Kara Griffin is an L.A.-based personal trainer and holistic nutritionist as well as the co-founder of Dream. Set. Make.
Wellness isn’t “one size fits all.” While we have the hottest trends (they’re popular for a reason, right?) and cultural norms (they’ve had staying power!) for guidance, it doesn’t necessarily mean that said trends and norms are right for us on an individual level. We see this in the form of dissatisfaction turned frustration among those who, try as they might, just aren’t seeing the results they’ve been chasing or feeling as aligned as they’d dreamed.
Margaret Hunt, an L.A.-based clinical psychologist, says that while many of her clients are high achieving, they mostly overlook one thing: how to take care of themselves in a tailored way. “It is so important to feel accomplished, yet many incredibly successful people have never learned to be kind to themselves or to observe their own internal experience,” she says.
We might know that our wellness experience should be different than others, but we may not know when or why to adopt certain practices. How do you make a specific yet fun plan to reach your goals, feel confident, and live vibrantly? Here are some tips for creating a routine that works for you and you alone.
Get clear on what you want.
You can’t go on the journey if you don’t know where you’re headed. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating goals or dreams that are so specific there’s no room for discovery, but instead, decide how you want to feel on an everyday basis.
“We spend a lot of time trying to ‘feel better’ rather than living the way we believe is best,” Hunt says.
Be a detective.
Finding your wellness size is all about internal excavation and external investigation. Once your values are clear, you can dig into the discovery process: Try everything. If you let it, this can also be the most enjoyable part. Allow yourself to keep the things you know you love and also try things that you could never imagine yourself doing. Silent retreat? Rebounding? Intermittent fasting? Allow yourself to experience something with a curious mind. This skill is empowering because you can always go back to it.
Ask yourself some real questions post-practice.
If you run around town trying every wellness practice under the sun, there’d better be some mindfulness to it. Keep things grounded by going into the practice with an open, beginner’s mind; stay focused as you’re experiencing it; and evaluate how you’re left feeling afterward. So you have some tangible guidance to refer back to, journal it out. Some of the following questions can be helpful: How do I feel right now? What part of that experience would I want to feel again? What part of that experience would I want to leave behind?
Chase the joy.
You’ve journaled it out or at least done some internal evaluating of your experiences thus far. Listen to your body’s feedback on what it’s taken in, and repeat the items that make you feel freakin’ awesome. Go back to the thing that put a smile on your face or challenged your brain. You’ll put yourself into a positive feedback loop that will just keep on giving.
When we’re feeling motivated and amped about a goal or a potential achievement, we tend to approach it with a white-knuckled work ethic. It can be a beautiful thing, that drive of ours, but if not tempered, it can be destructive.
“I think [trendy wellness] can feed into perfectionist thinking about having to be hyper-productive in our work lives and to look sexy and well rested at the same time. These messages twist wellness back into a means of striving and achieving,” says Hunt. “Carried out over a lifetime, however, grit can become burnout and foster anxiety and depression.”
All things we’re trying to get rid of, yes? Let yourself rest so your body can tell you how to course-correct.
Trust the journey because there is no destination.
Your body is always changing, which means that your wellness size has to as well. Adjusting your routine (aka always being your own wellness detective) will not only honor where your body is at the moment but also nourish the state in which you’re currently living.
Keep this cycle on repeat for whenever you face a new health condition, set out to achieve a new goal, or are simply committed to living your #bestlife.