Wellness is not exercising and eating right.
Sometimes wellness means 6 a.m. yoga, yes. And sometimes wellness means a salad for lunch and bootcamp after work. And sometimes wellness means Saturday hikes and Sunday evening meal prep and Monday morning planning your week just right.
And sometimes wellness means none of those things.
Sometimes wellness means pizza and ice cream and a bottle a wine. Sometimes wellness means procrastination inspired afternoons of cookies and lattes and wondering about life. Sometimes wellness means staying out late and sleeping in until noon. Sometimes wellness means a good, messy cry – complete with floor-pounding and arm-flailing like a tantrum-throwing child.
Sometimes wellness means working until 2 a.m. and sometimes wellness means skipping work and binge watching, in your jammies, your favourite T.V.
Wellness includes exercise and healthy eating. Wellness also includes indulgence and rest.
Wellness cannot be simply defined. There is no formula, no answer, no method you can master that will have you feeling well all the time.
There is no right way to be well, and there is certainly no right way to “feel” well, all of the time.
That’s not how life works.
Life works in everythings.
Sometimes you will feel well. Sometimes you will feel unwell.
Sometimes you will feel sexy. Sometimes you will feel fat.
Sometimes you will feel happy; excited; joy-filled; proud; confident. Sometimes you will feel sad; discouraged; exhausted; angry; depressed.
Sometimes you will feel like you are on top of the world. Sometimes you will feel like a big fat failure.
Life is wholeness, and so are you. You can’t only live the “good” bits, just like you can’t only be the parts of yourself that you like. We can only be and experience all of it. That is the frustrating miracle of life.
Wellness means embracing the wholeness of life, even the times when we are unwell.
While this may at first seem like a contradiction (and the worst advice in the world), giving yourself permission to be and experience all of it, is actually the greatest gift you could ever give yourself.
The gift comes in the peace that arrives when you stop trying so hard to be someone or somewhere other than exactly who and where you are.
The gift comes in the love that flows from the compassion of being kind to yourself and giving yourself permission to be exactly where you are at.
The gift comes in the joy that lives in each moment you stop running toward some perfect-looking future that never arrives, and allow yourself to be present in your life.
The gift comes in the fulfillment you find in knowing you are needed as the imperfect human you are.
So here is my challenge for you.
The next time you find yourself stressed about all of the things you “should” be doing to be well, take a moment, and a deep breath, and give yourself permission to be present exactly where you are, feeling exactly what you are feeling.
It’s okay if this makes you feel uncomfortable. Wave your hands a little. Shake it out. Then take another deep breath and remind yourself that wellness is wholeness.
And then, and only then, with the possibility of everything (from cake to cardio to crying to calling a friend) on the table, ask yourself, what do I need in this moment, to be well.