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Lately I’ve been listening to Poetry Unbound with host Padraig O’Tuama. Produced by On Being Studios, it is an immersive exploration of a single poem. Launched in December 2019, each season features wide ranging poems written by diverse poets. Each podcast is brief and beautiful. 

There are so many ways I find these podcasts soothing. Padraig is an Irish poet and theologian. He brings creativity and insight to each selection. His voice is soothing even when the ideas are challenging. Each reflection is researched and offers thoughtful consideration of both poem and poet. 

The readings are just long enough to be heard singly – during a car ride for instance. The poems are carefully curated to include both known and new poets. The care with which each poem is presented makes them feel like a deep breath. 

Across the seasons of change I’ve experienced since 2019 are woven Padraig’s voice and these many poems. They have helped me breathe in the turmoil life has and continues to throw at us in so many ways. Watershed moments swirl around us and yet, there is Padraig’s voice sharing the poem and then reflecting upon it. 

What are your soothing strategies in this season of global and personal turmoil?

I have come to see this listening as a soothing go-to when I feel overwhelmed.  Take a moment to reflect on the most soothing things you do for yourself. 

For some, listening to music is a form of self-care. Stepping away from screens, putting music on and dancing around the room. Or putting on headphones and being in the stillness created by a piece of music. Music is so easily accessible. It offers natural ways to connect with breath, body, movement, and flow. 

For some, it can be self-care to get in a pool and float, to go for a drive, to hike, walk, run, or ride a horse. For others it can be soothing to sit by a fire and get lost in watching the flames. I know adults who become lost in coloring or quilting or crochet. 

Perhaps that is one of the keys of emotional or mental self-care – if it opens you to getting lost in an activity, the timeless places we left when we grew into adulthood, then that might be a truer form of self-care. 

Whatever the activity may be, if it creates a mental shift from overthinking or over-working and moves you more into your heart and body it is a form of self-care. Self-care in all its shapes and sizes is a necessary tool in your toolbox for seasons of change. 

What are your go-to strategies for soothing yourself during trying times?

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