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Life & Work with Amanda Levine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Levine.

Hi Amanda, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m the owner/founder of JunaBlu, which offers products and resources to help individuals explore what self-care means to them. We source our self-care shop items from small businesses and artisans with community, sustainability, beauty, and philanthropy in mind. Our blog features personal stories about mental health, self-care and self-love to help our community navigate their own journeys. I have struggled my whole life with mental illness, and self-care was not a word that was a part of my vocabulary until I was first introduced to the concept in a group therapy session in 2014 when I was in treatment for alcohol addiction.

At the time, I had zero sense of self-care or self-love, and I slowly learned how important those things are. It started with building daily habits, such as making my bed or journaling — tasks that, little by little, helped me establish my self-care practices by taking care of my body, having respect for my living space and prioritizing my mental health and sobriety. I didn’t know it at the time, but these foundational habits eventually became the basis for JunaBlu! I hope that by sharing my story, as well as those from a diverse community of JunaBlu contributors, and offering tools and resources for individuals to explore what practices and routines best work for them, I can help inspire a new generation of self-care — one that’s prioritizes inclusivity, accessibility and sustainability.

I’m not saying a face mask or a few breathing exercises will change your life, but making the intentional choice to invest in and take time for yourself can be a powerful force for healing and growth. And the goal of JunaBlu is to be a resource and aid in that journey.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My road to the creation of JunaBlu was NOT smooth, as you can tell from my story above. The journey wasn’t ever easy or linear. I continually had to learn, unlearn and relearn these lessons about the importance of practicing self-care. But now, I am able to pass on what I have learned (and am still learning) to the JunaBlu community! I also did not go to business school; I studied interior design in college. And while that experience helped me with the creative aspects of JunaBlu, and my extensive retail background helped me with the product side … actually creating JunaBlu has been the ultimate course in building a business. I’ve been fortunate to have many really amazing people supporting and mentoring me along the way.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
What sets JunaBlu apart from other retailers and content creators is our heart-centered mission. We aim to be inclusive of all races, genders and sexual identities. We want to create a safe space that creates a dialogue about the importance of practicing self-care and taking care of our mental health. And we want to have fun while doing it! We might miss the mark sometimes, but we are growing alongside our community members and always looking for ways to improve and to better support everyone.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
I don’t think I have a favorite childhood memory that I can specifically point out. But I grew up dancing, and I loved dance class. I was a very quiet, anxious child, so that was where I could really be free. The discipline, routine and exercise were good for me. But I also just had a lot of fun, enjoyed the challenge and loved using the dance room alone in high school. It became a safe space for me to express myself and clear my mind.

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