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Self-care, self-help, self-realization, self-confidence – wellness as a concept, practice and industry is steeped in the idea that the physical and mental needs of an individual need to be prioritized for a healthy, balanced existence. Where online community Self Practice stands out from the crowd is in its mindful empowerment of “me” in relation and support of the “we” – a global platform where members are invited to explore the intersection of wellness, compassion, art and design guided by site founder and director, Lauren Trend.
“At Self Practice we are focused on fostering and striving for Intersectional Well-Being,” says Trend, “I fundamentally believe that they are two in the same.”
Self Practice was born from a conundrum every creative faces at one time or another during their career: how to balance health, happiness and professional accomplishment. With a professional and academic background in fashion design, Trend admits she had once found herself consumed by “the pressure and demand of the design industries” before prioritizing her own well-being. “I realized I needed my creative and physical health to exist in unison for my career to be sustainable and fulfilling,” she shared.
The epiphany led Trend to explore a holistic approach to her own career, one encapsulating the aggregate knowledge and experience of a professional creative in relation to the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the human being. “It was the first time in my career that I had allowed all of me to exist within the same space… Design has and will always be far more than a practice or profession. It’s a means of connection, not only to others but to ourselves.”
This inward-outward approach became the foundation of Self Practice’s numerous workshops and tools, each intended to help guide individuals toward self-reflection, in turn evolving into “inspired action”.
When we can understand our own behaviors, patterns, preferences and needs – we can use that self awareness to not only meet ourselves with compassion, but also understand where our privilege intersects with the marginalization and underrepresented needs of others.
As a personal practice and industry, Trend recognizes wellness connotes privilege, one where the purchase of things is intended to quell the fears and anxieties of modern life. “I’m more interested in assessing the totality of another’s experience, and consider what well-being means, specifically, to them – understanding that all definitions, views and examples can and should be in contrast to the next person’s.”
With a few exceptions of printed material, Trend used her Squarespace website to make the majority of Self Practice’s online resources free and accessible to all, a cornerstone of the platform’s commitment toward accessibility. “We further democratize our offering through our Every Body Program, ensuring that marginalized folx always have prioritized and equitable access to our tools.”
I know we’re by no means alone in our experience, and to be able to operate digitally and online, in large part the same way we did before the pandemic, has been something I’ve remained aware of and grateful for.
While Self Practice has had to put in-person workshops on hold during the pandemic, Trend perseveres and has pivoted toward directing her online community in a variety of online workshops, including intentional journaling. Participants put pen to paper as an introspective study to help assemble a more realized and nuanced sense of self, while also pragmatically developing the tools to address and conquer common pitfalls, such as creative ruts, with knowledgeable calm and confidence.
The current state of the world has also allowed Trend more time to update and maintain the Self Practice website with greater attention, a responsibility she has always taken upon herself whether it be site design or user experience. Trend credits the Squarespace platform as being accessible, with an easily editable interface that has empowered her to take control of every facet of the site’s content and aesthetics. “[It has] made it possible for me to turn an idea into a tangible reality, overnight.”
Self Practice and Lauren Trend underline there is no singular defined path for the creative to follow verbatim, whether it be for work or wellness. “There’s no one way to be well. And this is a truth that is championed within all that we do.”
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