We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Kantzavelos and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
I have two, actually… The first one is used in the Begin Within Today: A Daily Healing Journal that I created and recently published. It’s Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote, “Breathe! You’re alive.” I believe when we are really stressed out, anxious, depressed, worried, ill, etc., that this quote offers some perspective. The most important thing about living is our breath. If we are breathing, then there is room for gratitude.

The second quote is Yung Pueblo’s, “Your healing lifts up the ocean of existence. When you heal we all heal.” It reminds us of the importance of taking care and healing every aspect of ourselves in order to take care of each other.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

I continue to wear a few different hats, however, the largest hat at the moment is my private practice, Begin Within Today, and my new wellness journal, Begin Within – A Daily Healing Journal. At Begin Within Today, I offer mind-body psychotherapy, life coaching, elder care planning, case management, and resources for those with chronic illness, and developmental, physical, and age-related disabilities. However, I am most proud of the daily wellness and healing journal I created.

When I became couch-bound due to chronic illness, I completely transformed my life and dedicated everything to healing. One aspect of that was committing to journaling. My goal was to track my day-to-day symptoms, as well as what worked, what didn’t work, recognize when days were challenging, and honor my accomplishments (big or small). This was especially helpful during healthcare appointments to recall my symptoms. Journaling every night helped me realize that I was indeed on the road to healing, even if I was simply only able to breathe that day. I looked for a journal that offered prompts related to the mind-body experience (physical and emotional), however, I couldn’t find one. Finally, I realized I needed to create it for both myself, and others. This is how the Begin Within: A Daily Healing Journal was born. And over a year later, it’s now available to all to use as a healing tool.

One of my favorite parts of this project is that a portion of each journal sold is donated to a different organization each month, that provides support, resources, or research to those with chronic illness. To say it wasn’t easy is an understatement. Creating anything while experiencing chronic illness is a challenge, and generally takes longer than it would for our non-chronically ill counterparts. I knew little to nothing about marketing, or business (and I am still very much learning). I am grateful to my content designer, Stephanie Neutze, who learned how to design from scratch in order to help me out. She also encouraged me to use my own art for the covers. I am also grateful to my friends, and the chronic illness community who have organically helped me market this through social media, and word of mouth.

This journal isn’t just for those with chronic illness, it’s for anyone looking for a wellness resource. My other two hats are in writing and blogging. I am a professional content writer who curates custom content for brands and businesses in San Diego, and beyond. I am also an award-winning gluten-free food, travel, health and lifestyle blogger, and writer @buenqamino. I thrive in being a ‘multipotentialite,’ and creating space for the endeavors that I am most passionate about.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Considering we are still in a stay-at-home order, I would ask them to return back when it was safe for everyone. When that does happen, I would take them to the best gluten-free restaurants and cafes, including my own kitchen. We would visit Balboa Park, hang out, and have a picnic at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas (maybe even watch the sunset), visit a farmer’s market, hike some of Torrey Pines, as well as a trail, or two in Mount Laguna. If it’s cool enough, I would also take them to Borrego Springs to check out the art sculptures there. My favorite part about San Diego is how diverse our landscape is. We have the desert, ocean, and mountains (even snow), all within a reasonable distance. You can literally go from sea level to 6,000 ft. (palm trees to pine trees) within one hour. I feel very grateful for it.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this to my best friend, and soul sister, Stephanie Nuetze (@forloveandbliss). She was the content designer for the Begin Within Journal, and it wouldn’t be here without her help and patience. Thank you and love you, Stepanie!

A second shoutout out to my amazing partner, who has supported and encouraged me the entire way. Also, Stacy Keck for the gorgeous website photos.

Website: www.beginwithintoday.com
Instagram: @beginwithintoday
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/christinakantzavelos
Twitter: www.twitter.com/bwtjournal
Facebook: www.facebook.com/betinwithintoday
Youtube: www.youtube.com/beginwithintoday
Other: www.instagram.com/buenqamino www.twitter.com/buenqamino www.pinterest.com/buenqamino www.buenqamino.com/ www.christinakantzavelos.com www.pinterest.com/beginwithintoday

Image Credits
Stacy Keck