From an early age, co-founders and sisters Renee and Tiffany Tam knew that community and family were an essential part of life. Their parents owned shops in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood — a tight knit community where people looked out for each other from family to family. If the young girls weren’t at their parents’ shops, they were with their grandparents or around the neighborhood with other friends and family in the community. This made Chinatown like a second home to the girls. It also made it incredibly special when they had the opportunity to open up their own brick and mortar kimono store in the same neighborhood that took care of them throughout their childhoods and beyond.
It’s this kind of community that makes a place feel like home. When the Tam sisters opened up KIM+ONO on Grant Avenue, they didn’t just want to sell their modern silk floral kimono robes. They wanted to create a wellness hub for the entire community — a place where tourists and locals alike could wander in, take a deep breath, and feel like they can relax in a beautiful and nourishing environment. It’s the same thing we hope you feel in your own home. We hope you can find those moments of self care that make you feel well taken care of and loved. But something the Tam sisters learned that is true for all of us, is that community care and self care go hand in hand. So today in the journal, we’re talking about creating a sense of true home through the conversation between community care and self care. Read on for more about the importance of self care and community care:
We know by now how important self care is to feeling well. Everyone deserves to feel good, and feeling good can look different for everyone. The most important part of determining what kind of self care is the best for you is to determine what feels the best to you. Maybe your form of self care has to do with going on a road trip by yourself one a quarter. Or maybe you’re someone who loves making your home a sanctuary, and you slip into your plus size silk robe with your rose quartz gua sha tool every night to give your skin a little extra self care. Perhaps your self care is making sure you’re eating healthy or sleeping enough. Perhaps it’s just giving a call to your best friend once a week to check in and feel connected to what makes you laugh and what makes you feel known. All of these self care acts have the ability to make you feel a little better every day. Something you (more than) deserve.
It’s almost impossible to be without a community of some kind. Whether that’s friends you meet up with every day or the friends you’ve made on social media, the folks at your religious institution, or even your neighbors, community is all around you in some form or another. If you live close to your family, then you know how much those relationships can influence your day to day life. And if you live far away from family, then you also know how those relationships can influence your life in more subtle ways — whether it’s’ through the phone calls, the visits, and the check-ins. Community is a huge part of our lives and caring for those in our community, and our community as a whole, is an important part of feeling well.
In the most connected communities, self care and community care go together. What this might look like is that the members of the community give themselves the self care they need so that they can each go back out and give back to the community at large. There is a high value placed on everyone’s wellness, not at the expense of each other, but in conversation with each other. If you’re able to take care of yourself — even if it’s just wearing your women’s duster robe as a soft and gentle to wake up in the morning, or fixing yourself a cup of tea at night, or giving your skin some love with a rose quartz gua sha tool — you will have more energy and inspiration to pour back into others in your community. And when the community feels cared for, the individuals in that community can also feel a deep sense of care. It’s a beautiful, cyclical nourishing of both self and community.
Photo by Miranda Taylor De Lay
One way to give yourself a deeper sense of self care is to honestly ask yourself what makes you feel good! Sometimes it’s hard to know that if you’re not slowing down to really consider the question. Our suggestion when trying to get clear on what makes you feel good is to get quiet and still. Slip into your favorite floral kimono robe, light a candle, and journal about what might make you feel nourished, reenergized, and calm. You might find out you need more or less exercise, more or less quiet time, more or less variety and novelty in your life. What works for one person may not work for someone else, so the goal is not to copy someone else’s self care ideas, but to find what works best for you.
And when you feel well-rested and well take care of yourself, it’s time to strengthen your community. One way to do that is to think of what your community needs and ask how you can help contribute to providing that. Perhaps your kid’s school’s PTA needs more volunteers and you can join up in improving the school system. Perhaps there is an empty lot that could benefit from a garden and you have a green thumb. Perhaps there are older folks in your neighborhood or building that could use a visit and you have some extra time. Think about what your community needs and how you can uniquely serve that need in some way.
Let the self care you do at home propel you to energetically give back to your community. The benefits are tenfold and keep coming back to you once you start.