What does wellness mean to you?
Our personal definition of wellness may vary, but a look through advertisements and social media points to a culture that believes wellness can be bought. You’re on the path to wellness if you have the trendiest yoga leggings, drink matcha every morning, go on juice cleanses every few months, and are able to drop cash for a wellness retreat. Now just to be clear, I wear lululemon (and worked for the company for 2+ years), I think matcha is delicious (but will always choose coffee), I’ve gone through the master cleanse (never again), and lust over yoga retreats in Bali.
I’m not trying to label these practices as ‘bad’, but wellness is being commodified, and true holistic wellbeing can’t be acquired through products and purchases. More than that, when wellness is sold and priced almost exclusively for the privileged (eating organic, studio class passes, athleisure, all come with a hefty price tag) it turns wellness into a private club.
When I reflect on my own journey, I can pinpoint my well-being to things that are either free or don’t cost much money; getting out into nature, writing in my journal, soulful conservations with friends, meditation, practicing yoga, intentional breathing, and cooking meals at home all make me feel grounded, connected and balanced.
I believe wellness is for everybody. If we can strip away the detoxes, face masks and epsom salt baths, we can find self love and self care as a whole; body, mind and spirit. With that in mind, here are a few accessible self care tips for the fall season. And I would love to hear how you’re showing yourself love.
Self-Care for the Mind
Ask For What You Need: Seasons change and needs do to. Communication can be challenging, and the idea of asking for something makes a lot of us nervous. What if they think I’m selfish? What if I’m asking for too much? What if they think I don’t deserve it? What if they decide to leave? Shame, guilt, worry and the never-ending lists of “what ifs” often keep us from communicating our true needs. And it’s scary to say what you want. It’s vulnerable to ask for it. But clear communication and direct asking allows people to step up / into your life and help where you need it most.
Seek Whitespace: Whitespace is breathing space, and I think we could all use a little more of that. We need solo quiet time so we reflect and create new ways of being. Are you uncomfortable with silence and being alone? Ask yourself why. What are you afraid of? Remember that you are not the thoughts in your head. You are not the noise that you constantly hear. Stop accepting and engaging with your craziest thought patterns. Find space in your day to simply sit, breathe and be with your thoughts without judging them.
3. Take Your Sleep Cycle Seriously: If you are looking for increased energy, a clear mind and improved productivity, make sleep a priority. Here are a few suggestions to adopt to your bedtime habits.
Go to bed and wake up each day around the same time.
Buy an alarm clock and remove electronics from the bedroom
Go tech-free at least 30 minutes before bed
Diffuser lavender oil or add a few drops to your pillow
Self-Care for the Body
1. Eat What’s In Season: I hate saying goodbye to my smoothies and salads, but it’s time to move on to warming soups and roasted vegetable bowls. Specific crops and harvest dates of fall produce will depend on where you live, but generally, you’ll find a delicious group of fruits and veggies like apples, beets, carrots, peppers and squash at your local farmers market. Eating seasonally not only helps you to be more in sync with the natural world, it’s usually better for the environment because foods grown locally require less energy and resources to produce and transport.
2. Hike to See Fall Foliage: Here in Washington, hiking in fall rivals hiking in summer (some may even prefer it). The trails are quieter, the trees are bursting with color and pesky mosquitoes are a thing of the past. And of course, there’s larch madness. We have a short but sweet few weeks where the larch tree needles turn golden, magically changing the forest into an otherworldly site. Here are a few of my favorite fall hikes.
Maple Loop Pass
Self-Care for the Soul
1.) Do Things That You Enjoy: And don’t feel guilty about it. Do you enjoy watching re-runs of Friends in your pajamas till 1pm on Sunday? Go for it! Do you want to read in a coffee shop by yourself? Or bake 4 different cookie recipes? Or peruse the flea market looking for vintage finds? Whatever it is, be mindful of the activities that bring you moments of gratitude and appreciation for your life.
2.) Meet With a Therapist: We visit physical therapists for our bodies, why not psychologists for our minds? Thankfully, our culture is having more conversations about mental health and going to a therapist doesn’t have the stigma it once did. A common misconception is that you need to be at rock bottom before you make an appointment. Seeing a therapist can be a preventative measure, especially in the context of our relationships. While sessions are usually on the expensive side, there are centers/practitioners who will work with patients on a sliding scale.