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.
Courtney Phillips is next up in our interview series. She cultivated space for the Black community as the co-founder of Gumbo Media and the leader of GumboFit. She is a lover of the outdoors and avid runner, residing in Chicago. She is also a passionate plant-based foodie who finds her joy in cooking and baking any day of the week.
How do you define self-care?
Self-care means being in touch with your whole self. Dedicating time to regain balance and become grounded so that you can continue pushing forward. How this is expressed is personal.
How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
I start my days at around 6am walking my dog with my partner. This gives us time to connect and discuss the day ahead. Before I eat anything, I drink a tall glass of water, usually warm with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Then I make some breakfast, usually a delicious bowl of oatmeal and a smoothie. I fit in a workout shortly after that and then get to work.
What measures do you take when you feel off-balance/stressed?
When I feel off-balanced or stressed, I often stop what I'm doing and take a few breaths. If I have time I'll even take a 10-20 minute nap to reset.
Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
I try to start my bedtime ritual 30mins to an hour before I want to be in bed, to help me fully wind down. I'll enjoy some chamomile tea as I do a little bit of tidying around the house to make sure I'm not bombarded with unorganized clutter the next day. And if I'm not too exhausted, I'll listen to a guided meditation before I doze off.
What is your idea of beauty? Internal, external, or both?
To me, beauty is a personal journey. There's always going to be the external messages of what beauty is, but ultimately it always comes back to how you think and feel about yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin. My beauty is my own, and once I realized that my whole life changed.
What is your philosophy around wellness?
Do what feels best for you. Fill your cup first and stand up for what your needs are.
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.