Here at Peak and Valley, we have been interested in topics surrounding self-care/wellness. The term ‘self-care’ specifically is starting to become an overused buzzword in marketing and news outlets. Separating out what self-care means for you personally means ignoring a lot of marketing jargon and messaging. We all have to remember that self- care doesn't have to be expensive or exclusive. Given that, we are introducing an interview series where we ask people what self care and wellness means to them.
Provide a short introduction explaining who you are.
I’m Amanda Smith and I live in Los Angeles, California. I just moved here last fall from New York City, and I’m loving the slower-paced life for sure. I’m 27 and spend most of my time working, writing, creating content for my social media, exploring the outdoors, and finding new ways to be more sustainable. I love cooking, baking, crafting, and looking up dogs for adoption in my spare time!
How do you define self-care?
This phrase has been overused and at this point, I feel many people don’t truly know how to take care of one’s self. I see self-care as a journey that is changing every day. For me, it means giving myself what I need when I need it. If that means I give myself a special gift for working really hard, I do that. If that means, I need to give myself time and forgiveness in order to have healthier relationships, I do that too. I see self-care as self-love which will be a journey I will be on forever.
What does a typical morning look like for you?
I usually start my day creating a to-do list so I know what’s ahead of me and how to prioritize my tasks in order to complete them and also have time for other things. I always eat breakfast. I never skip, I am a believer it’s the most important meal of the day. I love making myself a cup of tea or coffee with a bit of the Balance My Stress adaptogen powder. I have anxiety and mornings can be rough cause you never know how the day will go and you have so much on your mind so this is a must. I love to also take time doing my skincare routine in the morning along with anything I do to get ready.
At some point in the day, I love to go outside. Right now that’s hard but I try to take walks in my neighborhood or answer emails on my porch to get some fresh air. I love to journal and read as well. It helps me escape if I feel overwhelmed. Making dinner for my boyfriend and I has also proven to be a great end-of-day therapy as if gives me a chance to be creative and try new things! I also am 100% the person who watches tik-tok videos every night in bed. I love a good laugh and they say laughter is the best medicine!
When you’re feeling off balanced/stressed out, what do you do?
This is tough because I have been feeling this a lot lately due to COVID-19, but it goes back to checking in with myself and asking myself “What do I need right now” and giving myself that. Sometimes the answer is simple: junk food, sleep, a walk outside, intense exercise. Other times it’s more difficult and I don’t know how to get back on track. I believe the best thing you can do in those moments is to be patient with yourself, surround yourself with the things and people you love, and take a break from whatever is causing you stress. Working out, cooking, crafting, and being in nature tends to be great stress relievers for me!
Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
I love taking a hot shower and using essential oils in the shower! I have tried diffusers but they give me headaches, so now I use small doses of Lavender and dab it on my chest and temples in the shower and it helps a ton. I love making it super cold in my room and cuddling under blankets. 2-3 times a week I’ll make myself a cup of tea with some Balance My Stress Blend as well if I know I need a deeper clean! Also, a clean room and clean sheets help so much!
What is your idea of beauty? Internal, external, or both?
Externally I think it’s laughter. Smiling. A care-free type of joy. When I see adults have a child-like, playful demeanor, it’s so wholesome and beautiful to me! Internally I have always seen raw authentic human emotions as the most beautiful thing. I especially feel connected to people online who are real. They don’t care about trends, brands, aesthetic, they just are who they are. I love that!
What is your philosophy around wellness?
Wellness to me includes your body, mind, and spirit. For me it’s all about balance and checking in with myself daily, weekly, monthly, etc… You know yourself more than you think, and being honest with yourself about bad habits, toxic relationships, or foods that are not healthy, is the best thing you can be. I have cut out habits that are not good for me, but I also love a Dr. Pepper on the weekends. I love working out, but I don’t beat myself up if I miss a week. I love journaling, but I give myself grace when I miss out on it. It’s about balancing your needs as a whole and giving yourself the love and energy you need. Whether that be with food, physical activity, or how you deal with emotions and thoughts!
I live in Northwest Arkansas - I specifically call out the region because it’s a distinct part of the state, unlike the rest. I love it here - it gives me the progressive nature of a larger city with the comfort of community. There’s still opportunity for growth and change, so I’m happy to be a resident who can play a part in its future.