Why Wellness Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
How often do you see the next “big” secret to your health, rather well-being, as you scroll on Instagram – the quick fixes, the guaranteed solution to whatever obstacles you’re facing? Purchase X with half your paycheck because you deserve to take care of yourself. Take Y because it’s helped thousands look like a dramatized Photoshopped version of a former bodybuilder. (I could write a dozen more while diving into the gentrification of wellness, but I’ll save that for another day.)
They are examples of the outliers, but lately are ones I’ve seen more than I’ve liked to. These marketing tactics grab hold onto the underlying insecurities, whether conscious or subconscious, of people and persuade them to buy whatever it is in front of them.
The wellness industry today
It’s undeniable that the wellness industry has exploded in the past few years. A recent Market Watch article quotes the global health and wellness industry has grown almost $4.2 trillion. With that growth, it seems as though the market has become so over commodified that genuine practices of self-care and legitimate products that contribute to positive well-being are harder to discern for the general consumer.
When marketing materials and advertising claim themselves as being “the” product or service that works for thousands, it’s human nature to automatically think “Why wouldn’t it work for me?” This messaging suggests that wellness looks the same for everyone. That, is something I don’t fully believe.
My personal experience
I’ve come to realize this through my own journey of finding what works for my well-being; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I’ve tested a lengthy list of modalities, trends, products, and services over the course of the past 5 years and counting. Recently, I was looking at old pictures and was brought back to college when I was so wildly confused about how to truly take care of my body and mind. My body was under an immense amount of stress due to college athletics, which I added to at various points throughout my time there when I wasn’t prioritizing consuming the proper nutrients.
Emotional stress on top of that due to school, athletics, and outside life events threw me into a pattern of relying on physical activity to escape. It was the only way I, at that point, knew how to cope with stress and unpleasant feelings and emotions. Tough day? Run. Chaotic day? Lift. Tired? Stop complaining and get up and do it anyway.
I share this past experience because it brings up the point of this entire post. For someone with my personality type and past experiences, being told to exercise even when you’re tired is not the hurdle. The true obstacle is unlearning that default behavior and realizing that my overall health instead could benefit from incorporating more rest and recovery. That realization in itself took time and was hard to swallow. It’s something that I feel like I’m finally starting to make progress on and my body is thanking me for it.
While I’ve tested various “wellness” practices, some lasting longer than others, I’ve since established a shortlist that has remained at the very least part of my monthly routine. That list looks something like this:
- Daily meditation practice, no matter how short (between 5 to 30 minutes)
- Daily or weekly journaling sessions
- Daily meals consisting of primarily vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, beans, fresh fruit, and nuts
- Weekly physical activity; lately, I’ve been aiming for 5 days a week varied across running, lifting, HIIT, or yoga
- Monthly acupuncture or Reiki sessions
That’s it. For me, these are easy to stay consistent with because I’ve witnessed the direct correlation between these actions and benefits to how I feel across mind, body, and soul. For you, these may be unrealistic or simply just not be the right fit. Your personality, lifestyle, body composition, preferences, daily routines all impact what wellness components add to your health rather than drain it.
Be patient with yourself as you explore different modalities and routines. Through trial and error, I do believe everyone can find what works for them at a specific moment in time. I say that because we are not static. Various elements in our lives shift and change, and because of that what worked for you a year, month, week, or even day ago may not be what works for you in the present moment.
Overall my advice towards finding what wellness practices work for you; stay present, be mindful, and remain open to various practices.
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