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! I am Shalanda Grier. I am a content creator, a graduate student, and wellness advocate. I enjoy encouraging women through my work. I encourage women to be their best self and to live their best life. I do this through my writing, YouTube channel, and teaching. My overall goal is to help women grow to a place where they can envision their highest self and live to be that version of themselves. I firmly believe every woman deserves and can experience peace, love, and joy!
How do you define self-care?
Self-care includes all the actions I take to ensure I maintain my physical, spiritual, and mental health. I think of self-care as the act of parenting oneself. Self- care also includes all the preventative measures I take to avoid illness and burnout. I have the responsibility to determine what actions, thoughts, relationships, and locations are most healthy and beneficial for me. What makes me feel good? What makes me feel drained? What and who makes me feel loved? All these questions and more go into determining how I care for myself. Ultimately, I am responsible for my well-being.
How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
My ideal morning would entail me waking up around 7:30 a.m. or not too long after. However, I have a flexible schedule, so this depends on the day. After making my bed and completing my morning hygiene routine, I like to eat a hearty breakfast. For breakfast, I usually eat oatmeal with fruit or avocado toast with fruit. I like to eat my breakfast in silence. This means no television or music. When I eat in silence, I am able to practice stillness and live in the moment. During breakfast, I like to think of at least one person I will reach out to via text that day.
It does not take long for me to prepare for my day. So, I am out of the house shortly after breakfast. During my morning commute, I listen to an encouraging sermon or motivational podcast. Once, I reach my office I like to brain dump all my to-dos for the day. Finally, I journal my thoughts and my hopes for the day. Then my day can begin!
What measures do you take when you feel off-balance/stressed?
When I feel off-balance or stressed, I generally step away from my activities and write in my journal. Writing in my journal helps to clarify my emotions and pinpoint the thoughts or activities that may be causing me stress. Once I have a better understanding of the root of my issue, I take the necessary measures to address the issue. This could include giving a person space, identifying truths when I feel fearful, taking a task off my to-do list or most importantly resting. I feel the most off balance and stressed when I do not get adequate rest.
In addition to writing in my journal, I use yoga and prayer to help me cope with stress. I find these two activities help me to relax and breathe. They also encourage me to focus only on what I can control and to give everything else to God. Additionally, after I practice yoga, my body feels less tense and more open.
Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
Yes! I like to follow a specific routine to get the best sleep. Before I get into the shower, I do a restorative yoga sequence to slow down my breathe and to relax my body. After my yoga sequence, I get in the shower. While in the shower I like to use “Sleepy” shower gel by Lush. I then use the “Sleepy” body lotion, also by Lush. These products are infused with lavender essential oil. Lavender essential oil is known to aid in anxiety and insomnia. This essential oil also encourages relaxation. When my shower routine is complete, I like to make some tea. I usually drink Lemon Ginger tea or Chamomile tea.
After I do yoga, take a shower, and drink tea I enjoy some downtime before getting into my bed and falling asleep. If I find myself having trouble sleeping, I will dab a small amount of lavender oil on my pillow. That usually does the trick.
What is your idea of beauty? Internal, external, or both?
Beauty is more of how you act and less of how you look. It stems from the inside out. Essentially beauty is love. And love is an act. Beauty is when you treat people kindly, when you listen without judging, when you encourage people, when you empathize with others and when you strive to be the best version of yourself. That is when you are the most beautiful. That is when you let your light shine. I have found I call people beautiful when I see this light in them as opposed to when they put on makeup or wear fancy clothes.
What is your philosophy around wellness?
Wellness is personal and transitional. It is personal because we all have different requirements to meet our physical, spiritual, and mental needs. It is transitional because the way we meet these needs may change. For this reason, our methods to maintain our overall health and to prevent illness may also change. Essentially, wellness is not one size fits all.
When we think of wellness, we should not adopt a consumer mindset. We live in a capitalist society. So, it is easy to think you may need to buy or do more, when you may need less. You may need fewer to-dos, less stuff, and less unrealistic expectations. This is not to say you should not buy anything for your self-care needs. However, this is to encourage you to take a closer look at your life. Reflect on your habits, your relationships with others, and your relationship with yourself to determine what supports your wellness needs.