It’s a word that’s taken on a slew of new connotations in recent years as the “wellness” industry has boomed. Yet many of those connotations aren’t good or helpful. And in many ways, our culture continues to get wellness all wrong.
A simple Instagram search for #wellness pulls together over 30 million posts, and despite that staggering number, a quick scroll reveals that most of them aren’t all that different from one another. There are the unabashed gym selfies. There are the perfectly-lit snapshots of food that looks too fancy to actually eat. There are the inspirational quotes and the nature candids.
Don’t get me wrong—none of these are bad things in and of themselves. I’ll be the first to applaud confidence at the gym or to tell you how important I believe that food is—its nourishment, its taste, and even its beauty. You’ll also find inspirational quotes from time to time around here, too.
But when wellness is reduced to looking fit or slim in selfies, to creating unrealistic weight or exercise goals, to cultivating unhealthy fixations on food, or to posting the perfect Instagram photos, something has gone very wrong.
The truth is, what our wellness culture so often misses is the purpose and motivation behind the movement. What does it look like to truly be well, and why does it matter?
This is a space where—whether you’re healing from chronic illness like me, or whether you’re simply weak and weary from the grinds of life—I hope that we can walk toward healing together. But in order to do that, we have to understand the why behind the wellness.
So, here are three key reasons why wellness matters:
Wellness matters because our health and our bodies are deeply valuable—not because we need to look a certain way.
Our bodies aren’t just tools to propel us wherever we’re trying to go—whether that’s to a new fitness level, to the next tier of career success, or just to the end of a busy week. Our bodies aren’t just the means to an end. We must begin to treat them like an end in and of themselves—they are miracles, they are gifts, and they are vessels to be stewarded well.
So if we’re indulging in exercise, healthy eating, or natural supplements solely for the sake of what we need our bodies to achieve for us—or how we want them to look—then we’re not striving for wellness at all. Though are bodies aren’t our identity, they do fashion a key part of who we are. And they deserve to be cared for in the same way that we would care for our loved ones or our most valuable possessions.
Prioritizing the wellness of our bodies means prioritizing a holistic approach to health—through movement, through food, through natural living—because everything else in our lives will flow outward from this. The way we care for our bodies influences our physical state of health, how we feel day to day, and thus how equipped we are for everything in life that comes our way.
Wellness matters because our souls need the same kind of focused, holistic care that our bodies do.
What pains me the most about wellness culture is when the physical body and tangible action steps (plans, schedules, diets, exercise) are severed from the soul.
Yes, our bodies deeply matter. But we are more than bodies. Our emotional and spiritual health deserves to be stewarded with the same time and intention that our physical health does, and we’ll never reach a state of holistic, mindful healing without these components.
That’s why you’ll find content around here on how to care well for our hearts, minds, and souls. Wellness means taking care of the whole package—the whole person.
Wellness matters because our relationships won’t thrive until we set boundaries and prioritize our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
Perhaps one of the most important realizations I have come to is that this wellness journey is not all about us. It’s another aspect that #wellness culture so often misses, but viewing this journey as a one-woman show couldn’t be further from the truth.
Our lives are meant to be lived in the company of others, in the pursuit of others, and in the service of others, whether that means your family, your friends, your coworkers, or your neighbors. But if our physical, emotional, and spiritual health isn’t a priority in our lives, then we won’t have all that much left to give. If we never learn how to say no—and that sometimes saying no is necessary, and perfectly okay—then our yes won’t be so freely and joyfully given. Wellness is not selfish—it’s a crucial step toward giving, toward healing, and toward relational thriving.
Let’s Do This Together
It’s only with these three “why’s” in mind that we can carry onward toward cultivating a meaningful wellness-based life. And though you may find posts around here that focus in on only one of these aspects, it’s crucial to remember that they can’t exist without each other. This healing journey will always be one of mind, body, and soul. And it will always be a journey we weren’t meant to travel alone.