Wellness | The wellness trap that could actually make you feel worse, how trying to get wellness "right" can be harmful.
This might sound a little crazy , as someone who is a huge wellness lover , who has created a wellness based brand who loves to meditate , journals her life away, adores crystals , herbal supplements and all things essential oils … but wellness can be very damaging , and i'm not talking about overdoing it at yoga class here ( although please take care ) i’m talking about our mental health .
There is no right way
Have your gong baths , do your yoga , hug tree’s , take your supplements , journal and meditate to your heart's content… but you don't HAVE to do these things to improve your wellbeing, sometimes the way these things are marketed can make us feel that if we don't have a night time routine that includes meditating, journaling , cleansing our crystals and taking our special teas that we will never be the best version of ourselves. Selling us the notion that feeling great is just on the other side of doing or buying something, basically putting wellness out of reach, creating a wellness privilege.
This can create a huge pressure to;
1. Do things that we don't actually enjoy or benefit from because we feel we should and,
2. Try and pack these things into what could possibly be an already jam packed day.
I love to find out about new ways to bring some harmony or happiness into my life , to try new things to aid my wellness journey, and many of us do , but there are no set standards of how to support ourselves. What one person enjoys another will not , what is comforting and calming to one person is triggering and stressful to another . You don't have to do it all , you don't even have to do any of it , if wellness to you is a bath in peace with a good book you do it . If it's a walk do it, if it's binge watching your fave tv show or not having to cook do it !! if you fancy meditating every night do it , there is no secret formula , your not going to fail the wellness exam if you don't do yoga, it's a very personal journey.
We don't have to be happy all the time .
The wellness trend of positivity is wonderful I mean filling the world with joy is bloody marvellous right ? , but it can also be toxic when we find ourselves living in fear or panic because we feel sad , when we fight these supposed “negative” feelings instead of facing them, when people not only feel disappointed when something goes wrong but then also feels guilt for feeling this way.
I mean Isn't it crazy to feel guilty about having emotions ?
and not forgetting those living with stress and anxiety related illness , those with depression who are made to feel like they are failing because they aren't able to “just see the positive “.
Every day I see social media full of ways to help you “stay positive” so much advice on “ways to change those negative feelings into positive ones” , and now i'm not here to say we should stop doing this , I for one find these things very very beneficial, however perhaps they need to be balanced with a bit more reality , with posts to tell us “it’s ok to feel your feelings” and that “ we don't have to be happy all the time “
We kind of need to take a step back from labelling our feelings as positive and negative …. They are all just emotions, its fluidity you're going to change and morphe and your feelings do the same .We are not meant to be stagnant, feelings should come and go , morph and change with us . it's ok to have “negative feelings” it's ok to have times where we feel sad , or disappointed or angry , we should honor these feelings we should be kind to ourselves and say its ok for me to feel this right now .
Ok we don't want to live in these feelings this also isn't a healthy place to be , but having time to honor the way we feel , understand why and then take steps to take care of ourselves is a much kinder way to support our wellbeing .
For example when my child falls and cries , the first thing I used say is “ah don't cry” we don't want to see them upset or hurt, but what we are actually saying without even realising is we shouldn't express this certain emotion ,that we should only put out in the world feelings that are “positive” that some feelings are acceptable and others are not. I personally decided to change this, I found that if i wanted my child to be able to handle his emotions, I have to help him do so, so I changed my reaction to “ I would cry if I hurt my knee “ it changed the whole dynamic of the situation , I was saying it's ok to have that feeling . Afterwards we would follow up with something nice , like cuddle , a movie , a bubble bath … honoring his feelings and then taking steps to take care of him, and hopefully teaching him that it's ok to feel your feelings and he shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed to be feeling this way , and give him tools to help care for himself.
The fact is , there is no magic key - no product, no activity, no affirmation that is going to magically make your life great . There are no set rules for things to do , we don't have to hug trees if we don't want to , and it's 100% fine if you want to . You don't have to be happy and positive all the time, and you shouldn't live in fear of your own feelings . Wellness isn't an exclusive group, there is no criteria to take part , wellness is different for every single person , it is an accumulation of decisions each day that have a positive effect on our minds , body and life. You just do you .
I recently listened to a great podcast by Fearne cotton , which inspired me to share my feelings on this you can check it out here.