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.
My name is Amy Quichiz and I am the co-founder of Veggie Mijas, a women and non-binary folks of color collective highlighting our stories about having a plant-based lifestyle intersecting with our marginalized identities such as being genderqueer, brown, Latinx, Afro-Latinx, Black, a person of color, sexuality, gender identity, or having disabilities, etc. I am Colombian and Peruvian, born and raised in Jackson Heights, New York and currently living in Washington D.C.
How do you define self-care?
Self-care means taking care of your body, soul, and mind. It can look like: protecting your energy, taking a bath, reading a book, talking to your loved one, or cleaning your apartment and making the bed. For me, self-care is all of those things and resting and listening to music I can dance to when I am alone in my underwear. The best self-care for me though, is caring for others. I believe that my ancestors used to practice self-care together by making sure their community was surviving and thriving, making sure that everyone had the resources they need, etc. I feel the most at peace knowing I did my part that day whether that was doing a workshop, training someone to be an organizer, or advocating for women going through a domestic violence situation.
How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
I wake up around 6:30 am to start emails, spend time with my partner without any technology present around 7:20 am, start getting ready around 7:45 am, be ready by 8:30 am, go into work at 9 am. I am currently working at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as an organizing coordinator. So for the whole day, I am in a lot of meetings talking about the amazing work we have to do to continue advocating for ourselves every day.
After work, I come home and usually my amazing girlfriend Johanna, makes me a really nice dinner. We talk about our day which is self-care to me, spending time with someone I love--I call my mom, my dad, and talk for a little bit on the phone. Then I spend more time answering emails for Veggie Mijas, and lastly--play with my puppy, Princess, who is a year old! That is my routine for a week, sometimes instead of answering emails, I would go to the gym, take a bath, and balance my routine out to prioritize self-care.
What measures do you take when you feel off-balance/stressed?
I use essential oils, I love peppermint show steamers because my partner got me really into them, and I love journaling. I always document my feelings and as a true pisces sun, I’ve had a diary/journal since I was 6-years-old, so at this point, writing and journaling is a natural hobby for me when I feel stressed. I also just play loud music, mostly Kali Uchis, and dance when no one is watching.
Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
Let’s be honest, I do not! However, because I am just getting into my routine of working a full-time job and almost starting graduate school at American University, I need a bedtime ritual that can keep me a bit sane. I remember before life got hectic, Johanna, my partner, and I used to pray before going to sleep. Faith is really important to me, so we pray and thank God that He gave us such a beautiful day and that we can’t wait for all His blessings the following day. It is a beautiful way to catch up not only with my partner and how she is feeling, but also let's God know that we are present and grateful.
What is your idea of beauty? Internal, external, or both?
I believe beauty truly is about the person that you are; kind, grateful, genuinely there to see your loved ones or people grow, ability to love others, and a hopeful person. I love the quote, “Don’t treat people like they would treat you, treat people like God treats you”, and I really do believe that beauty is how you treat people at heart whether there a janitor, a waitress, a domestic worker--that always shows me how beautiful someone truly is.
What is your philosophy around wellness?
The way I view wellness for myself is what I put in my body; fruits, vegetables, healthy and yummy snacks, and all that good stuff. I love to practice mindful eating in a capitalistic world, meaning that I try to be very present with my food. It is hard to do that when you see everyone else around you doing the complete opposite: eating at their desk while working, eating at meetings, or just simply not being present. I think wellness is overall being in the moment, listening to your body and what it needs, and feeling good about yourself.
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.