Wellness is a low-fat diet. Wellness is an all-fat diet. Wellness is spinning class. No, wellness is yoga. Being “well” is all the rage. But what is it really?
We at W3LL PEOPLE are asking ourselves just this. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a desire to make changes in our lives and then setting goals to reach them, so many traditional ways to frame wellness focus on things we need to stop doing or things we should try harder to do in order to feel “happy”.
We’d prefer to approach feeling well a little bit differently. Instead of examining aspects of our lives we aren’t satisfied with and then making plans to either stop a habit or start a new one to “better” something, we’re looking at the parts of ourselves that we’re proud of, reveling in the things we already do that make us feel whole and well, and embracing the parts of our lives that maybe aren’t exactly where we want them to be, but holding close the truth that gentleness is often the healthiest path to growth and change.
We encourage all of you to join us this year as we choose to embrace ourselves and weigh the meaning of wellness in our lives. Wellness looks a lot of different ways to different people, so instead of a list of resolutions, we wanted to share a few unconventional ways to be well this year.
Going for a Walk
There’s something really special about going for a walk without the intention of using it as a “workout”. Walking around the neighborhood simply to clear your mind and move at your own pace can be so restoring. While walking is obviously good for our bodies, it can be great for our mental wellness too, and gives us a chance to get connected with the outside world around us. If you love music or podcasts, bring them along! This isn’t about doing something in the “right” way, it’s about doing it in a way that makes you feel good.
Calling a Friend
When was the last time you called up a friend simply to say hello and check in on her? We’re so accustomed to using phone calls as a way to meet quick needs: you call to update someone on a change of plans, to ask them a quick question, tell them you’re running late, etc. Calling a friend just to say hello gives you a chance to listen and to show appreciation for someone you care about. Try it out!
Putting Down the Brush
As much fun as makeup is to play with and express ourselves with, and as helpful as it is in making us feel ready to tackle the world, it can be equally rewarding to take a day (or more) to put the brush down. Skip the concealer, skip the mirror and revel in a (self) reflection that’s truly beautiful. Approaching your day with a fresh, bare face and hair up in a bun is a sweet reminder that beauty and confidence really does start on the inside, and that makeup isn’t necessary to feel great about who you are and how you look!
Here’s a tough one that we think can make a world of difference in your wellness journey once you become more comfortable with the idea of it. Saying “no” is not something our culture has taught us to embrace. Instead, we live in a society that tells us to be as available as possible, work as hard as we can, share as much as we can, maximize every moment of our time, and not to miss out on anything. But here’s the secret: learning to say “no” (maybe it’s a no on working late, on going to that party with a crew of people that don’t make you feel good, or no to that second date because the feelings aren’t there) helps to reveal to you all of the things you really want to say “yes” to. Saying “no” just means you get to devote more time to the things that make you feel well!
Putting Your Phone on “Do Not Disturb” Mode
How many times have you gone to bed with a bright little screen staring back at you as you endlessly scroll until your eyes get heavy? Start making a point to put your phone away and on “Do Not Disturb” mode an hour before bed. Not only has research proven that staring at a screen before bed can negatively alter your sleep, it also gives you uninterrupted time in the evenings to relax and unwind with family or yourself. If you end up really enjoying that hour of phone-free time, consider putting it away all together once you’re home for the evening. You might be surprised how freeing it feels.
Maybe you consider yourself to be the worst dancer on the planet, but that’s not what this is about. Turning up the tunes at home and just dancing around the house– even for 10 minutes– can send a jolt of joy through you that will set the tone for the rest of your day. Sure, it might feel a little funny at first to prance around your house, but it’s a great way to get moving and can elevate your mind to a higher, happier frequency. If picking a song and trying to dance along with it feels too uncomfortable, try looking up workout videos that utilize dancing as the workout. It might give you a little more structure as you try this wellness exercise and you’ll get a little cardio in along the way.
Reading Something Daily (Not on your phone!)
Whether it’s emails, articles, or too-long instagram captions, most of us spend so much time reading from our phones now that we rarely pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper to enjoy. We’re not saying you need to be cracking open a thick novel daily and working hard to finish it by a certain date. We think reading a short daily meditation, an article from an actual magazine, or a few pages of your favorite fiction novel each evening is great. It’s not so much about trying to complete something, but rather about going back to basics in our phone-centric world.
Taking a Nap
We’ll admit it: this is probably our favorite way to be well. But taking naps is a lot easier said than done! Recognizing when we’re tired and then giving ourselves permission to rest– regardless of what’s on our plates at the moment– is a really tough thing to do. From a social standpoint, napping can easily be mistaken for laziness, but if you need to rest, give yourself the time and space to do it. Naps can recharge you physically and emotionally, and can actually help you be a more present and connective person because you’re well-rested and alert.
We encourage you to think about your own ways of being well. Wellness is a personal journey, and one that shouldn’t be characterized by guilt or trying to “get it all done” in a certain way. We hope you find time to pause and appreciate the ways you’re already practicing wellness, and to discover new ways of wellness that vibe with you!