by Aidan Encarnacao


What’s your favourite color?
I've always gravitated towards olive. To me it represents the earth and my innate connection to it.

What’s your favourite ‘go-to’ recipe?
When it comes to food, especially a home-cooked meal, I like to keep it simple. One of my go-to's is pasta with some sautéed mushrooms, grilled sweet onions, a ton of sautéed kale and a sweet potato. It's easy, super cost efficient, and healthy. Whenever I eat it my body feels good and that's how I know I'm giving it the right foods.

What self-care habits do you intertwine into your daily routine?
The second I wake up I check on my plants. I recently became a plant mom about 3 months ago and I'm obsessed with the process of taking care of something living other than myself. Watching them grow and fill my space with fresh oxygen calms me. On the days I'm feeling particularly anxious, I meditate. Usually guided meditation or a sound bath. We don't realize how little time we take to just sit, do nothing, be still, and tap in to ourselves. On the days I'm really trying to tune in and wind down, I'll smudge my room with sage and then light incense to cleanse my space. I try to keep my bedroom free of negative energy whenever I feel it present.

What's your favourite book and what book had the largest impact on you?
I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen is a masterpiece. It's about the value of validation through communication and listening to understand. It focuses on removing the ego, increasing empathy, and de-escalation so that a deeper connection can be fostered. It's one of those books that will forever alter how you interact with everyone around you.

Who can you talk to when you need to get something off your chest?
I always call my dad when I need to vent. I'm just like him so he typically matches my energy no matter the situation. I swear I talk to that man at least twice a day and when I don't call, he'll text me to ask if I'm okay or check my location to see what's up. As my father he has always been a trusted voice and a best friend.

Where’s your safe place?
My safe place is by the ocean or a remote location immersed in nature. When I need to reset and reconnect these are the places I travel to. They always bring me back to me or create the space for me to discover a version of myself I have yet to reach.

Have you ever dealt with anxiety? If so, what triggers it and how do you calm your mind?
I've dealt with variations of anxiety throughout the years. It could be little things like replying to a text or arriving home after dark and being on edge about potential danger. In moments like this I will speak with myself often aloud. I ask myself "Why are you scared? What are you fearing?" I work through the situation as if I'm two different people. I put a face to an emotion and focus on understanding it. When that familiar unsolicited feeling arises again, I can identify it and overcome it because now I know what it is.

Have you or someone you love ever been in a dark place? If so, what were the steps taken to get out?
I was in a dark place earlier this year. I was in a space of removing people from my life who took from my energy as well as trying to rediscover who I was. I spent a lot of time meditating. I spent a lot of time feeling all the feels. I think that's the most important thing we can do. Let ourselves feel whenever we feel. Toxic positivity makes us feel guilty for being sad. Like it could be worse or we'll get over it, but you can't get over it until you go through it. As I was going through my healing, I asked myself what I needed. I realized I needed to redesign my bedroom because that is where I do the most internal work. And so I spent time adding pieces to the space to make it feel more representative of who I wanted to be. I started buying plants as decoration and quickly realized how much joy they brought to my life. I now have nine. I spent time expressing my pain to people I could trust. People who held abundant amounts of space and healing for me. The whole experience was centred around unlearning and relearning everything I thought I knew.

Do you think social media affects your mental health or has any other negative impacts on you? If so, how do you best deal with it?
Social media can be like the super popular kids in school whose lives seem perfect and insanely desirable, but in reality are dealing with their own traumas and their own insecurities. There's this recurring facade of the perfect life on social media. Perfectly curated content great for branding and business but simultaneously placing an extreme amount of pressure on those who consume it. The person seeing the photo has no idea that I was in a bad mental space when the photo was taken. There was a time when I would post even when I didn't want to. Now, I make a conscious choice to post what I feel when I feel it. Social media is this never ending carousel of constructed realities. It takes time and awareness to be able to discern what's real from what's designed. Some of the biggest content creators have the worst forms of social anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. I think sharing our faults and fears as equally as we share our successes could open up a space of real connection. When I start to feel triggered from social media I will remind myself that I do not know this person who I am apparently jealous of and I do not know their struggle. This reminds me that my path is my own and the success of another can never take away mine.

What’s the biggest change you can identify within yourself in the past year?
My self-worth has increased in ways I never thought possible. It has allowed me the freedom to express without shame, to deny simply because I do not wish to and to remove all limits on my potential. I no longer tolerate at the expense of my well-being and I speak out when I feel called to.

What changes do you want to see within yourself in the coming year? 
I've been manifesting financial freedom, mental clarity, and abundance in love and friendship so within the next year I plan to watch each come to fruition. I am excited to reach my highest self.

What’s one of the hardest things you’ve had to go through in life? How did you get through it?
The loss of anyone whether it be in death or in the end of a friendship has never been easy for me. I value connection and people so much that when that connection is severed I take it pretty had. Seeking closure even if that means I have to find it within myself has helped me to the deepest healing. As I get older and hopefully wiser I realize that in lost friendships knowledge is gained and in death bonds can never be broken.

What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
"F*** fear. Do it scared." One of my favorite quotes that should be applied to everything in life that we are too afraid to do out of fear of failure or judgement. We let fear hold us back from fully living, so I would tell my younger self to F fear and do it scared because there is nothing worse than the regret of not trying.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt?
Transparency can elevate your whole world. If you love someone, tell them. If you don't want to do something, say it. If you need help, ask for it. Being transparent with who you are and what you want will open doors for you, you will never realize what needed to be opened.

If you could change one thing within society, what would that be?
I wish the educational system held mandatory classes on connection and communication. Teaching how to understand our emotions and our thoughts. Learning how to feel with someone rather than being sympathetic for them. These skills define and structure our lives and yet there is no importance placed on them in school. Instead of learning how to be ready for the next grade or the next test, why not learn how to understand and accept each other and ourselves so that we can develop the truly important skills to navigate through the real world and actually feel ready for it?