As the current wellness director at Eaton DC, self-care is at the core of everything Tara Purnell does. Her passion and desire to help others in the community heal and become their best self is palpable and inspiring. We caught up with Purnell about her own wellness journey and her role at Eaton DC.
District Fray: How did you get introduced to the wellness space?
Tara Purnell: It was more like wellness emerged as this catch-all way to identify things I was already doing to help myself or others feel better more of the time. Growing up as an ambitious, socially conscious polymath in D.C., there were a lot of things I would do that felt frivolous, generally unproductive or just plain weird. Now I know that most of those things were the beginnings of self-soothing and self-care practices. Many of them were part of my lineage — things my Black parents normalized at home for our well-being. Spending time in nature, taking baths, listening to instrumental music, drinking tea and fresh juices, aromatherapy, tinkering and drawing.
How have your wellness practices evolved?
My transcendental meditation practice opened me up to new heights of alignment in 2007. Since then, I’ve explored countless healing modalities and therapies to address the trauma of dating violence, emotional abuse and misogynoir. I have been blessed to befriend and study under world-renowned yogis, philosophers and artists, neuroscientists, integrative medicine doctors, food scientists, coaches, psychotherapists and musicians. I love questioning it all and finding out about new ways I can improve the human experience.
Are there any changes you’ve made at Eaton DC you’re particularly proud of?
I’m very interested in decolonizing wellness and creating more accessible and inclusive means to wellbeing at Eaton. It’s noteworthy that the majority of our wellness practitioners are now people of color, serving unmet community needs for those closest to injustice and trauma. I co-create sliding scale offerings, community wellness days and impact rates for aligned business partners; I also created the Eaton Wellness Institute for social wellness resources and education. Overall, Eaton Wellness fosters an inclusive environment devoted to self-reflection and a connection of the mind, body and spirit.
Can you share your favorite self-care tips for readers to practice at home?
Most simply, I’d recommend taking a few deep breaths a few times a day. When time permits, it’s been fun for me to rethink my apartment interiors to welcome more sensuality at home. I wrote a whole article about that process — “A Sensual Reset for Every Corner of Your Home” for Dame.com
Rapid Fire Round
Favorite D.C. area restaurant?
Favorite music venue?
The Kennedy Center.
Currently, Rubell Museum.
There are too many artists I cherish to choose one.