Truth be told, I’m not much of a rule breaker. In school, I never got a detention. Not one. The most rebellious thing I ever did was creep out to the graveyard at Year 12 camp, and even then I felt guilty for days after. My nickname in primary school was goody-goody. I played it safe, and still tend to a lot of the time.
That being said, you could call me a bit of a ‘rule-breaker’ when it comes to the way I live my life holistically.
When I first stepped onto my wellness path, more than 5 years ago now, I did EVERYTHING by the book – I bought a cold pressed juicer, I got the Thermomix and started making raw cakes (#sugarfree), I took up yoga, downloaded all of the latest meditation apps, and read all of the ‘right’ books. I was a wellness cliche. But I did it all because I was so enticed by this ‘world’ of living my healthiest and happiest life. So naturally, I wanted to do it all ‘by the book’.
What were the people I looked up to doing? And I’m not talking generally, as a guide. I mean, exactly what were they doing so I could copy them? And if one of them says their gratitudes at night, and one writes them first thing in the morning, what the hell does that mean for me? Should I do it both times?
It has taken me until now to feel comfortable in bending these wellness ‘rules’ so that they suit my lifestyle. Because here’s the thing – I don’t ever want living my best, healthiest life to feel like a chore. If things are getting stale, and don’t feel right for ME – guess what? I am going to change it up. Just because it works for some, doesn’t mean it works for all.
Just because I am frothing on oracle cards and essential oils right now, doesn’t mean you have to! If you feel the pull, then amazing! But if you look at it and find it all a bit boring – that is also okay! Part of us being so amazingly intricate and different is that wellness is going to look DIFFERENT to us all. AND THAT IS OKAY.
These ‘rules’ we idealise when we set out on our wellness journeys are not necessarily doing us any favours – and can lead to feelings of guilt, comparisonitis and not feeling good enough, if we don’t keep them in check.
Here are a few of my old favourites…
To live a holistically healthy and well life, you DON’T have to:
Meditate every single day
Heck, there are going to be days you HATE the thought of meditating. And there will also be days you miss it. Or you might not even meditate at all because, CBF. When I started diving deeper into my wellness journey, I thought I needed to spend thousands on transcendental meditation classes, that I needed to sit with my mantra twice a day, and that Heaven forbid if I missed a day my hard work would all be for nothing.
Truth be told, meditation IS wonderful. But the way you meditate is going to be different to the way your bestie does, or the person you look up to. And that is okay. Play with it. Find what works for you – and know it will change over time. Right now, meditation for me is a guided 10 minutes as soon as I wake up. On Saturdays I skip it and always feel bad afterwards, but don’t beat myself up over it. And isn’t that the point? To embrace the stillness with ease and grace rather than guilt and shame?
Abstain from alcohol
This is a biggie, and one I am still coming to realise. Just because I am all about that well-life doesn’t mean a glass of wine with my love, or a mojito on a night out makes me any less spiritual or healthy. This comes down to the intention when you do choose to drink – if it is to have fun with friends, enjoy yourself or unwind after a full week, I say go for it. If there are deeper issues, like a dependency on alcohol to have fun, or a history of addiction – then that is a different story entirely. But just because you enjoy an espresso martini and a dance in a club doesn’t make you any less worthy of living a holistic and healthy life. Remember the FEELINGS around these things, like feeling GUILTY for drinking because you know there are people who don’t – is doing you less service than the alcohol itself. Remind yourself of your intention and you will know every time when you are drinking out of love, or out of fear. LOVE is the aim of the game kids.
Go gluten free
Don’t just go gluten free because everyone else is doing it. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Know WHY the healthy people in your world are choosing to opt out of eating gluten (myself included). Gluten is seriously detrimental not only to our gut health but our mental health too. The ingestion of gluten triggers a response known as ‘zonulin’ in our intestines, which leads not only to leaky gut (been there, done that, twice) but also a myriad of autoimmune conditions. Not a fun time. So no, it isn’t enough to just go gluten free ‘because everyone in the wellness world is doing it’. Educate yourself as to WHY and make your decision from there. Sometimes, I will have a bit of gluten – I never restrict myself – but when I do, I am always left feeling worse for wear.
Swap your fucks for fricks
If you watch my Insta-stories you know I love a good swear word. I use effs and shits like punctuation some days – and some days I don’t – but I rarely censor myself. If you have been a guest at one of my talks or workshops, you would know the same.
The way I see it is words are a form of self-expression. I do not use them offensively – I use swear words to make a point. For emphasis or to really express how I am feeling about certain topics I am particularly passionate about.
I think a lot of the time we have this idea that once we become ‘enlightened’ or on this spiritual path, not only do we need to clean up our diet, but we need to clean out our swear words. If that genuinely feels authentic and good for you, AMAZING. By all means, swap those fucks for fricks. But if you are doing it to try and emulate someone you’re actually not – well, there’s nothing authentic about that. And in holding on to your suppressed expression, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good.
Don’t get me wrong, the personal development section in Dymocks is my most favourite, and I have bookshelves FULL of self help cult classics that I am yet to read – and others that are dog-eared and totally loved.
But I also haven’t read Power of Now. I have tried to read it about 5 times and can’t get through it. I also didn’t enjoy The Universe Has Your Back – I couldn’t finish it.
Does this make me spiritually inept? Or is there something wrong with me when other wellness influencers are referencing books I didn’t actually enjoy?
Hell no! In fact, I find it kind of inauthentic when people claim they have read ALL of the self help books and enjoyed EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. How is that even possible? You aren’t going to like every single flavour of ice-cream (hmmm bad analogy, maybe you are) – and it’s the same thing here. Some authors will resonate with you more than others. Just because people are ALL about Power of Now doesn’t mean it has to be your cup of tea too.
Personally I am more of a Conversations with God kinda gal 😉
Cut people out of your life who aren’t on the same path
Don’t do this. It isn’t nice. And I see it a lot when people step out on their wellness journeys. There are people in their life that aren’t at the same ‘conscious level’ as them, and so they have a chat and let them know it’s time to no longer associate. Ummm – that’s not nice. And it’s also judgemental.
Here’s the thing – no, not everyone is going to be on your life path with you. And that is okay. Especially when it comes to family. You cannot force ANYONE, in fact you shouldn’t WANT to force anyone, to join you on your path to wellbeing. All you can do is be the example.
And if that doesn’t seem to work, and friendships or relationships naturally fall apart, then that is okay. There needn’t be drama or conflict or “this happened because you aren’t on the same path as me”. Watch the friendships that are meant to stay naturally flourish, and the ones that have served their purpose fall away. It doesn’t need to be any more complex than that.
Power to you if you are. Or if you are paleo. Or pescetarian. WHATEVER you eat, I actually don’t care so long as you are doing the best you can with what you have. Try not to compare yourself to others and how they eat, and eat for HEALTH and what feels good for you.
It may surprise some of you to learn I have been vegetarian for 13 years now. I don’t proclaim it or shout it from the rooftops, because I just do it for me. It is MY choice. I have even received Instagram messages asking me if I would consider going vegetarian. When I reply and say I have been for over a decade now, I get asked why I don’t talk about it more.
Because what I eat shouldn’t matter to anyone really. I eat what makes my body thrive and feel good. If you thrive off organic, grass fed meat, then who am I to judge you? Just like I don’t expect to be judged when I eat a cheese plate.
Remember we are always doing the best we can with what we have. THAT is enough.
If you are taking up yoga to do the cool contortion tricks with your body to post on Instagram, then you are in it for ALL the wrong reasons. Yoga is such a wellness ‘thing’ because it is more than just the physical practice – it encompasses mind, body and soul wellbeing. I rarely post any yoga pics because that isn’t what yoga is for me. Again, it is a personal practice.
You might try yoga out and HATE it and wonder what the fuss is all about. If that is the case, no there is nothing wrong with you. You can still be into health and wellbeing and hate yoga, contrary to popular belief. Maybe the gym is more your thing, or swimming. WHATEVER your form of exercise is, there is none more ‘superior’ than the other – so embrace what you enjoy fully and don’t beat yourself up if downward dog makes you want to hurl.
Follow all of the wellness influencers, even when they make you feel shit
There was a time when I was following THOUSANDS of wellness influencers on my Inst – heck, anyone with the word ‘wellness’ in their bio got a big old tick from me. Recently I have scaled it right back, and will continue to do so, depending on what posts I resonate with.
For instance, once I was following ALL of the wellness nutritionists and cooks and was bombarded with recipes I knew I was never going to make. But I was following them because everyone else in the industry was. Once I let that idea go, I created more space for content that really appeals to me – and I know overtime that is going to evolve.
Follow the pages that truly light you up – they might be different to other people and that is okay. YOU have a direct say in the content you engage in – so if it makes you feel shit, even when the page’s intentions are good (I am referring to lots of fitspo accounts here) then unfollow.
By all means my loves, look up to influencers in the wellness space, get inspired, and take action. But also don’t force anything. Find what works for YOU and know it is totally okay however that looks. So long as your mind, body and soul are healthy, thriving and happy, it doesn’t matter so much how you get there.