I’ve been thinking a lot about how easy it is to be influenced by outside messages, especially when it comes to health and wellness.
I love researching and learning new things about health, but sometimes I find myself feeling BAD about my own healthy lifestyle because there is just so much more I feel like I SHOULD be doing based on all the content out there. Sometimes I can become so discouraged that I end up sabotaging myself and basically saying “fuck it.”
I imagine a lot of people have had a similar experience.
No matter where you turn, we’re all bombarded with messages about what we “should” be doing to be healthy. Sometimes it resonates, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it’s just shoved down our throats so many times that we feel we have no choice but to do it, even if we hate it.
To be clear, I’m not saying that all the advice and trends are necessarily bad. What I am saying is that just because you might not be doing ALL the things, doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy or that your efforts are futile.
So to remind myself, and anyone who needs to hear it, being healthy DOES NOT (exclusively) mean:
- Being skinny
- Being ripped
- Having flawless skin
- Having thick, full hair
- Doing the trendiest workouts
- Exclusively eating plants
- Buying crazy health gadgets
- Never taking advil
- Going on month-long wellness retreats
- Having an expensive and/or complicated skincare routine
- Being gluten-free
- Being a positive ray of sunshine every day (or ever)
Yes, all of those things can be components of a healthy lifestyle (or medically necessary), but they don’t automatically equate to being a healthy person, and you don’t HAVE to be, do, or have any of them.
The internet and social media are such amazing tools. They allow us to gain knowledge we might otherwise not have had access to. They connect us with people we might otherwise not have met. They introduce us to cultures and communities we might otherwise not have experienced. These are all amazing things. But if we’re not careful, if we’re not judicious in how we choose to consume all the wonderful things online, we can end up comparing ourselves to the people we admire and taking on information that doesn’t align with us.
People are sharing their experiences. Important: THEIR experiences. Sometimes those experiences will be parallel to our own, sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they’ll help us as we go our own paths, sometimes they won’t. When it comes to wellness specifically, it can seem like if you don’t have or aren’t doing all of the things, you aren’t healthy “enough,” well “enough,” just plain “enough.”
And that’s simply not true.
Do what feels right for you, make good-for-you choices when it comes to food and fitness, practice self-care in whatever form it’s available to you.
But do not, I repeat do not, compare yourself.
If you are feeling triggered by the people you follow online, mute or unfollow them. It doesn’t have to be forever. When you have built a strong enough foundation within yourself to not be triggered, tune back in. Your perspective could be totally different after some introspection and self-love.