The following is a guest contribution from Hannah Exner, founder of Three Moon Collective, your guide to wellness for every phase of life. Enjoy her insights below as she discusses how to define wellness for yourself – and stop trying to fit into someone else’s definition of wellness.
Hi! My name is Hannah Exner and I believe that everyone deserves wellness, but I understand that it can often seem intimidating or overwhelming. That’s why I think it’s important to learn how to define wellness for ourselves, and I’ve got a few suggestions on how to do so.
Wellness is a buzzy word these days. It’s an umbrella term that we can apply to almost anything, and the amount of wellness modalities, practices, and rituals that are out there is frankly overwhelming.
So how exactly do we define wellness for ourselves? Some people might think that wellness is waking up at sunrise and meditating or practicing yoga. If this is your version of wellness, that’s amazing! For me, it’s not at all realistic. But for a long time (and until just very recently!) I thought that this early-rising, lengthy ritual of morning wellness was THE epitome of wellness and what I needed to do in order to consider myself a “well” person.
The truth is, we are not allowed to beat ourselves up with things that are good for us (learned this from my life coach). If we read self-help books, we can’t punish ourselves for not following their guidance. If we practice yoga occasionally, we can’t berate ourselves in class for not coming more often. If we buy into this cycle of negativity, our vision of self-care and attainable wellness practices will become narrower, and narrower, until we’d rather just call the whole thing off.
What I’d like to propose, is instead of viewing wellness as something that we are grasping for, to view wellness as something that we already do (!) and can layer on to. I have a few suggestions on how to do so below, but above all I want to give you permission to define wellness for yourself. To create a definition that is free of any outside influence, unique to you, and that you actually enjoy!
1. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This is the simple motto of US-based journalist Michael Pollan who explores this idea in his book and accompanying show, “In Defense of Food.” When it comes to nutritional wellness, keeping it simple is the way to go. I also no longer force myself to eat “healthy” foods that I don’t like. If you don’t like the currently trending “super food,” don’t eat it! It’s much easier for me to nourish my body now that I eat foods I enjoy.
2. Add movement to your meditation. A seated meditation practice has always been difficult for me, so I was really excited when I was recently introduced to Kundalini Yoga / Meditation. It’s weird, but the repetitive movements that you perform in sets or “kriyas,” are incredibly powerful for moving stagnant energy and uniting mind and body. I would highly recommend going to a class for the full experience (you can find Kundalini-focused studios in many cities!), but you can also find short and impactful Kundalini meditations on Insight Timer or Gabby Bernstein has some good intro ones as well.
3. Uplevel the ways you already take care of yourself. Some days, I wake up late and seem to move straight into my day without even taking a moment to be intentional or breathe deeply. But what do I always do before leaving the house? Brush my teeth and go through my skin care routine. These are ways I already care for my body (but didn’t really count as wellness), and by adding an extra layer of intention like adding a drop of essential oil to my dry brush, or lovingly massaging lotion onto my body, or even listening to my favorite song while brushing my teeth, has allowed me to practice self-care without adding a lot of extra time or steps. What are the things you always do that you could add a little intention to? Here’s a list of 45 small self-care practices if you need some inspiration.
4. Reinvent your definition of wellness. I will assume that because you are subscribed to this newsletter, you have an interest in wellness. But if any of my words don’t resonate, that is totally okay because I am not for everyone and even more importantly, everyone is not for you! As you chart your own wellness path, you get to choose who your teachers are, where you attend class, and what kind of inspiration you take from those around you. Wellness is incredibly personal, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. My mission through Three Moon Collective is to introduce and share many kinds of wellness in hopes that they resonate with our community. If you’re interested in being part of this community and exploring wellness with us, I’d encourage you to sign up for our weekly newsletter here, or explore our Collective of diverse wellness practitioners.
You can connect with Three Moon Collective on Instagram @threemooncollective, online: www.threemooncollective.com or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspired to explore some wellness practices, teachers, or events? We totally agree with Hannah that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to wellness. Whether you’re interested in meditation, dance, drumming, plant medicine, essential oils, or yoga, click here to discover many wellness events and teachers to support your journey!