Have you been on social media lately? If you’re like 99.9% of peeps with a computer, a smartphone, a solid WiFi connection, and a bad case of Sudden Scrolling Syndrome, you totes have.
And while that’s not bad in and of itself, it’s not really doing you any favors when it comes to getting a handle on YOUR health and wellness. (Or your self-esteem for that matter.)
Curious why everyone on social media is talking about the same thing and how you can politely excuse yourself from the convo? Read on, my friend.
Okay, so you’ve been scrolling through Instagram, double tapping to your heart’s content. And it dawns on you after you’ve liked your fifteenth smoothie bowl chock full of collagen, ashwagandha, bee pollen, riced cauliflower, and adorable little cut-out fruits with the drool-inducing drizzle that your feed is like deja vu. Like, Twilight Zone.
And you wonder out loud, in your best Seinfeld voice, “What’s the deal with the superfood-stuffed smoothie bowl?!”
(For the record, I have nothing against a superfood-stuffed smoothie bowl. Nor the folks who have the time, money, energy, and presentation skills to share these glorious creations with us mere mortals day in and day out.)
You notice that everyone who’s posting this yumminess is supremely happy. They’re glowing. They’re confident. They’re throwing down a yogi master arm stand in the middle of the park.
That’s admirable, right? So you spend the next 37 minutes stalking these accounts to find out their secrets.
And you come to this conclusion: All you have to do is eat clean – all day, errrrryday – with lots of organic whole foods, supplements, and $18 juices and take a crap ton of supplements and sprinkle chia seeds, flaxseeds, cacao nibs, and perfectly crumbled protein bars on everything and work out – sometimes multiple times a day because, you know, nothing starts your day off on the right foot than an hour-long vinyasa flow and it’s always a good idea to fit in an afternoon jog – and get in the Miracle Morning swing of things and end the day with a relaxing two-hour soak in your jacuzzi tub filled with magnesium flakes and lavender essential oil and surrounded by clean-burning candles that smell like choirs of angels are bestowing an entire forest of fairy dust and rainbows and sun showers on you. Oh, and don’t forget to journal, listen to uplifting podcasts, make time for yourself (because all of these other things are just everyday essentials), have positive relationships, talk to your mom twice a day, study for a nutrition-y type degree, and get a solid 8.25 hours of sleep on your performance-enhancing sheets every night.
So starting tomorrow you vow to follow this plan to the letter of the law.
And you last for about two-thirds of the day. What the freakin’ hell?
If so many people are espousing the benefits of this lifestyle and doing it and making it work, why doesn’t it work for you?
You assume there’s something wrong with you and that you’re doomed to a life of crashing on the couch with your microwaveable mac ’n cheese while you live vicariously through the Real Housewives and dream about a world in which you don’t have a 45-minute commute to work each way, where you don’t have four meetings a day, where you’re not exhausted from plastering a fake smile on your face all day and not doing everything for everyone.
And here’s the crux of the problem: It’s not bad advice. But it’s not the most sustainable solution in the real world.
Especially when you’re working full-time and starting from subzero (i.e., you haven’t worked out since that one time your coworker dragged you to her sister’s barre class, you missed the memo about kale and beets and walnut butter, and you thought the only people who meditated were dharma-y, woo-woo types….and the last time you even heard the word dharma was when Dharma and Greg was still must-see TV.)
So, yes, everyone on social media might be saying the same thing and it’s not really the wrong thing. But it might not be THE THING you need right now.
Here are three questions to ask yourself when you start going down the social media rabbit hole and believing everything you read.
Is this something I need to do now?
I get it. We all get it.
It’s tempting to want something but not think through all the steps to get that something.
Like, you might want to move your desk over to that newly freed space by the window. But you forget that you’re in the middle of a giant project that absolutely CANNOT be a minute late or a cent over budget and you’ve been working on it for months. And you also realize you have to get approval from your boss and the office manager and you have to get IT to tear down your workstation and set it back up and you have to take everything off your walls and move all the stuff you’ve accumulated on your shelves to this new, better locale. And you think, “Maybe now isn’t the right time to move.”
To put this in a health and wellness perspective: Do you need to start making all of your meals from scratch when you can barely boil water right now? Do you need to sign up for a marathon and commit to a six-month personal training program before you even buy a pair of running shoes? Do you need to stock your cabinet with the entire line of that influencer-fave supplement brand before you kick your 4 p.m. coffee habit?
My guess is there are A BUNCH of steps you can take before you get to that thing you’re eyeing.
Do I have time for this?
Let’s address that two-ton pink elephant with the heart-shaped sunglasses in the room.
There’s a certain amount of time it takes to be so invested in your health and wellness. There. I said it.
People will have you believe that making every bite of food takes no less time than picking up pre-made meals at the grocery store or ordering in some healthy takeout.
But when you’re working 40+ hours a week, some things take priority over others. (Yes, of course, your health is ALWAYS a priority. Stick with me here.)
Which means…take a good, hard, honest look at your life. Before you commit to four training runs a week and three strength training sessions, ask yourself where that fits in to your schedule.
If you’re struggling to get to the gym once a week right now, either you’ve got to scale back somewhere else (not just your TV watching habits…there are plenty of other time sucks you can borrow precious minutes from) or reconsider that training plan.
Do you honestly have time to take on one more thing right now? I don’t know about you, but there have been plenty of times I had to say no to things, even the healthy things, when my schedule was jam-packed.
Always be honest and realistic about your time commitments. You aren’t doing yourself any favors biting off more than you can chew and beating yourself up for falling behind.
Does this fit with my goals?
Before you start popping DHA, 5-HTP, rhodiola rosea, magnesium, a B complex, a multivitamin, fish oil, and turmeric on the reg, ask yourself if you really need to be taking all those supplements.
Sure, there’s benefits to each of them. But you might not need to be swallowing fish oil if you’re a pescatarian who also adds flaxseed to your morning smoothie.
You might not need to be supplementing with rhodiola rosea and magnesium if you’re already pretty mellow and you’re actually trying to up your energy.
And – gasp! – you might not need a multivitamin if you’re eating a varied, whole-foods-centric diet.
Think about your goals and whether the supplements you’re scouting will help you get there or if they’re nice-to-haves. Like, that window seat with a view of the pond out front is nice to have but not entirely necessary when you realize you can walk down the hall or outside to get the same view.
There’s nothing wrong with personalizing advice and suggestions to fit you. In fact, it’s actually kind of necessary!
Right now, whip out that phone. Check out your favorite wellness pro’s latest post. See what they’re talking about. And run that recommendation through these three questions. Answer honestly and decide whether it’s a good fit for you.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
And, if you don’t really know where to start or how to make that habit that really is something you want to do right now, that you have time for, and that fits your goals but aren’t sure how to make it sustainable in the real world, hit me up. That’s exactly why I created Health.Simplified. So I can give you the 1:1, totally personalized, non-B.S. guidance you need to hit your goals and make a healthy habit stick. Check it out riiiiiiight here.