This is a blog is about wellbeing.
I aim to provide an antidote to the countless wellness blogs that, for all their good intentions, have one basic premise at their core.
There is something wrong with us.
If we buy this information (or product, or shake, or pill), we are promised, we will be fixed.
Well…. I call bullshit on that promise.
There is nothing wrong with us.
And if only we could see our unique gifts in a new light, we would come to see that too.
The wellness industry cannot, by its very nature, empower us. Advertising agencies and business know that to sell things they must hone in on ‘pain points’. To make us feel uncomfortable enough, flawed enough, desperate enough to spend our hard-earned cash on the solution.
They understand that as women we want to please. We want to give. We want to be the best. They understand that we need only to painfully prod on our insecurities and we will sign up.
I’ve tried just about every wellness, spiritual and personal development fad there is going around. I’ve read countless books, done loads of e-courses and dedicated the last four years of my life to understanding what constitutes wellbeing – physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
And the consistent message being shouted at me from these courses and books and magazines were these – ‘you need this to heal’. ‘You are not enough as you are’. ‘You must do more’. ‘There is ONE approach. And this is it’.
But here’s what I’ve come to realise.
It’s not about more. It’s about less. It’s not about knowing the science. It’s about knowing ourselves. It’s not about doing what everyone else is doing, it’s about understanding what makes us tick – and doing more of it, every day.
We need to come to understand the two dimensional nature of what is being sold and to begin to deconstruct it so as to create a new, empowering paradigm.
Wellness is sold as a series of images – the image of a zen woman meditating on a beach. The image of a green smoothie. The image of working out in the gym. The image of work/life balance. The image of having the energy to play with our kids.
And when our lives do not meet those images – we think we must be doing it wrong. The guilt cycle shatters our esteem and erodes our confidence. The further away our lives become from those images, the less inclined we are to try to make positive changes in our lives.
We become stuck. Paralysed by fear. Our lens becomes one where we see only what we look like from the outside and not how we feel on the inside. We stop doing things we love. We start favouring productivity above all else. We hone in on work knowing that the tiny hits of dopamine we get from ticking something off our to-do list are not really filling us up, but they are better than trying something different and failing at it.
I know these patterns. Because I owned these patterns.
It took me some time and much soul-searching to begin to define another path to wellbeing. A path that I now teach to women and share in the classes, workshops, writing and conversations that I have.
The path brings together my technical and academic knowledge of public health and behaviour change, gender and feminism, fitness and nutrition, mindfulness and yoga with my lived experience of trying to find an approach to fostering wellbeing that left me feeling motivated, confident, aligned, connected and empowered.
An approach to wellbeing that:
- acknowledges that we all have different things that light us up and our roadmap to wellbeing must take into account our individuality
- goes beyond green smoothies and focuses on emotional and mental health
- focuses on learning rather than success or failure
- understands that change takes times and that there are always seasons in life
- is based on building self awareness and skills – so that each step toward alignment build confidence to keep going
- is not confined to physical health but seeks to question all elements of a life lived well – career, spirituality, relationships, finances, hobbies and connection
- fosters the qualities of the feminine – intuition, receptiveness, nature-alignment, connection
- incorporates the other facets of wellbeing conspicously absent from the pages of glossy health magazines – connection, community, confidence, surrender, play, purpose and self acceptance
- brings people together – knowing that underneath all pain and suffering is the desire to be loved
- empowers women to break the stress cycle once and for all and find new pathways to feeling fulfilment and wellbeing.
This blog, then, is a collection of lessons, reflections and tools designed to unlock an alternative model of wellbeing. One that is built not on the premise that something is wrong with us, but modeled on the assumption that we are whole and perfect just as we are. One that places attention on unlearning the notion that we are damaged goods.
We have spent generations trying to hate ourselves into changing. And that has led us feeling less confident, energized and well than ever before.
What if we tried loving ourselves into changing?
I want to invite a new paradigm – one where we see the interconnectedness between claiming our power as women and physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. One where the starting point is a knowledge that we are whole just as we are and now is the time to bring our outer world into alignment with our inner one.
We cannot have wellbeing without empowerment. And we cannot be empowered without wellbeing.
My ambition is not to promise healing. Or washboard abs. I cannot promise those things.
My intention is to allow exploration – a questioning of what truly lights up our bodies, minds and souls. My intention is to offer inspiration and tools and to share my own vulnerability so that together, we can start to define our own paths to wellbeing.