Sundays are a day to recharge and reset by hanging with friends, turning off your phone, bathing for hours on end, or doing whatever else works for you. In this column (in conjunction with our Instagram Self-Care Sunday series), we ask editors, experts, influencers, writers, and more what a perfect self-care Sunday means to them, from tending to their mental and physical health to connecting with their community to indulging in personal joys. We want to know why Sundays are important and how people enjoy them, from morning to night.
Long before Alex Elle became Insta-famous for her therapeutic massages and poetry, she was channeling her anxiety and depression into writing to work through her mental illnesses. "Writing has always been a major and therapeutic tool in my life. However, it wasn't until I made the intentional choice to write to heal that I could build community through self-care, sisterhood, and storytelling," says the 31-year-old author of the upcoming book After the Rain, which will debut on October 13th.
As time went on, Elle kept up this practice while she was working full-time in the non-profit sector—but she switched the medium from journaling to Instagram, where she eventually self-published her book Words from a Wanderer in 2013 and promoted it on the 'gram to connect with others and build a community for people who were also interested in using writing as a form of healing. Now with over 903k followers, a podcast called “hey, girl," and seven books and journals underneath her belt, this wellness consultant and author has officially succeeded her goal of building self-care practices for a world of people who want to heal through their own journeys.
According to her website, After the Rain is an autobiographical guidebook where Elle delivers "15 lessons on how to overcome obstacles, build confidence, and cultivate abundance." Rather than sticking to poetry—which her audience knows her for—Elle is switching things up to focus on sensitive topics that reflect her life as a Black creative, mother, and daughter through affirmations, meditations, and short stories. "This collection of work is part memoir and part tool that I hope will serve as a companion to those who read it. We are never alone in your struggles, and I think this book will offer a sense of community and support to readers," Elle says.
For this week’s Self-Care Sunday, we spoke to Elle to learn more about her book, her relationship with mental health, and her go-to self-care rituals.
HelloGiggles (HG): How has your relationship with abundance over the years affect your mental health?
Alex Elle (AE): Abundance and mindfulness have reminded me to stay grounded in gratitude and make space for change, even when uncomfortable.
HG: What are some practices you would suggest for others to do if they’re feeling stuck right now?
AE: To greet their challenging time or “stuckness” with curiosity. This practice has helped me a lot. As a writer, I am always asking myself “why” or “how” on the page. It allows me the space to think in a new way and also grow closer to my inner voice.
HG: What physical activities have you been doing lately, especially on weekends?
AE: I’ve been painting! And it’s been such an amazing experience and mental clarifying experience.
HG: How do you suggest others physically connect with their body in a sensual way if they might be having a hard time (any practices or rituals, etc.)?
AE: For me, I like to take my time in the bath or shower, and then after being mindful when applying my lotion or body oils. Not rushing, paying close attention, and getting aligned with my body and what it needs at that moment.
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HG: How have you been staying connected with loved ones during this time?
AE: Lots of FaceTiming and Zoom calls. It’s been great connecting more in this way!
HG: How have you been trying to support the Black creative community during this difficult time?
AE: Reminding us/them that it is okay to make space for rest and moments of pause.
HG: Do you have any self-care products you use to help you connect with Black Joy?
AE: The Handle with Care album by Natalie Lauren (@natalielaurensims). It’s a saving grace every single day. Oh, and my new hula hoops! They are so fun.
HG: How have you been making sure you’re making room for joy and light in your life, even when things feel so bleak?
AE: I pencil myself in every single day. Whether it be for a walk, a mini paint session, hula hooping or dancing with the family.
HG: What is your advice for individuals who want to find more abundance in their life?
AE: Create the time for the little things that bring you joy, even if it’s for five minutes a day.