[Editor's note: The thought of starting to take better care of yourself can be daunting but it doesn't have to be. These interviews feature individuals who have successfully incorporated self-care into their daily routines. Read their stories, be inspired by them, and take on the challenge of self-care!]
Lillian is a freelance writer based in eastern PA. She is passionate about exploring the connection between the physical and the interior of the human person as seen through personal style. Believing that sartorial choices can dignify the body and aid in the expression of the soul, Lillian draws from St. Pope John Paul II's Theology of The Body as her primary source of inspiration. In her free time, Lillian loves vintage shopping and jamming out to old school tunes. You can find her on Instagram and at her website.
1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Hey! I’m Lillian and I’m a writer. I juggle a few different freelance gigs. My jobs span across marketing content, product descriptions, self-help articles, personal reflections, and honestly, whatever is thrown my way. I’m most passionate about creating content that actually helps people and can better enrich their daily lives. I’m especially passionate about helping women express themselves through their personal style.
2. What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me is spent in my room, writing non-stop. The great thing about being freelance is that I have the freedom to take a break when I need to and hop over to my neighbor’s house (who’s also my best friend) and hang out for a bit. I can also take my work anywhere, so if I want to go and visit my sisters or friends, all I have to do is bring my laptop!
3. What has your relationship to self-care been like throughout your life? Did you always make it a priority?
I always laugh about how my Instagram grid looks very different than my stories. I think it’s a perfect example of what my self-care looks like. On the one hand, I love styling photo shoots with planned out looks and expressing my creativity. On the other hand, my stories pretty much exclusively feature me in oversized sweats, no makeup, and probably chillin’ in bed. My self-care is all about finding a balance between relaxation and being pulled-together.
Wearing an outfit that expresses how uniquely I was made gives me a sense of confidence. It reminds me that I’m one-of-a-kind -- tangibly manifesting the individuality of my personhood through personal style. But, when I’m chilling in my oversized sweats, I’m reminded that my worth doesn’t come from my appearance -- my worth comes from simply being created in the Image and being unconditionally loved by God.
Knowing that I don’t have to look perfect all the time really keeps me grounded and helps me to stop any self-destructive nit-picking behavior. It also gives me the freedom to really dig into the depths of what personal style actually is and express who I really am, not the “perfect” version magazines tell us to be.
4. What is your favorite self-care practice?
My favorite self-care practice is having a strict cut-off time when it comes to work -- especially mentally. It’s really easy to let work infiltrate your thoughts even on your time off, so I’ve worked really hard to get my mind into the habit of listening to myself when I say, “No more. You can’t think about work anymore. You are done until tomorrow morning.” When you’re freelance, clients think they can harass you at any hour of the day -- it’s very common for clients to have little respect for your time. After 5pm, I don’t answer work messages or emails. Since I integrate my Instagram with my work, I stop reading and answering any DM’s that pertain to work after 5pm. I also don’t talk about work or communicate with any clients on the weekends.
When I’m strict with my thoughts, I give myself the freedom to actually benefit from my time off which then increases work productivity during work hours.
5. Is there any area that you struggle to take care of yourself? How do you want to grow in that area?
I definitely struggle with taking care of myself physically when I’m stressed out or busy. I manifest my stress in my body, so when I go through intense periods of stress, I start losing weight and hair. When I’m worrying about the future, stressed about money, a boy, or a deadline, I lose my appetite.
In the past I’ve addressed this stress in a healthy way by channeling it into physical activity and making nutritious meals, but it’s hard for me to stick to when I’m feeling the weight of my anxiety.
6. What do you wish you could tell your younger self when it comes to self-care?
Being busy and stressed out IS NOT COOL. When you’re young, it’s so easy to buy into the American work-a-holic mentality that tells us that being busy means you’re important. We think that not sleeping and having a million things means we’re in high-demand and therefore significant. I wish I could go back and tell myself that working 12 hour days doesn’t define my worth. No grade, no boy, no friendship, no degree, no job is worth your mental health!
Get 8 hours of sleep, please start drinking more water, eat three meals a day, and make time for your social life!
7. Lightening Round!
a. Coffee or tea?
I love coffee but it gives me horrendous heartburn, so I’ve had to switch to herbal tea (that’s sort of self-care, right!?)! Thankfully, I’ve become obsessed with Tazo’s Prickly Pear tea.
b. Current favorite TV show?
I’m a total cliche, but my favorite tv show is and always will be The Office.
c. Early bird or night owl?
Night owl! This a bit unfortunate since I always do my best work in the morning.
d. Favorite quote?
“When people show you who they are, believe them.” Maya Angelou. As a Catholic, I believe in redemption and giving people the chance to change. But I think it’s especially important for young women to stop making excuses for bad behavior from people who take advantage of their kindness. I’ve seen so many good women being burned (myself included) by relationships that have red flags all over it, but thought they were being good Christians by sticking with someone who was not healthy.
e. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
Crunchy almond butter!
Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Lilly!