It seems as though we’re constantly bombarded with new ways to define “wellness.” Whether it’s an intense spin class, a tall glass of vegetable juice or an Instagram workout video tagged as #bodygoals, everyone has their own methods for feeling good and feeling healthy. What wellness means to me is different than what it means for you.
But with so much focus on fitness, it’s easy to forget that wellness applies to more than just the trips you take to the gym each week. Wellness encompasses all of the self-care you take on and the way that self-care makes you feel.
I’m a firm believer in the importance of this all-around approach to wellness, and I want to help others feel the same sense of well-being. That’s why I’ve put together the following tips, actionable ways for you to embody what wellness means to me.
I think the key element to achieving wellness is balance — in fact, the majority of my tips are balance-related. But finding a happy medium in all things related to wellness will make you feel better than ever before.
Like I said, we live in a world that’s so focused — at least, social-media focused — on being fit and healthy 24/7/365. It’s important to exercise and eat well, of course, but making that the focus of your life is not a balanced choice. For me, that much pressure made me feel guilty when I did take a step back and indulge.
The truth is, my life is best lived when I feel balanced. I can have dessert or go all-out at brunch if I load up on veggies at dinner, work out most days but also take rest days, and meet up with friends but enjoy Netflix when I don’t feel up to it. My happiness hangs in this balance, and it’s something everyone should find in order to feel their best.
Another key to wellness for me has been bucking the many wellness trends that seem too good to be true — chances are, they are as they seem. I’ve already mentioned multiple times the obsession with fitness-related social media posts. For some people, that inspires them to continue working out and sticking to a wellness routine. For me, it’s too much pressure, so I avoid posting about my self-care pursuits.
The same can be said about high-intensity workouts, hot yoga, meal-replacement smoothies… the list goes on. Yes, of course, stick to these things if they serve their wellness purpose. But if you don’t like it, ditch it — no matter how good it is for your body, it’s not good for your state of mind.
Instead, find the recipes, the workouts and the expressive outlets that make you feel your best. Those are more than trends — they’re foundations for building the best version of yourself. Follow the beat of your own drum and you’ll find yourself feeling much happier for it.
There was a time when I’d completely ignore my body’s needs for what I thought I had to do. This was especially applicable to sleep: why go to bed early when I could be social, or squeeze in a late-night workout? I’ve realized that sleep is monumentally important to my sense of wellness, as is the ability to listen to understand my body’s cravings and give myself what I need to live at my optimum level.
Your body’s needs won’t start and end with sleep — mine don’t, either. Another huge part of self-care is hydration, which can mute false-alarm hunger pangs, brighten my skin and help me ward off illness. Food cravings should occasionally be acknowledged, as I mentioned before. When I feel the need to vent or work through emotions, I speak to my closest friends or my therapist.
This might be the toughest element of wellness, but it feels so good to achieve. Like many of you, I thought the idea of “inner peace” sounded silly, impossible to achieve. But taking steps to improve own my mental health has absolutely changed my life. It hasn’t been as impossible as I thought it would be, and is a huge factor as for what wellness means to me.
Personally, my mental health is most affected by anxiety. I sought out help from a therapist to help me understand the root of the problem; I also learned ways to calm myself down when I felt overwhelmed. Everyone’s steps to finding inner peace will be different and will require them to overcome specific mental barriers. Freeing your mind is so important to wellness, and I can guarantee you’ll be more balanced and happier when you do.
No matter how you achieve it, one thing is for sure: achieving wellness is a journey. What wellness means to me is different than what it means to you, but finding what makes you feel your best is absolutely worth every step — all you have to do now is take the first one.