It’s no secret: wellness is becoming a competitive sport.
With endless morning and night routine videos circulating, journaling strategies that involve buying an entire stationery shop worth of highlighters, unbelievably difficult Reformer exercises and yoga flows, all against impossibly aesthetically pleasing backdrops, it’s easy to turn around and ask the question: ‘Am I even doing wellness right?’
Though wellness is something aspirational, a ‘goal,’ so to speak, becoming too outcome-oriented on the issue of our personal well-being, on occasion, will harm more than it helps. It’s becoming increasingly easy to conflate our individual needs with the societally-ascribed, trending wellness ideals.
Remember this the next time someone’s ‘5-9 before 9-5’ video turns up on your “For You Page”: you don’t have to be up at 5am to be well. You don’t necessarily have to drink matcha or have an immaculately prepared Acai bowl every morning. If these things do work for you, then that’s great! But, if they don’t, you’re valid too.
The Wellness Industrial Complex
As Sadabh O’Sullivan of Refinery29 observes,
‘Although many of the pursuits at the heart of the wellness industry – flexibility and fitness, meditation, self-care – can be individually beneficial, they are now part of a wider complex that is selling you solutions to your problems, both real and imagined.’
We have to remember, here, that wellness is a multi-trillion dollar industry which has its own profit-driven agendas. It’s an industry that grew considerably over the pandemic, a vulnerable time for many of us mental health wise. As Bridget March writes for Harper’s Bazaar, ‘given the scale of the industry, the core concepts of wellness can often get buried, instead viewed through the lens of trends.’
Additionally, the early years of wellness culture were driven by dieting trends like juice cleanses; the benefits of extreme actions like these have been disproved, and conversely, it has been shown to, in fact, lead to outcomes like increased binge eating and mood changes.
While it’s true that even a simple, unassuming wellness routine might be enough for you, simplicity isn’t always what ‘wellness culture,’ as a societal force, might prescribe. Sometimes, what ‘wellness culture’ sells you might not even make you feel good.
In fact, a culture of goal-oriented wellness driven by industry and fuelled by trend places little to no emphasis on what actually works for you. Trends come and go, but your mental and physical wellbeing is a lifelong journey undertaken with your close support networks.
Wellness isn’t always aesthetics
Sometimes, wellness is just about skipping a night out, or calling a friend, or eating your favourite meal. Wellness can be about intentionally keeping your eyes to yourself in yoga and avoiding comparison. Wellness can be simply about accepting where you’re at, and loving yourself regardless.
Think about the tried and true. Think about everybody who loves and cares about you. Look inward. Start there. Often, wellness is not a performance. Wellness isn’t always ‘aesthetic,’ but we think it’s beautiful.
Wellness, in our eyes
It’s World Mental Health Awareness month, but we at Sachi Skin think that wellbeing is lifelong, personal, and deeply special. Our most sacred rituals are ours and ours alone.
This might sound ironic coming from a company that is itself a part of the wellness industry, but, we feel like some things need to be said. At the end of the day, our company is built by consumers of wellness products, and people passionate about the industry in some form.
We’re human–we like to feel good, and, whether we like it or not, we’re also driven by cultural waves. We’ve talked a lot about the wellness industry, but we do believe that there are good intentions behind many brands. It’s not a bad thing to want to be healthy, and to aspire to content that moves us, and that inspires us to do better for ourselves.
What we’re really saying, though, is that intentionality is important, and that our aspirations shouldn’t make us feel bad about who we are, and where we’re at.
Maybe you do have a Reformer class you love. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re just working hard on fixing your sleep schedule. Maybe you’re just trying to drink more water. Maybe, wellness, to you, is a cup of tea in the morning. A nice mental health walk outdoors. Making time for friends.
We at Sachi love to journal, and we love to take care of our skin. But, when doing either thing, it’s important to remind ourselves that we’re doing it for us, and not to perform for somebody else.
What we’re suggesting, here, is not a disavowal of wellness as we know it, but a reframing. We believe wellness is whatever you make of it. We’re grateful to be a part of so many of your wellness journeys because we’re in it for the long haul. Your bad days, your good days, and everyday in between.