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.
Hi there :) My name is Czarina (she/her) and I am a Filipina-American musician and educator in Southern California on unceded Tongva, Kizh, Serrano, and Cahuilla land. I am a wife, a dog mama, and a connecter-of-people.
How do you define self-care?
‘Self-care’ is the practice of making choices that fuel my resilience as an educator and as a woman of color. As Audre Lorde wrote, “Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”
Self-care is also how I keep my cup overflowing for my community. I want to have enough energy and mental/emotional presence to show up for those around me. Without community care, self-care is selfish.
How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
My mornings aren’t terribly complicated. During the school year I wake up, stretch, let my pup outside while I do my morning skincare, then I’m off to work. Once in my classroom, I turn on some music, diffuse a combo of orange and lavender oils, make myself a cup of ginger tea, and greet my kiddos as they walk in.
During my morning break, I’ll toast up a waffle with peanut butter and make an oat latte with a scoop of Peak and Valley’s Balance My Stress blend. This part of my morning is key, and my class has definitely called me out when they notice I’ve forgotten to make my cup of coffee. (Truly though, I really believe that this blend is something that is carrying me through being an elementary teacher in this pandemic.) During summer it’s about the same, just much later in the day.
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-balance or stressed, I do therapy, dog walks with my hubs, and eating soup - yes, soup - makes me feel better. I also write songs as a form of journaling or processing big emotions.
My bedtime rituals are pretty simple - gummy vitamins, slowly do my evening skincare routine, shower, read a chapter of nonfiction, plop on a weighted eye mask, and ask Google Home to play rain sounds. Zzzz.
What is your idea of beauty? Internal, external, or both?
“You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul.” —Lupita Nyong’o
What is your philosophy around wellness?
My philosophy around wellness is that it extends beyond the physical. Wellness is whatever brings joy to my body, my heart, my mind, and my spirit. Wellness is a morning hike, it’s a cold juicy mango, it’s laughing until my sides hurt, it’s a challenging book. Wellness must also extend past oneself. I’ve been learning and unlearning from Indigenous voices and activists of color within the environmental/food justice sphere. Living a life of “wellness” is a human right.
How has your Filipinx heritage influenced your daily wellness routine?Ginger, coconut oil, sunshine, and community care. All inspired by my Lola (grandma).