Holistic Health, Human Rights & Self-Care with Richie Maitland

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In this interview, we talk with Richie Maitland about his self-care practices, how he remains balanced and inspired and the importance of human rights with regards to health.

Firstly, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Richie Maitland and I don’t really like to define myself by my job, I see myself as a philosopher shackled by the bonds of society and the need to work. Otherwise, i’m just an attorney-at-law. If I could just sit everyday and think about the big questions of life and get paid for that, that’d be excellent.

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Being a lawyer and having major workload and a lot of people that depend on you, what keeps you balanced?

I run. I think running for me is definitely one of my most important balancing exercises. I just love getting to that point where my breath and my movement reconcile and work in perfect harmony and that always brings a sense of balance to me. Introversion, just having personal space and time where I can just sit and be with myself and be self reflective and churn over my thoughts, and whatever little flaws in my mind. Being creative also keeps me extremely balanced. There’s something about the act of creation that just fills my cup and lends balance to my life, so I would say those things. One of my self-care things is therapy as well, that’s one of the things I didn’t mention that’s also important.

What are your challenges with self-care?

Building routines. That’s extremely difficult, because I see the importance of routine in self-care. It allows us to better prioritize the things we want to do, otherwise we just keep getting sidelined by other things which can seem more important; so building routine. That primarily, I also think my profession is quite difficult. Because for instance yesterday, I had just planned to get some physical therapy, to get a run in, but then an application just kinda dropped on my desk that had to be dealt with immediately. So my profession makes it difficult sometimes because it can be very disruptive and when you’re dealing with people’s lives you know, you won’t say “can I just ignore this application to go and run?” Probably not you know.

As a human rights lawyer, how important do you think human rights are to health?

How a person feels, a person's health, particularly mental health is dependent on a lot of circumstances which are outside of them. For instance, how accepted they feel within their family and society, how much violence and harassment they have to face in their everyday life within their workplaces, how much of a sense of dignity and worth they have in themselves and what they can achieve, are things that are extremely important to the human condition. Of course human rights go a long way to push society into the direction of providing that substrate for all people within society, so human rights are extremely important for that reason. Even as it relates to for instance physical health, we all know that when you have high levels of stigma against persons within society, lets say as it relates to MSM, men who have sex with men, or even drug users; where human rights isn't able to make a valuable intervention to address those stigmas and discriminations, what you have is populations, particularly vulnerable populations being pushed underground, not seeking treatment which ultimately makes the problem worse. So there's also a public health element to human rights, which people don’t often immediately see.

Grenada being such a small island, what keeps you inspired?

My energetic tentacles extend globally. For instance, last year I submitted a short story that I wrote to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. So i’m very tapped into these kinds of international things that are happening. The reality is, as you said, Grenada is small and that can be really fucking stressful. It’s really difficult to tap into a community of people you vibe with and be creative whether it’s musically or writing or whatever the case may be. So yeah I just have to find it where I could get it, which is internationally.

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What’s your favourite home remedy?

Intimate connection with my fiancé.

What’s your favourite fruit?

Julie Mango

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to drink much more water and build a routine. The thing about routines is the earlier you establish them, the firmer they get. So I would encourage my younger self to start both physical and mental self care routines from earlier. Just making active time to just be peaceful.