One thing that I so often get frustrated with is how wellness is sold to our culture. The idea behind wellness and mental health can feel a little overwhelming to most of us. Between reading all of the generic memes to the plethora of articles telling you how to life hack your days away to a happier self with “just these 3 simple steps” Is not only BS. It’s false hope.
Anyone who says wellness is simple, doesn't know what they are talking about.
The overwhelming amount of media around wellness can feel so stifling that one is left right where they started: Wanting a change in life, seeking a more fulfilling day to day routine, a closer connection to your partner/kids, deeper relationships, a fulfilling work life, wanting to be healthier, look better, FEEL better, act better.
The reality of wellness and what most articles and posts don't tell you is that: IT TAKES TIME AND IT'S A COMMITMENT.
Whatever you're trying to change about yourself or your life - there is no shortcut. It is all about creating new habits and re-wiring the brain.
How do you do that?
Start with a Daily Practice
It won’t work if you can’t integrate it into your life
The concept behind wellness and bettering oneself to lead a more fulfilling life really means nothing until you can integrate it into what you are doing now. Key word here being INTEGRATE. Just like the key to a successful diet is not to 'go on a diet' for a while and then go back to what you were eating. A successful diet is one that shifts your eating habits for good. That is the same with any form of positive change.
Growing and shifting and changing your life is a daily practice weather we are conscious of it or not. This is how every single habit (desired and not desired) is formed: with repetition. So by consciously making the choice to do something positive for yourself everyday is the absolute best thing you can do for your life...and the only way to bring wellness into your life.
Don't be overly ambitious
Be honest with yourself, about where you are and what you can do.
Setting up any type of practice and committing to it everyday is a great start. If you try to set aside 4 hours a day to meditate, do yoga, run, cook healthy meals and get a massage. You are only setting yourself up for failure and the likelihood that you will try again diminishes exponentially. The truth about wellness is not to transform everything in your life at once. That will quickly fail and you will feel worse than when you decided to pay more attention to your health and your life. Don’t set yourself up.
A daily practice is the practice of love
Wellness is messy
Our lives our messy and imperfect. Integrating a wellness routine is a struggle of balance between cramming things into our life and listening to what we actually need. It is not necessarily peaceful, relaxing or calming. (especially at first). Sometimes wellness is integrating something very small into your day that no one will notice but you. In fact, this is the best kind of wellness… because wellness is actually a mindset… a daily practice for yourself. And like anything that you practice everyday, the results come from the accumulation of effort. Over time you will notice a change. A change in mindset, A change in how you view your life, A change in your relationships. And over time your efforts will trickle out onto the people and situations around you.
A daily practice plants the seed. Over time it will bear fruit.
Start with something you know. Something that calls to you. Do what you can.
For a wellness routine to work, it’s important to start slow, to let it be malleable, to rearrange it and change it to fit in to your own messy life. That might be sleeping in 30 minutes longer than usual, or spending 5 minutes locked in the bathroom washing your face instead of doing the family dishes. It might just be a one word affirmation to yourself that you try and remember to say every morning, or telling your partner how much you love them.
One of my teachers recommends to do object meditation throughout the day for 1 minute increments…If you do this as a daily practice you may find after a month that you are remembering to do this 40 times a day. Then, instead of feeling guilty because you didn’t have the time to meditate for 40 minutes last week, you will see that you ARE meditating throughout the day and actually wrapping your life around a practice.
There are many ways wellness can work. Just remember to make the commitment to yourself, learn to forgive yourself, be malleable, shut out all the rules and all of the noise and make your own rules.
Daily practice exercise ideas:
- Notice color, shapes, movements, light & shadow.
- Don’t just look at objects - feel their presence and location in space.
- Feel the sensations and movements in the breathing body.
- Tell someone something that you appreciate about them or give them praise without any expectations of a response.
- Watch your breath without changing it for 1 minute.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Sit down and eat a healthy breakfast (doesn’t have to be big or grand) a cup of yogurt, and avocado, a cup of rice…
- Sleep 30 minutes longer than you normally do for a week.
- Spend a few minutes alone in the bathroom getting ready for the day. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are wonderful and beautiful. Smile at yourself.
- Give someone you love a hug for no reason.
- Go on a walk.
- Instead of complaining, notice something enjoyable and talk about that.
- Choose a product that has less chemicals.
- Take the scenic route.
- Let something go.
- Be proud of yourself.