When you hear the words "self care is a revolutionary act," what thoughts come to mind?

Is it the triumph that taking care of yourself can bring? Or is it the political act of how self-care can shape the ideology and morality behind an individual's thinking?
When we put ourselves first, we are taking a stance against anything that disrupts our inner peace and dims our outer glow, and we are on our way to achieving freedom physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Photo Courtesy of @GirlTrek

Based on the premise of their she-ro Harriet Tubman and her journey to freedom through walking, GirlTrek believes in the revolutionary act of self-care and how walking can be a political and personal act. Everyday, 137 black women die from a preventable disease. But just through the act of walking alone, GirlTrek, the largest public health non-profit for African American women, has created a movement that encourages women to practice healthy habits in order to live their best lives. Founders Vanessa and Morgan, strongly believe in the security and evolution of the black woman, and through GirlTrek fostered a two-day retreat for women to come together and have a weekend where they lived stress-free.

Photo Courtesy of @GirlTrek

This past Labor Day weekend, GirlTrek hosted their first #StressProtest in Estes Park, Colorado. With the picturesque view of the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop, 200 Black women embarked on a quest to self-love and sisterhood, leaving with memories none of us will ever forget. Attendees ranged in age from 19 years old to mid to late 60's and over 60% of the women in attendance had never gone to a GirlTrek event before, including myself. Most participants came across the meeting on social media, while some are currently active members in their GirlTrek community and discovered #stressprotest through that network. Morgan and Vanessa created a space this weekend for the gathering of a community. From laughter to tears to shouts to claps, we all lived our best life in the Rockies as integral parts of team GirlTrek and as black women who make their health a priority.

Photo Courtesy of @GirlTrek

A number of workshops were also had that ranged from a myriad of topics including Sexology by Shannon Boody, Afro Flow Yoga by Leslie Jones, Glow Up by Jewel Bush, Soul Drumming, Trap Yoga and so much more! My favorite and honestly the one that caught me the most off guard was taught by Jeanine Abraham. Her rhythm therapy experience had me with tears streaming down my face, as I allowed myself to release years of negative body image, low self-esteem, and trauma, and let love in from all of my sisters around me. I also taught a body positivity workshop that focused on embracing ourselves and our bodies at our current life stage, and celebrating all of the goodness that our bodies have allowed us to achieve. There were also several sports activities to engage in including sunrise walks, beginner and advanced hikes, horseback riding, swimming, archery, and more!

Photo Courtesy of @GirlTrek

I wish I had enough words to describe my experience this weekend. I came to the mountain with one mission, to let go of pent up inhibitions about myself, but I ended up leaving with so much more. We all held space for each other up there in Colorado, and respected our tears, our victories, and our womanhood. Each woman I came across traveled to the mountaintop for various reasons. One had just lost a son to gun violence two months prior, and needed a release. The next woman hiked a spiritual journey in India, and came to #StressProtest for the sisterhood that Girltrek had given her, and others came because they were on their journeys to freedom and needed a bit of motivation that only a sista can give. I can truly say though that each of us left that mountain with 200 new sisters and a whole new sense of self-worth.

NC Editor Lauren, completing her hike at 10,000 ft. above sea level!
We are powerful beings y'all, and #StressProtest reminded me that my personal is political. My being is revolutionary and my existence is necessary. I really did leave it all on the mountaintop, and Girltrek has a new member in me.

So will you attend #StressProtest next year? Why is self-care revolutionary to you?

I would love to know!

Let us know your thoughts below, or on Facebook!

For more on my #StressProtest journey, check out my ig @WhatsUpLauren_!