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 Kelly Kendrick. I am a mother of two darling little girls, a High School Special Education Teacher, and a self-care enthusiast from Belleville, IL. I am also an aspiring Author, Yoga Instructor, and Life Coach. I have always known what self-care was, but it honestly wasn’t until I became a mother and now the onset of the pandemic, that I realized the necessity and importance of applying self-care into a daily routine for my personal benefit.
How do you define self-care?
It seems as if this term “self-care” has become the new catchphrase. It’s everywhere….and for good reason. Throughout my journey of spiritual and personal growth in recent years, I have come to realize that the definition of self-care should encompass the wellness of the entire being. In essence, when I think of self-care, the word “soul-care” also comes to mind. For me to be or feel my best, my mind, body, and soul must be in alignment. So, when I am engaging in self-care, I make sure my activities include methods that will ease my mind, body, and soul.
How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
My morning routine is very slow-paced, calm, and quiet. I do so as a way to gently ease into the day. I live for routine, so mornings set the tone for my day. When I awaken, I will lie in bed for 10-15 minutes, no cell phone, no tv, no music. I pray, take 5-10 deep breaths, and meditate on a positive thought that comes to mind after I am done with my breathing exercise. Afterward, I gather my thoughts and write in my cellphone notes, my intentions for the day. I begin with gratitude. I then write my intentions, in positive sentence form; the list is kept at no more than 3 things I’d like to do that day. What I have come to find out from writing an “intentions list vs to do list”, if things do not get done, I do not feel the stress of “checking items off” as I do with a “to do list”.
Before, my eucalyptus-infused shower and facial, I take a moment to do yoga and stretches to move energy throughout my body. At this time, I turn on meditation music to set the tone as well. The last thing in my morning routine is teatime, journaling, and positive affirmations! This is my most favorite because making tea is another level of meditation. Just pure bliss! Adjourn Teahouse and Zach and Zoe Honey have enhanced my mornings in a great way. I often choose a fresh tea blend based on my taste, add a dollop of raw honey, and begin journaling with The Five-Minute Journal. While doing so I make sure to focus on being completely in the moment. It may seem like a lot, however, doing these things has tremendously impacted my mindset and life in a positive way which is why I am “heavy on the self-care morning routines”!
What measures do you take when you feel off-balance/stressed? Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
When I feel off-balanced, I gauge to see what is causing the stressed feeling; is it a thought or an actual circumstance that is occurring at the moment? Once that has been determined, I begin breathing exercises and if need be, I will remove myself from the current moment to regroup. Another favorite re-centering activity of mine is to play sound bowls for 5-10 minutes or grounding, which is just walking outside in the grass until I feel peaceful again.
In the evening, I light candles and if I feel like it, I watch a favorite tv show of mine from the ‘90’s…the good old days. I also read a chapter or two from an inspirational book of my choosing that focuses on a particular area in life that I need clarity or reassurance.
Because I do not have trouble falling asleep, on occasion, I will make lavender and chamomile tea and end the day with thoughts in my gratitude and journal on what went well. To bookend the day, I turn on my essential oil diffuser with a drop of lavender and lemongrass; then it’s off to dreamland.
What is your philosophy around wellness?
To begin, we, as a society should celebrate and normalize wellness for the whole being at all times, not just when someone overcomes a sickness and such. I feel wellness should be emphasized at a young age so that when one is older and decides to take self-care/soul-care days, it’s not so foreign. Last, wellness should be incorporated in all aspects of life, not just at home, but also in schools and workplaces. The way I see it, if we switched the focus to wellness all day every day, self-care wouldn’t feel like resistance.
For the reasons above, I try to encourage my daughters, students, family, and friends on the importance of cultivating peace through self-care/soul-care.
How has your being a Woman of Color influenced your daily wellness routine?
As a 38-year-old WOC, growing up in a matriarchal family, though there was a male presence, I don’t recall self-care being talked about as much. There were times when my mother, aunts, and grandmother would “take a break”, which was 60 minutes with Oprah and kids went to their rooms to play. On the other hand, I do remember when my mother took a week off from being a wife and mother. It was a fun week for my brother and me….no rules lol. She returned refreshed, so I’m sure she received what she needed.
Nonetheless, today I find it ever more important as a WOC to stop, pause, say no, and take care of myself first. So often, WOC are labeled as “strong and resilient”, but we must realize, our wellness is paramount. I admit, when I became a mother at 30 years old, and a second time at 31, I had no idea how to balance my children, household, work, and self-care.
It wasn’t until I became a single mother that I said, “Ok, it’s me and the kids, and if I don’t take care of myself, who will take care of them?” At that point, I dove headfirst into wellness and self-care. I incorporated the methods in the above-mentioned questions, as well as introduced them to my daughters. It’s safe to say, I am the poster child for self-care and as a powerful WOC, this will always be an important part of my life that I will continue to share with others.