No chill

Stress­ing over self-care? Join the club.

ELLE (Canada) - - Guide - By JEN­NIFER C OHEN

I LIVE IN LOS AN­GE­LES, a.k.a. ground zero for ev­ery health-and-well­ness trend there is. It’s the po­lar op­po­site of my home­town of Win­nipeg, which I left 18 years ago to kick off my ca­reer in health and fit­ness. While I love my adopted city, it has been nearly two decades of kale (since be­fore kale was a thing), cold-pressed green juice, power Pi­lates, but­ter cof­fee, cryother­apy, Zumba, tram­polin­ing, pole-danc­ing classes, CrossFit work­outs and in­door cy­cling.

Re­cently, at a yoga class that was a stretch to squeeze into my sched­ule, I found my­self count­ing down the min­utes un­til the in­struc­tor said “Na­maste.” It got me think­ing: When did “re­lax­ing” start to feel like work? Be­tween the med­i­ta­tion apps that keep ping­ing us to chill out, the two-hour (if you count the drive in heavy traf­fic to get there) barre classes that don’t leave us enough time to go gro­cery shop­ping for an or­ganic, grass-fed, eth­i­cally butchered chicken to sous vide for din­ner and bi­weekly meet­ings with an anx­i­ety coach, “well­ness” has taken over our lives.

But if self-care feels like a chore these days, it’s very likely not the care YOU need. Well­ness is not one size fits all. That’s why I never went back to that yoga class. I also unin­stalled that an­noy­ing med­i­ta­tion app on my phone and dis­cov­ered that I Zen out best while run­ning on a tread­mill to my favourite Spo­tify playlist. And, yes, some­times the best thing for me is to drink some cof­fee and binge-watch Scan­dal, and that’s per­fectly okay too. Here’s my ad­vice:


Ask your­self: “What am I getting from this?” If you se­cretly hate that smelly goat-yoga class, re-eval­u­ate why you’re tak­ing it. Is it be­cause you saw it on In­sta­gram? Or your friends con­vinced you it was the cool kids’ work­out? I know it’s tough, and the pres­sure to stay in the loop feels real, but try not to let the hype throw you off what’s best for you. It doesn’t mat­ter if your self-care so­lu­tion is tak­ing a na­ture hike or getting that mas­sage or pedi­cure you’ve been too busy to sched­ule. What re­ally mat­ters is that you do some­thing, any­thing, that makes you feel bet­ter than you did be­fore.


For me, ef­fec­tive self-care is all about de­vel­op­ing pos­i­tive habits. I’ve found that when I start my morn­ing with healthy prac­tices, it helps keep me on track for the rest of the day. For ex­am­ple, even though wa­ter isn’t al­ways my bev­er­age of choice, I know it’s good for my body, so I keep a bot­tle by my bed and drink a full glass be­fore my feet touch the floor ev­ery morn­ing. I also make fit­ness a pri­or­ity ev­ery sin­gle day. Hav­ing badass body goals is awesome, but I stick with fit­ness for the men­tal bene­fits. I’d rather feel like a badass than look like a badass, and with fit­ness, I can have both.


What­ever you find that works for you, make it manda­tory for your­self and com­mit to do­ing it. Once you start do­ing some­thing pos­i­tive on the reg­u­lar, no mat­ter how big or small, I guar­an­tee that you will feel bet­ter about your­self. Pos­i­tive ha­bit­ual ac­tions will leave you feel­ing more con­fi­dent and hap­pier.

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