I am by no means an expert in the topic of wellness. In fact, while I have always been interested in health and fitness, I'm a newbie. I can honestly say I started this "Wellness Journey" almost a year ago and it has been an amazing learning process. It started by running, which led to yoga it went on to a plant based lifestyle and now I even run a podcast about wellness (and sometimes withchy stuff) with one of my best friends, Silvia. I go a little more into depth here, here and here.
Getting into wellness wasn't a struggle, it just happened because of this simple mindset: I found a lifestyle that helps me maximize every aspect of my life. If I eat well, I have amazing runs, if I have amazing runs, I have an amazing day and if I have an amazing day, I sleep really, really well! It's a cycle and all you have to do is find the routines that adapt to your lifestyle.
Nevertheless, over the course of this past year I have received many questions about this "living a healthy and well balanced lifestyle" which are hard to answer in one particular way. This is why I decided to break down the main misconceptions about wellness in this post:
1. "Wellness is how the cool kids are now calling Health and Fitness"
While I find it hard to debate you on that since it seems like everyone and their mother's are calling everything health related "wellness", here's the definition according to dictionary.com:
"The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort."
"An approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases."
I define it as a way of finding what feels right to your mind, body and soul.
2. There is a right and wrong way of practicing spirituality.
"How do I set an intention"
"How do you find the patience to meditate? I just can't."
"I can't practice yoga because I hate chanting"
"I hate religions"
"I'm afraid of witchy stuff"
I have heard all of these before and if I didn't give you a clear answer or enough details and you felt lost, it's because I can't tell you what to do or think. Spirituality is NOT a trend, it is truly a personal journey. Each individual will find a way to connect and find a meaningful way to look at this world in their own time and place. For me, it was through yoga. Yoga created in me a craving to want to connect more with nature (hence my obsession with crystals and plants!) and specially, with myself.
For some, spirituality may happen through Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism or believe it or not, being an agnostic or atheist. It's all about connecting with everything that surrounds you and it's a beautiful thing. So here's the one tip I can give you if you're craving spiritual growth: Learn to breath and stay still for at least 5 minutes a day. Follow your curiosity. Stay away from judgement and do good to others without expecting something in return. Take care of yourself and learn to crave experiences, not things.
The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a read great for any person craving some spirtuality but is kind-of freaked out by the word.
3. There is a formula to using crystals and connecting with the moon.
"How do you cleanse crystals?"
"How do you choose crystals"
"I used this crystal and it didn't work"
"What's the deal with thee moon, teach me!"
Sorry to break it to you, but if you think buying an amethyst and getting a moon bath will change your life, you're in for huge dissapointment. While these two things seem super trendy and new-agey and everyone wants to be part of it, the only way to actually "tap into its power", is by (you guessed it!) connecting with yourself first.
Just because using crystals and connecting with the moon has worked for some, it doesn't mean you have to follow their exact formula. For me, it was a natural way of continuing my yoga practice off the mat. I did use some guidance from Google, read the book Moonologie by Yasmin Boland and even wrote a beginners guide to crystals, but this doesn't mean that you need to go ahead and buy this book or follow my exact instructions so you KNOW that you're doing things right. It means that if you have some curiosity about topics surrounding wellness and spirituality, go ahead and read about them, experiment with them!
You need to understand that when it comes to this wellness journey, each experience is unique and it is much more about intuition and doing what feels right than you think.
PD: If you read this and felt it was complete bullshit, this is not your journey. But if you read this and are confused but curiouos, keep soul searching, you're getting there!
4. Now that you're a spiritual person, you need to be vegan, do yoga, follow astrology and buy an oracle deck.
For some people, the simple acts of gardening, being out in nature, following an ethical vegan lifestyle, going to church, spending time with animals or helping others is what helps them connect with their highest self or be a spiritual person. Don't get sucked in by all the social media frenzy about new-age spiritualy. I mean, it's awesome, I love it, but it doesn't mean that is what you need to be doing or what will work for you.
I repeat, stay curious, keep soul searching and most importantly stop judging. Life is hard enough as it is.
5. Women who get into wellness and spirituality become witches.
I can't exactly deny this, but I will clear up the most common misconception: Is being a witch really a bad thing? In my short life I have seen that what the media calls a witch is a strong woman who is in tune with her intuition and in total control of her life. Do I think that is a bad thing? HELL NAH'! I want to be a witch.
But now, seriously, stop with the judging. While there exists some weird dark magic out there, associated with witchcraft, most of it made famous by men scared of strong women, but that's for another day, remember this is all about wellness and feeling good with yourself. And if you really like these topics, I would really suggest you listen to our podcast Un aguacate a la vez available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In the end, it's all about you. Let go of the mindset we've all learned in school because there is no formula that helps you practice what makes you feel good. Wellness is all about taking care of your mind, body and soul in your own way. But if you're a Type A like me and can't finally seam to understand but really want to find your "wellness nirvana", here's a simple cheat sheet that may help you find it:
- Mind: Keep a log of what helps you release stress that doesn't envolve shopping. For me this is being in or by the water, specially in Cabo Rojo, PR.
- Body: What workout or fitness routine makes you feel most alive or happy. For me this is running outside.
- Soul: What practice frees your mind and helps you be a better person. For me this is yoga and meditation with crystals.
Let me know how it goes.
Until next time,