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How To Jump Into Wellness Without Getting Overwhelmed

How To Jump Into Wellness Without Getting Overwhelmed

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Paleo is the new vegan. Gluten free is better than dairy free. High fat is better than low fat. Kombucha is good for you. Kombucha is bad for you. Kombucha is good but only between 6 ounces and 12 ounces between the hours of 9AM-12PM.

Oh.

                                                       My.

                                                                                                         Wellness.

It's enough to make you want to drop your organic Non-GMO, Nut-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Joy-free air butter and march straight to Cinnabon to drown your sorrows and confusion in a flakey, gooey, sugar-topped pastry. 

When I was first getting into wellness and working with a nutritionist, I was so overwhelmed by all the information and schools of thought and influencers that insisted that their approach was best that I actually just shut down. I stopped seeing my nutritionist. I stopped trying to follow her instructions. I went back to eating how I usually did because it was all just too much. 

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Over the next two years, I dipped my toes back into the wellness world and learned to swim, even if I was still unsure which boat to grab onto. I began experimenting with my diet, my fitness, and my lifestyle. I started following influencers I didn't feel like were shoving product messaging at me and I bought books on inflammation, Ayurveda, Paleo, Bulletproof, Ketogenic, and more. I tried what resonated with me from what I learned and discarded the rest.

I tried the "crazy stuff" that didn't work, like eating a tablespoon of ghee in the morning, and I tried the "crazy stuff" that did, like essential oil pills for immunity and throwing out all my toxic makeup (goodbye Nars Orgasm :-(). I wasn't overwhelmed anymore by all the information because I shifted my perspective, no longer being told what to do but having real agency in the choices I was making, thinking critically and tuning into what worked for my body, not what people were telling me had to work. 

These two pictures are of the same meal. Wellness means something different for everyone. 

These two pictures are of the same meal. Wellness means something different for everyone. 

And in this case, wellness for me meant a giant salad and even bigger skillet of ice cream sundae :-) 

And in this case, wellness for me meant a giant salad and even bigger skillet of ice cream sundae :-) 

It took time. Literal years to get to this point and I can still be overwhelmed if I find a new school of thought that I feel might work. But here's the point: you are you. There is no one else quite like you. That's right, when your parents told you growing up that you were "special" they were actually priming you to make choices for yourself, your unique physical, psychological, spiritual makeup. Thanks parents! 

I am not perfect. Physically, mentally, spiritually, or otherwise. But wellness is not about being perfect. It's about feeling good in your own skin. And it's something you have to constantly work at. It should be enjoyable, not overwhelming! 

Here are a few tips and tricks for cutting through the clutter and figuring out what works for you. 

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Listen To Your Body

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  • Trust Your Gut: Our bodies tell us what we need all the time. They're constantly providing signals and saying "Hey! Over here! Do this!". Often, we try to ignore the signals if we don't like what our body is telling us. Turn towards those signals as you pursue different wellness solutions and trust your gut. The common phrase actually has biological basis so it's more than a feeling in your head. If it doesn't feel right to you, it probably isn't. For me, this is apparent when I do yoga. I've tried yoga about once a year for the past ten years and it simply doesn't feel right in my body. I know everyone does it. I know everyone experiences benefits from it. But, every time I try it I'm reminded to listen to my body and trust my gut. There are a million other workouts available to me that this doesn't need to be the only option. 

 

  • Watch Your Wallet: Is a program asking for thousands of dollars so they can help you be healthier? Are they offering a wellness journey for a major deal? Wellness doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg and while some of these offers may be legitimate, don't simply throw money at the problem. Read reviews. Be discerning about what you spend your money on. See if there's a trial before jumping in head (or in this case wallet) first.  

 

  • Give Yourself Some Breathing Room: Give yourself permission to do what you want. Some days I want a green juice and a great gym sweat session and other days I literally lie on my bed with a Cadbury egg (or 2...or 6...) scrolling Instagram for hours. Stop viewing what you do as "bad" or "good" and give your body what it wants. You won't feel locked in that way or like being healthy is a burden. The Well Necessities actually does a great course called "Quiet The Noise" focused on cutting through all the wellness clutter that helps with getting that space. 

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Take It Slow

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  • Ease In: This is not a race. You will absolutely burn out if you try to learn everything at once or get very intense about wellness and eating right. This can actually turn into disordered behavior where not "treating your body right" causes anxiety, anger, and fear. Don't let the industry get you into that mindset. Be gentle with yourself. Do it little by little and don't get angry if you fall off schedule or upset if you didn't do something perfectly. It's called a "wellness journey" so enjoy the journey part of it. 

 

  • Be a Sieve, Not a Sponge: I cannot stress this one enough. If you absorb all the wellness information it will form a pit in your stomach and all the stress from trying to contain it will come out of your leaky gut and wreak havoc on your body and...have I taken this wellness analogy too far? I digress. Basically, you want to discard the information you don't need like a sieve and retain the info that works for you. Doing so will help manage the overwhelmed feeling and you'll feel empowered to make the right choices for you. 

 

  • Set Boundaries: If you're interested in wellness, you know the click hole that can happen when you find out about a new wellness trend. Set boundaries for your intake of wellness information. No more than thirty minutes a day or nothing after 6PM to make sure you're not overwhelming yourself and the information you do take in has time to sink in. 

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Curate Your Feeds (and Go Beyond Them!)

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  • Do The Joy Test: This one I learned from my favorite meditation app, Buddhify. They have a meditation where you scroll through Instagram and analyze which profiles bring you joy and which don't. As you're adding wellness instagrammers to your feed, do this test once a month or so. Tune into your body. Do you skip a certain blogger all the time? Does someone make you stressed? Overwhelmed? Annoyed? Hit that "unfollow" button. Social media is stressful enough and you should curate your feed to be one that brings you joy. 

 

  • Watch For Sponsored Content: Some bloggers will only partner with brands they already use and love while others will take deals that simply pay them well. Neither of these are wrong and bloggers have to make a living! Working in digital, I know the signs to look for which helps me navigate the sponsored content and decide if it's something I want to pursue or not. Here are my tips: Look for "paid partnership" and be sure to click on the "..." and expand to see the first comment as often the #ad or #sponsored or #partner or #ambassador will be there. Ask the blogger how they choose their partnerships if you're curious. If you see a bunch of bloggers posting the same item, this is called a "mailer" and was likely sent out for them to review. Again, a sponsored post is not a bad sign, but to be smart in the wellness space, you should be aware of what is and is not sponsored and how that affects your wellness choices. 

 

  • Look For Credible Sources Beyond Social: It's crazy that we take social media as reality when it isn't necessarily the most credible resource. Read books (buy hardcover, real ones and highlight what you find interesting), check out JAMA for the latest research, and ask questions of experts (many you can email and they'll provide you answers and additional credible resources!). 

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Set Goals

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  • One Change a Month: Part of where I went wrong when I was starting to get into wellness was attempting to change everything, all at once. This will absolutely burn you out and you're more likely to end up doing nothing than even one change that can have benefits to your well being. Stick with one change per month whether that's exercising three times a week, having meatless Monday's, or taking a bath once a week. Make it easy to accomplish and you'll be more likely to actually follow through. 

 

  • Break Down Your Wellness Goals: It's great to want to feel better in your body, work on your mental health, or become a Pilates instructor. The issue is, that wellness goals can be lofty and often they're not concrete enough for us to feel satisfied or check the box to having completed the task. This is counter to what a lot of the wellness community says, but I think it's more useful to set small, concrete goals. Instead of setting such a big goal, focus on the steps you will take to reach that. Set those steps as your goals instead, and set only one at a time. Before you know it, you'll make it to that lofty goal while savoring the journey along the way. 

 

  • Remember, Goals Can Be Overwhelming Too: I usually like to set goals but occasionally, I find them entirely overwhelming. What if I don't meet them? What does that say about me? Will people judge me for not meeting my goals? Could I have tried harder? When that happens, I try to push the goal aside and stay in the present. Part of what I love about wellness is how it unfolds uniquely for me, and that journey is worth throwing the endless task list away on occasion and enjoying the experience. 

 

How do you enjoy the wellness scene without getting overwhelmed? Let me know in the comments! 

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