Bellx; a mesoamericana curandera de su misma, birthkeeper & sister, living in Boston.

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  1. What does self-care mean to you? It’s self-perseveration, it's my capacity to remember my calling and why my ancestors decided to put me here right now, and any act of remembrance that happens in ritual, which is simple as coming back to a specific moment or act, like sitting with tea, or greeting the sun when it rises each morning. 
  2. How did you get into self-care? I grew up with a lot of beautiful, strong folks that didn’t care for themselves and I wanted to be beautiful, strong and well nourished. When I was 16 I went hiking at Mt. Baldy in California and I had never hiked before or been out in nature that long, and I remember thinking I had never felt my lungs in that way or smelled or saw in that way before, and even though we got lost and we were out there for 16 hours, I committed that I would do that again, that I would keep finding that clearing and I aspire to that every day although I don’t always do it well.
  3. What are challenges in maintaining self-care? It begins and ends with capitalism and white supremacy and it's hard for me to use these big words because I don’t want to alienate anyone, but it does encompass my experience as an indigenous person in the U.S. For example, there are laws that prohibit people from burning things in a building so I can’t have certain devotional practices inside. And in this society time is seen as scarce and every moment and every day is a marathon. This society promotes the hamster wheel of trying to get paid to pay this, and time is viewed as a cycle of death whether economical or spiritual. It’s pretty painful and I’m working to unlearn this relationship with time and remember that we come from a people that weaved this universe together, a people that didn’t believe in time yet created the number 0. I'm trying to undo this misconception so that my seeds aren't born in this way. 
  4. How do you share self-care with others? It’s taken me a while to do this with integrity for myself and my practice, it’s challenging to not show up as an all-sacrificing mother while taking care of others. I go through spells of protecting myself and paying attention to how I nourish myself because I've realized that I deserve that. I’ve moved to a place where I am balanced enough that I can share with others. I share through birth keeping, helping those with postpartum, sharing song and herbal medicine and leading an herbal apprenticeship.

Lanise Frazier-Colon; creator, seeker and healer living in Boston.

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What does self-care mean to you? It means a variety of things, really addressing the full spectrum of self, which means if you are enjoying something and your soul feels fed but you start to feel tired, maybe your body and mind and spirit are not aligned, so paying attention to where your mental, physical, spiritual body are, is self-care. Making sure you are nourished and taken care of by any means.

How did you get into self-care? I grew up in a very spiritual family, I started fasting at a young age like in elementary school, which set discipline and systems in place that helped me to take care of myself. Fasting teaches me how to feed my soul and be aware of how my mind, body and spirit feels. 

What are challenges in maintaining self-care? Offering myself the same level of care to myself as I do to others is a challenge. It’s something I’m still figuring out.

How do you share self-care with others? I share my story, I share how I’ve gotten free and how I’ve reclaimed myself, survival tricks, and how I use nourishment. I ask friends how they are nourishing themselves on various levels. With Seed of Osun, it’s an intervention for Black and Indigenous people, not saying that white people don’t need healing but due to colonization we need a  route to healing through the ways of our ancestors. I am a reiki master, aromatherapist, Thai masseuse, herbalist, spiritual and ancestral connector and in everything that I’ve learned I reclaim and make connection to ancient African traditions, ancient root work. I make it ours, and am particular about the words I use and the way I mix and add things. I explain what every herb does and use the African and Indigenous names. I use Gullah traditions and Chakras and Orishas and remedies, it’s not linear, it’s spiritual and physical and energetic. I don’t just make an oil, I’m singing, praying and dancing over it, and that’s important to me. It’s not just the item or oil or herb itself, there needs to be a connection to the spirit ancestral world. It’s not that I’m here to save, it’s about how can I open this door for you to go and discover your own path. We know it all, it’s just about tapping into who we are. Self-care is a privilege. White folks have the time to go do this but we have to make the time and make sacrifices to be able to do self-care. We have to address that there are many things that Black folks have normalized that’s fucked up and we need to change that. Like things we can or can’t have, like I can’t eat this healthy thing because that’s something white people do, which stems from generational trauma. We are still in the place of just surviving. It’s what my grandmother did to survive, but now it’s like okay we can go beyond survival mode and do something different and better.  It’s a process of discovery. We are already great, we are gods, goddesses, the source - we are it. In the process of us being great, people have come to kill steal and destroy us. There is a process of reclaiming that greatness, and it takes a gutter and gully attitude to claim yourself and your people. There are a lot of oppressive practices in Black culture that came via white supremacy that we still do today. 

Born Bi-kim; a student of life, a vegan foodie and a yogi.

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What does self-care mean to you? When I was young I went to the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts. Elma Lewis started this school for children of color so that they could learn the fine and performing arts. We learned a poem there and I don’t know the author but it goes, “My body is a temple that needs the greatest care, it must be clean and wholesome for God is living there, and if I keep my temple, my body strong and clean, my mind must be as wholesome although it can’t be seen.” My idea of self-care is that the body is a temple and so we must honor that temple by staying away from toxic people and toxic relationships. It’s not about having perfect peace rather maintaining your center in whatever it is you are going through. 

How did you get into self-care? I am Panther baby born in the 60s. My first school was a Black Panther school called the New School for Children, which was pivotal in my formative years and gave me a sense of consciousness of the self. Later I went to a METCO school in the suburbs and it was was the total opposite of what I’d known, I was like, “What is this?” My concept for self-care comes from my identity being solidified as a child and then experiencing the foolishness of racism in Boston. 

What are challenges in maintaining self-care? Challenges in maintaining self-care involve the language that we use when talking about self-care. We have to change our minds and language about how we think about health and how we think about fitness and spirituality, if we don’t change that then we are always limited by the definition that is given to us. Psychology teaches us that if we read or hear something and don’t question it is stored in our minds as fact and so we simply need to question everything and see if it makes sense for us. 

How do you share self-care with others? I share self-care via art, for instance, I've produced and co-produced plays such as “Toward a New Ecology for Women” and “R.A.W” both about the issues women experience in society, the second one focusing on the experiences of Asian women (Korean, Japanese, Laotian). When this place (Haley House) opened I used to do play readings here pushing arts education. 

I also contribute to self-care via education, yoga, being a personal trainer, encouraging healthy eating, being an urban farmer/gardener, basically everything I do is self-care.

Learn more about Born at:

Instagram: @asiam9

Maïrama Ndjock; a Cameroonian, natural lover and digital marketing specialist, living in Dakar, Senegal.

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What does self-care and wellness mean to you? It is about taking care of my health, paying attention to what I'm eating and the way I live.

How did you get into self-care and wellness? I saw many people getting sick or having health problems because they didn't take time for themselves or they didn't have money to eat healthy foods. I started thinking to myself what would happen if I got sick, what would I do? So I wanted to do something before I got to that point, I wanted to be preventative and I began to pay attention to what I was eating and what I put on my skin and starting doing sports and sleeping much better. Even though I am not always consistent with sleep or exercise I always make sure I focus on eating healthy. 

What are challenges with maintaining self-care and wellness? It is not really easy here in Senegal because it’s expensive and here there are not a lot of greens - it depends on the season. You have to change the vegetables you use every few months so that you can still eat healthy. Sometimes I buy just a few vegetables, or we go to a market far away to get the products and food we need at an affordable price.

How do you share self-care/wellness with others? I try as much as possible to share my experiences and invite people to taste foods or natural product I use. I try to explain to others what I am taking when I am sick that is natural and how I do it and explain how I am able to get well. Most of the time I research which plants and vegetables are good for this or that and which vegetables are preventative of certain diseases. Like okra is preventative of cancer and helps head issues and other diseases. I always try to find out what the benefits of each vegetable is. 

You can find Maïrama on:

Twitter @Mairama_Ndjock

Facebook Mairama Ndjock

Sylvia Mngxekeza; a mother, healer and actress living in Cape Town, South Africa.

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What does self-care and healing mean to you?   It means appreciating your ancestors and accepting their guidance in your life. It means taking care of yourself and following what is in your soul. 

How did you get into self-care and healing? I was born into it. As a child I was very sickly and doctors and ceremonies didn't help. I’d have strange dreams that came true, I saw things that other people didn't see. My family understood that I had a calling but I was stubborn. I tried to fight it, tried to avoid it because I wanted to live a normal life and be respected in society. I wanted to go to university and work. Even after being able to heal my sister's son, recovering money and solving people's problems I was still resistant! I thought being a healer would bring me down. Instead of focusing on healing I got married and worked various jobs, but my ancestors wouldn't let me be. They kept showing up in my dreams and put me in situations that revealed my true destiny.  Once I accepted my fate as a healer things in my life fell into place.

What are struggles in maintaining healing work and self-care? Money. Healing work doesn’t make anyone rich but I never go to bed without food. Also there are some people that will try to get in your way and block you and take you off of your path, but I always remember why I do this work and I think of the people I help and heal and that keeps me going. 

How do you share self-care and healing with others? I heal them, physically, mentally, spiritually. I pray over them, I share advice from the ancestors with them. I care for them. As a Sangoma l believe that l have been initiated to a higher level of sphere of knowledge cause when l prepare medicines l always feel my ancestors invisible bodies around me telling me what to do. I know what to do to heal them and that keeps me confident in myself and my work. It’s who I am, it’s what I was born to do. 

Tashanna Williams; a qualified aesthetician, skin care consultant, and entrepreneur, living in Boston. 

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What does self-care mean to you? For me it means regular exercise - whether that is dancing, yoga or pilates - all the way to getting regular massages and facials and getting my nails and hair done. When I am able to do all of those things I am in a good place. I can’t do these things all the time but I commit to 3-4 things a month and that helps me sustain self-care.

How did you get into self-care/wellness? I was very stressed in college and high school and I was diagnosed with anxiety and I needed an outlet to release my stress in order to lower my anxiety. On top of that like most people with oily skin, I was prone to acne and I’d pick at my skin and it would scar and I didn’t know how to take care of it, so my parents told me to try a facial and I got one and was surprised! I knew that facials helped clean out skin and kept it healthy, but I didn’t know that they included a massage of the face, neck, shoulders, and upper chest. I didn’t realize it was going to be such a relaxing form of cleansing. So I started to get facials on a regular basis and my skin improved a lot and I loved the calming atmosphere I was in while getting my facials which helped lower my anxiety.

What are the challenges in maintaining self-care? The challenge for everyone is the cost of self-care and having enough time for it. I have a lot of clients that say they don’t have enough time, I have kids, I have work, I have other priorities, so I think that even though these are real challenges that people face it’s important to commit to 3 or 4 aspects of wellness. Obviously if you are struggling with skin care then make that a priority, if you’re struggling with a bodily injury or you’re constantly in pain then you need massage; self-care depends on the person. I just need nice relaxing yoga and meditation and I feel like a million bucks, others need an intense work out to feel like a million bucks. You have to listen to yourself and what you need to feel whole, don’t think about the cost as much as think about how you are going to feel at the end of the day. We all have bills and expenses and challenges and those things won’t get taken care of if we are not taking care of ourselves. 

How do you share self-care/wellness with others?  Once I got my aesthetician license I found that I really love being able to help people through skin care and facial healing, and I’m much happier doing what I love. I spent so much time being miserable at a job I hated and now I’m so happy that I get to follow my passion. Following your passion can be financially challenging at times, but I've learned that being happy is more important than money, and while I need money to survive, I love what I do so much that I refuse to give up on it. 

Learn more about Tashanna:

Instagram: @tscb2017  

Website: https://tashannasskincareboutique.glossgenius.com/ 

Tara Jackson; a yogi, writer and unicorn, living in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 

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What does self-care mean to you? Awareness; being aware of your body and your mind, knowing when you are about to hit thatpoint of exhaustion and deciding to rest instead of pushing through that exhaustion. Being aware of where you replenish from. Now everyone is all about self-care, but before it wasn’t talked about much. As a yoga teacher when I went through my training I was indirectly given self-care tips, and I realized self-care could be small like putting my phone down. It doesn’t always revolve around travel or doing something extravagant, those things can even be stressful for some people.

How did you get into self-care? I got into self-care through my yoga training, and I learned that you don’t have to do the most intense yoga, like hot yoga classes to do self-care. You could just lay with a big body pillow under a blanket and that is self-care. Some people really like the intense classes and feel refreshed after but it’s not for me, I prefer the more relaxed approach. 

What are challenges in maintaining self-care? Adding that time to your day, as simple as it is. I might decide that I’m gonna take 5 minutes to myself, and then oh wait my phone is buzzing, let me look at that, and then the five minutes doesn’t even count anymore because I’ve interrupted myself 5 times. So carving out that time and not worrying about everyone else is essential. Standing in your own way, is another challenge, like self-sabotage, thinking that your life is too busy for self-care. Sometimes a student will say, “I can’t be still” and I’m like, “I didn’t ask you to be still, I just asked you to breathe.” This theory of “I can’t” really gets in people’s way. People give up before they even try sometimes. There is always at least one person that comes and tells me they can’t do something, like a guy said his arms were too big for a pose and I was like that’s not a real thing, just try it. 

How do you share self-care with others? Every other class I teach I open up with a restorative pose which includes many moments of reflection and I give people space to do what their body needs, rather than being directive. I try to get people to listen to their bodies because if you don’t understand what you need to chill for a second, you will always be trying to fill that void by always being on the go. 

Cherelle Nicole; a storyteller, healer and hope dealer Los Angeles, California.

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What is self-care to you? The embodiment of self-love, and it’s a set of practices and a mindset that is surrounded around nurturing the best version of who you are. Self-care is different for everyone and we all have things that work for us but don’t work for others, what’s important is exploring what makes you feel good.

How did you get into self-care? I got into it out of necessity. I was working way too much and taking on other peoples’ stress, and I had a severe injury and through that I became a healer. I realized that I needed to do things to heal myself. I relied on different healing modalities to give myself the tools to recover such as positive affirmations, and subliminal videos which show you images of what you want as well as positive words, at a high speed so that they go directly into your subconscious mind. I also used essential oils and Reiki on myself and now I am a Reiki master, crystal healer, medium, and wellness advocate for essential oils.

What are the challenges with maintaining self-care? Maintaining levels of self-worth, making sure you feel good enough about yourself to say no to things that are not working for you and yes to the things you want without worrying about what anyone else will think about it.

How do you share self-care with others? I started a wellness business in 2016 called Hope Intuitive Healing, it’s all about teaching others the gift of healing with oils, Reiki and crystals and it has expanded to two centers in Los Angeles; the Imagine Center in Tarzana, CA and My Angel Connection in North Hollywood, CA. I impart self-care information with clients every session. I think it’s important for people to remember that every person is capable of self-care and wellness, you don’t need a guru to guide you through a process, you just need a desire to love yourself fully.

Learn more about Cherelle at https://www.hopeintuitivehealing.com

You can also find Cherelle on Instagram @mzrellie85

Stephanie Jordan Jacobs; a mother, photographer and cancer survivor living in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

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What does the term self-care mean to you? The reason I chose to do this interview is because I have a chronic illness, and it’s like how did you get here and what do you do when you arrive? So for me self care means to take time out for yourself. Part of this for me is making sure I am taking care of my children well, because that makes me feel relaxed and is easy on me. Yes, it’s pampering yourself, yes please do that, like when I was pregnant. But some people think that it is the ultimate form of self-care.  And yes it’s nice to get your nails done, hair done, massage, but that is not real for everyone. Self-care means to really value what is important to yourself, and take time for that. I wish people knew that when they were 20 years old, that it’s about what is important to you, it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing and what is important to us will change with time. And you don’t have to announce it, you can quietly do those things. After my amputation, my mom was ready to have me move out of the city. But I took down my old blinds, and put up some new blinds, bought some new linens, got a color theme going on, replaced the toilet paper holder. That makes me the biggest difference. It changes the energy. People are asking me why am I doing that because they don’t understand what makes me feel good. I would also say that nutritious food is important to self-care and should be something you sit down and enjoy, mentally as well as taste wise.

What spurred you to get involved in self-care?You actually. When we met at that restaurant after the election and I followed you on Instagram that exposed me to different aspects of it. You really made me pay attention, and made me think like it’s okay I really don’t have to do that today, I really should take a minute for myself right now. Many women of color don’t even know what that means no matter how educated they may be.

What were some of your struggles in sticking to self care practices? Relationships, be it marriage or friends, because they have a lot of opinions about what you should be doing, i.e. Why aren’t you answering your phone?  And also thinking I needed permission to do the things that made me feel good.

How do you work to share self care with others?Right now I am not really thinking about anybody else, I tell people to slow up and tell them that the things they are worried about are not that deep. And I think people think that I am saying some of those things because I have cancer. Hopefully they can grab a hold of what I am doing and I can lead by example. You can say whatever you want to people but they are going to look at what you are doing. I listen to what my body is telling me. We really don’t listen to our inner self enough. We can’t praise and worry. I really came to terms with my faith in God and really have seen prayer work, really having this inner sense of belief. I came to this place where I think lots of people with chronic illness get and it’s a place where there is no fear. I have to believe I will be alright in order to be alright. I say it, I believe it and I think it’s going to be done. Self Care really has carried me through my darkest times.

Martin Richards; a mild, mindful, martial artist living in London, England.

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What does the word self-care mean? I’d say putting yourself first in terms of your mental stability and well being. Making sure that you are taking care of and addressing your mental well being, so that you are not overworked and are taking time to look into yourself.

-How did you get into self-care? I find that too many people just focus on working and that is their only interest and they spend their whole life just working. I like to take time out just to be with myself and explore myself and not just on a physical level but more spiritually and mentally. I’ve always done martial arts such as Tai Chi which focuses on mental discipline in conjunction with physical discipline. I also started a mindfulness practice at the beginning of this year, we put away our phones and just focused on the exercises. We focused on ourselves in a way that wasn't selfish. I felt the calmest and most relaxed I ever have. 

What are some struggles in maintaining self care? The main one is having to work because it takes up about 10-12 hours of your day with travel and all and then you come home and try to unwind and then your thinking about the day and this takes time away from working on yourself and leaves you drained and tired, and it can become prolonged to a point where you are so engrossed with work. To find time to sit and meditate and reflect on yourself is hard and its a habit that needs to be developed and if you fail just keep working on it, struggle is normal and very human.

How do you share self care with others? With colleagues I speak about mindfulness and the benefits it’s had for me and suggest courses to them and explain that it is peaceful and such. I also am about to embark on a mindfulness teaching course so that I can share it with young people to give them strategies to use. It’s best to share this with children so they can have a go to guide to deal with their emotions and anxiety etc. that come up in their school and home lives.  

Daina Tate; a perpetual work in progress, who is newly committed to sharing her journey of self-love and acceptance, living in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

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What does self-care mean to you? It means self-preservation, selflessness, it also correlates with mental health. 

-What spurred you to get involved in self-care? Over the course of the past couple of years I felt an unhappiness. I was in the mind frame of getting a good job and just having impressive credentials. For 2 years I worked for this big company and always made sure I was available to them, and it seemed like the more money I made the more broke I was. I just wasn’t putting any time into myself. After two years I decided that I needed some clarity and I felt like I was becoming an angry person, and I didn’t know who to blame. I had also met someone in the relationship I was very codependent, and their goals became my goals and I lost focus. So between the career thing and relationship not working out, fear kicked in and I was forced to turn to myself. I started having honest conversations with myself about how I needed to take accountability for my actions, and I came up with the term “with all this love”. I was doing things with the wrong intentions, for money etc. I was really broke after leaving the job for a year and I really had nothing to offer except what I had internally, thus I began to do the internal work of having every action be done in love.

What were some of your struggles in sticking to self care practices? Being disciplined. I have to actively take time to meditate and be in silence. I panic more, I overthink and go to worse case scenario when I don’t. It’s like exercise. It’s my form of exercise, and it took some months to get there. Like I’ll do it for 10 days straight and then fall off. It’s hard to stay consistent and it’s tough to drop bad habits. I have times when I want to be defensive because of past experiences, but I can’t do that if I really want to be open. And the ego for sure is the number one enemy.

How do you work to share self care with others? I’d been writing letters to myself every year for my birthday, and I one day I got the notion to post these self conversations - sometimes heavy sometimes playful. I have a Wordpress blog, it’s not so much for people to see and is more for me to push myself out of my comfort zone. I started this in June and I’ve gotten positive feedback from people I know and people I don’t know. It’s nice to know that I am connecting with people. Sharing my struggle has been helpful to people, but I haven’t solved anything. 

Shelly Gellineau; a yoga instructor, masseuse, and clean eating cook living in Graeme Hall, Barbados.

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What does the term self-care mean to you? It means taking care of myself in a very holistic manner, not just health, but also spiritually. It’s moving slowly and meditating throughout the day. It’s what I eat, it’s keeping where I live peaceful, it’s surrounding myself with lots of laughter and good thoughts, it’s having like minded people around me, and avoiding people with energy that is not aligned with me.

What spurred you to get involved in self-care? It goes back many years, when I was pregnant with my daughter 26-27 years ago. My pregnancy wasn’t the best. I had low energy, and had prolonged issues even after she was born. After seeing doctors and not getting anywhere I went the natural way, and after seeing a naturopath I started exploring my health and little by little I changed. I changed my diet and I got into massage therapy. I wanted to do something I thought would help people and also help myself. I always used massage to nurture my children if they felt sick, the touch really helped them. When I realized that I was going to be sharing my energy with people I knew I had to take care of myself. It’s food, it’s thinking the right thoughts and going at the right pace, it's laughing and having happy people around me. It’s been a long journey.

What were some of your struggles in sticking to self care practices? Time is the biggest one, especially with a family, and business; it’s not the easiest thing to manage, particularly when you have young children. I used to fast to cleanse my body and spirit and would make to mugs of soup and the children would want some, so you see it can be hard when you are managing a family. It's also important to note that there are layers to this. I went to a retreat and was in tears because I felt I hadn't gotten as far as I thought I did on my spiritual and emotional journey. You might think you’ve done the work but then you find there is always more work to do. 

How do you work to share self care with others?Everyday with my friends as I meet them. I’ve learned to hold back a bit and if self-care is something that I see is an interest to them then I share, but I start slowly. Some are interested some are not, if they are not interested I just share what I do but I don’t try to pressure them. I also share via conversations with friends and my yoga, food and massage clients.

Prentis Smith; a man of faith, father and wellness influencer, living in Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

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-What does self-care mean to you? Being able to have and practice self awareness. There are many sides to it, I focus a lot on the mental health side of it rather than the get your nails and hair done or happy hour aspects. For instance if a person is struggling with finances or lives in an underprivileged area, they may need some coping skills to deal with everyday stressors.

-How did you get into self care? I worked in mental health for the past 2 years, doing group therapy as a substance abuse counselor, 60 day program dealing with addiction, depression, and anxiety, and I saw a pattern and theme throughout the interventions over the course of the past 2 years which was that negative self talk, shame and guilt kept coming up. That struck my nerve and I was like hmm I deal with this stuff too, and found myself growing professionally and personally by working in this environment and once I was helping others identify these issues I was able to identify these things in myself.

-What struggles are there in maintaining self-care? I think just the guilt that comes with it, because it takes humility to be able to admit there is a problem, not only to tell someone else but to tell yourself in the mirror. And when you don’t know that you have a problem, you don’t know that you don’t know. And then you have to have the ability to actually do something about the issue when you do realize it.

-How do you share self-care with others? Through different aspects of the self. I have Best Version a lifestyle brand, it focuses on faith, fitness and wellness. Humility falls under Faith that things will be okay although I can’t see past my nose. Wellness is about the energy you attract and the managing environments you are in. Fitness is being active, whether it’s physically, mentally or spiritually. Being able to sustain stamina throughout the day, not just going to gym.

Bee Berry Jiraporn; a friendly adventurer and happiness seeker living in Thailand.

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What does self care mean to you? It’s many things, sometimes its just traveling somewhere. You don’t have to go outside of your country, just somewhere you have never been or a place that will challenge you. Go see new people - new places. The problem won’t be fixed, but your mind will be more ready to address the issue.

How did you get into self-care? We have been taught like this from childhood to be peaceful, though it takes some time to really get the concept. Sometimes we look weak because we are not fighting, we try to keep peace and be positive. I’m not quick to meditate but I don't use my time fighting, I forgive and forget. Why struggle for things that don’t belong to me? Sometimes the winner is the loser in reality. 

How do you maintain self-care? I have a strong family that supports me a lot. If I have a broken heart I can talk to my mom, or if I want to go out and do something different she never tries to stop me. I also have friends that listen to me and cry with me even if they can't do anything. I work to stay positive and love myself, meaning I don't want to make myself unhappy for too long. So if I'm feeling down sometimes I get something good to eat, go to the beach, get a massage - I remember the pain is not forever. Happy is not forever either but neither is unhappy. But we are human so it's hard. Sometimes I feel stressed but then I see the children on the street with no arm and I think to myself I am very lucky, there is no reason for me to long for more.

How do you share self-care? I don’t think I’m good at it, but I am a good listener. When other people are going through things I take them out, give them something else to do rather than sitting and being sad. I also understand that some times people don’t want an answer to their problem because they already know it, so I just try to support. For example I don’t blame them if I told them a guy was bad and then things don’t work out, I just support them through that moment. When I keep myself happy it’s easy to care for others.I post positive things, I've noticed that when people post sad things people just ask "What happened?" but they don't do anything to help anyway so better to share the positive.  

Gabriel Oboki Neriman; a teacher, activist and youth advocate living in Nairobi, Kenya.

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What does self-care mean to you? It is the wellbeing of someone, happiness. You like what you are doing in life.

How did you get into self-care and wellness?Growing up in Kibera, I experienced peer pressure and I went through a phase of experimenting with drugs. I soon realized there was no happiness there. My friends got deep into it, mugging people, getting killed. During that time I joined a group that took me through trainings of how to live well and how people can come out of drug abuse. I learned that if I am not sober then I am not well, because I'm not able to use my free mind to be well and happy. There is joy in living a healthy life.

What struggles are there in maintaining self care and wellness? Poverty and unemployment. For example, when we were abusing drugs it put us in a mind set of not feeling down about our situation and when not using drugs we were faced with the reality of life. And even once someone stops using drugs and recover they are often met with discrimination because of their past, this makes it difficult for them to maintain healthy ways of living.

How do you share self-care and wellness with others? It’s what I do everyday through teaching and trainings and forums. SAPTA is an addiction prevention and treatment program. We also focus on HIV, AIDS and reproductive health. School of Hope is a center for youth in the Kibera slum. We teach them about sanitation, health, peace, technology, English and Swahili. Both of these programs mean a lot to me because of my experience in the slum and I want the youth living there today to have a better life as they grow up.