Why Toxic Wellness Ignores the Privilege Divide
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Wellness industry and how the well-intentioned concepts of wellness and self-care can sometimes only seem achievable through a lens of privilege.
I’ve always felt uncomfortable pushing the “just be more grateful” narrative in this business, and why I have chosen instead to focus on the real science behind positive psychology. So let’s dive in, ditch the fads, and talk about why those trendy wellness ideas and influencers might be doing you more harm than good.
The Dangers of Wellness Trends
In the world of Instagram filters and influencer posts, there's this pervasive idea that everyone should be oozing positivity 24/7. But here's the problem: it can inadvertently shame those who are facing real-life struggles. It's like saying, "If you're not radiating positivity every moment, you're failing at self-care." And that couldn't be further from the truth.
People aren't living in a black-and-white world where they can snap their fingers and make their problems disappear with the power of positive thinking. Life isn't an Instagram story. It's real, messy, and sometimes downright tough.
1. Toxic Positivity - A Tough Pill to Swallow
You've probably heard phrases like "just be more positive" or "count your blessings." It's great advice, don't get me wrong. But here's the rub: if you're working two jobs just to put food on the table or pay the bills, telling you to "look on the bright side" can feel like a slap in the face. It can be dismissive of your very real challenges.
What to Do: Instead of bottling up your feelings, give yourself permission to feel the whole emotional spectrum. Remember, it's okay not to be okay. Start with some light journaling (in any notebook will do!) or short mindfulness sessions to explore your emotions in a healthy way.
2. Unequal Levels of Support - Friends and Funds
Having a strong support system, whether through friends or professional help, can make a world of difference in your wellness journey. But not everyone has that luxury.
What to Do: If you're feeling alone in your struggles, look for online support groups or non-profit organisations that offer resources and counselling for free. Connect with people who've been through similar challenges. Open up to a trusted friend or loved one. Sharing your struggles can often help you find practical solutions and a sense of relief in knowing you're not alone in your challenges, even if it sometimes feels that way.
3. Socioeconomic Barriers and Time Constraints
Life often throws curveballs, and sometimes you're so caught up in responsibilities that you barely have time to breathe. Trying to carve out self-care moments can seem like an impossible dream when it feels like everyone wants a piece of you.
What to Do: Start small. Even a five-minute meditation or a short stroll can work wonders. Gather up the kids and dog and take a 5 min walk around the block, or find some green space where you can sit and they can run circles! You will all benefit from the time outside.Wellness doesn't always require grand gestures. It's about finding those tiny moments throughout the day.
4. Factors Within Your Control - The Real Self-Care
You've got more control than you might think. Catching those negative thoughts and challenging them (growth mindset), writing down three things that went well (gratitude), setting achievable goals (even seemingly insignificant ones), focus for a few minutes on what you can see, touch, hear, smell, taste (mindful meditation), take the stairs instead of the lift (consciously moving), eat to fuel your body and mind, whisper positive affirmations to yourself (even if you don’t believe them, yet!), and nurture your connections. These are timeless practices that can be adapted to your life, whatever it looks like right now.
What to Do: Remember, wellness isn't a one-size-fits-all deal. It's your personal journey, and it should fit your unique circumstances like a glove. Don’t overthink it.
Real Wellness is for Real People
Wellness is a beautiful thing, and it should be accessible to everyone. While trendy wellness ideas and influencers often miss the mark, I’m here to remind you that your journey is valid, no matter where you start. I hope this blog helps you find ways to navigate the labyrinth of life with more compassion, and empathy for yourself. Remember, you're never alone, and there's always a path towards better mental well-being.