encourage our family members to do the same. Here are three healthy coping skills and three poems to make you feel strong and resilient, so we can help ourselves and each other. 

 

MEDITATION – YUNG PUEBLO 

Your healing

lifts up 

the ocean 

of existence.


When you heal, 

we all heal.

 

Yung Pueblo’s book Inward offers meditative poetry that helps people deal with many of life’s challenges. His minimalist Instagram page reflects his purpose as a speaker: to help others heal. Pueblo does this by traveling to different cities and speaking about the calming effects of meditation to quiet the chatter in the mind and to observe emotions without judgment. During readings, he also gives insights about mindfulness using his reflective poems. 

 

To heal from the chaos of coronavirus, I recommend using the Headspace app and doing a walking meditation in your backyard or even in your house. Look at the trees, the flowers, the birds, and if it’s nighttime, look up at the stars and sky. Anchor yourself in the present, and take a deep breath. Right now, at this very moment, you are safe. You are okay. And as Pueblo writes: “When you heal, we all heal.” Your calm mind will influence others around you to relax: And even if they don’t, you can be their harbor in the storm. 

 

Bonus Tip: Headspace is offering free meditation exercises that are tailored to cope with coronavirus: This is available for everyone regardless of subscription. And for the amazing and courageous healthcare providers, Headspace is offering an entire year free of its subscription app. All of the meditations and courses on Headspace will be available to them. They deserve that and more. 

 

YOGA – ALLIE MICHELLE 

Fear is like a wildfire that spreads, and peace and calm is the extinguisher that puts it out. To reach this state of mind, I recommend starting or continuing your yoga practice. I have been practicing kundalini and hatha yoga for around 12 years, but I will confess that I’m not consistent in my practice. Now with COVID-19, it’s even more crucial to get back to all the restorative poses and mantras that are designed to heal the body and mind. 

 

If you’re looking for inspiration to start a practice, you can check out Allie Michelle’s Instagram page which has pictures of many yoga poses. After you’ve stretched and relaxed in savasana, you can read her poem about finding a quiet place within yourself. 

 

As an altruistic yoga instructor, Allie is currently offering free weekly wellness classes to help people who have been quarantined. 

 

THERAPY – NAJWA ZEBIAN 

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and therapy is a great way of releasing feelings with a counselor or therapist who offers unbiased listening. Of course, that’s the ideal scenario: to have a patient, welcoming, and supportive therapist, and it takes research and trial and error to find the right one. As we are in the times of coronavirus, it makes sense to see an online therapist through a site such as Talkspace, or if you’re a college student, you can do online therapy usually for free through your university in online modules known as TherapyAssistanceOnline: Right now, they have many free meditation modules.

 

And if you’re not a student, you can check out these free counseling resources of organizations you can call or text for help during crisis times. A popular one among this list is 7 Cups where you talk to listeners trained to help people going through hard times. Most of what I’m putting here is free because I don’t want you to worry about money during this challenging time. 

 

You can also read poems about healing by poet and speaker, Najwa Zebian. She writes about therapeutic transformation and inspires so many people, especially women, to embrace their fear and pain. Check out this prose poem about following your soul which begins with these words: “No one knows what you need to do more than you do. Cry when you need to. It’s relieving. Laugh when you need to. It’s healing. Sit alone when you need to. It’s necessary.” 

 

HEALTHY COPING SKILLS

There are so many healthy coping skills to heal from stress: Among my favorites are journaling and rollerblading. Whatever you decide is best for you, the important thing is to get started soon and be consistent with your practice. If you feel you don’t have enough time, start small. Start with a five-minute walk or a three-minute meditation. Do it every day until you build your practice. 

 

Love yourself by taking some time away from the news and focusing it instead on a book or page of poetry. Soon you’ll be better equipped for all the changes the world is dealing with. Take it one day at a time, and remind yourself that you’re not alone in your fear or struggles. Remember that we’re all in this together: this poetry called life. 

Bonus: One of my favorite ways to relax at night is to watch ASMR before bedtime. Check out this ASMR bilingual reading I did of Pablo Neruda’s “I Like For You To Be Still.”