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 mean to them. Here, we interview Danielle Alvarez from Zelue, a wellness advocate, lifestyle + Christian blogger, kids yoga instructor, pediatric nurse practitioner, and plant/gardening enthusiast.
How do you define self-care?
Self-care is not one size fits all, it is different for each person. Self-care is more than just taking bubble baths, getting manicures/pedicures, and massages. While those activities are wonderful and make you feel good, self-care practices should go deeper than that. It can be very simple activities such as taking intentional breaths during your commute or declining that invite to take time to rest at home. Self-care is about taking inventory of what you need to be your best self. Once you feel your best, you can give yourself to others. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
I start my day off by reading my daily Bible devotionals and meditating on scripture. It really helps set the tone for my day. On weekends, I like to slow my mornings down and I make time for plant care. I have 20+ houseplants and I take my time watering and tending to them.
What measures do you take when you feel off-balance/stressed?
Plant care and gardening are my go-to for stress relief. It calms my mind and makes me happy to water and tend to my plants. I like to take hot baths when the weather is chilly and I take meditative showers. When I’m in the shower I like to take in the scent of my eucalyptus bouquet hanging under my shower head. I practice deep breathing and the feel of the water literally washes the stress away. Fitness is also a good stress reliever for me. I enjoy taking a yoga class or going to a treadmill running class. The endorphins make me feel amazing afterward.
Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
I was having trouble sleeping and I realized that it’s because my mind was very stimulated. I was watching a Netflix show or I was on my phone until I fell asleep. It also doesn’t help that I stare at a computer screen at work all day. Now an hour before bedtime, I shut off all the electronics that I’m using and I’ll make a cup of tea and read a book. I now wake up feeling well rested and refreshed.
What is your idea of beauty? Internal, external, or both?
Beauty should first start from the inside. It’s great to have a holy grail skin care routine that makes your skin glow, but what about your inner glow? Do you practice empathy and kindness towards others? Do you thrive on gossip/toxic behaviors? External beauty fades and your inner beauty is what makes an impact in the lives of those around you.
What is your philosophy around wellness?
Wellness is not static; it's an active process that allows you to make better and conscious decisions about your health. Wellness should be inclusive and accessible for people of all backgrounds. It should be a necessity, not a luxury. My outlook on life and my daily moods improved when I started making wellness a priority. My wellness journey has allowed me to grow in every aspect of my life and I’m thankful for the online community that I’ve met through wellness living.
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.