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.