Wellness has been a buzzword for the past few years. Wellness is everywhere. Your local pharmacy has a wellness point program. Your child’s school has a wellness coordinator. You’re starting to do – and buy – things for the sake of your wellness and health. But with the promotion of “wellness” comes the marketing of wellness and just like the ideas of beauty and success, wellness has been idealized with imagery that many find it hard to live up to. The image of wellness is now more appealing to many than actually being well.
What is wellness? It’s defined as the condition of being in good health. I’ve often said that health is the destination and wellness is the path. Wellness is the pursuit of health. Remember that.
What does wellness look like? That’s a hard mental picture to paint. Luckily, there are plenty of T.V. commercials that have given me a preconceived notion of the idea. When I picture what wellness has become, or at least how it’s portrayed, I see a young, fit, and woman (or man) with an organic granola bar in one hand, a bottle of deionized water in the other, and LuLuLemon everywhere else. She (or he) is seamlessly balancing life while taking the dog on a sunrise jog or running on the treadmill while taking a business call through some headphones. The fitbit says enough calories have been burned and now our image of wellness can sit down to a much deserved apple slice. That’s it. That’s what I’ve been programmed to see. And anything less than this idea of perfection is…unwellness.
That ideal is impossible to live up to; wellness has become black and white. You’re either on the treadmill all day hooked up to a kale-juice IV or you’re living in a blooper reel for a KFC commercial. But nothing could be farther from the truth!
Wellness is the pursuit of health. it’s a journey made of daily decisions and just like any other journey, there are going to be some missed turns and setbacks but it will all be okay so long as you have a sense of direction and an eye for the bigger picture. Wellness is making small decisions that make this moment in time a little more healthy. Getting fruit juice instead of a soda? That’s wellness. Getting water instead of fruit juice? That’s wellness too. You can have that pizza for lunch if you balance it out with a walk this evening or a light dinner. It’s about balance.
Those who follow me on my blog and my facebook know that health is just being balanced. From your life (work/play/personal) to your cellular chemistry. If one biochemical process becomes unbalanced in your body, there are a group of downstream consequences that we call symptoms. If the body can’t correct the imbalance, then we often call it a disease and give it a name. If health is state of being balanced, then consider wellness the act of balancing yourself out. The pictures that you see on the TV – those people aren’t the result of balance; that isn’t wellness. Blotting your pizza with a towel before you eat it…now that’s wellness.
You can start being well today and it doesn’t take any special brand or shake or clothes. Just take one small change. Maybe park a little farther away from the door today. Maybe have just one more sip of water. Tomorrow, maybe park a little farther and sip a little more. Want that cake? Have it! But maybe go for a walk later or skip your daily soda. Small things add up. Start today!