Is It Possible to Binge on Wellness?

upward facing
Fiona Aboud

Did you know that the original marathon runner from ancient Greece, the guy who ran from Marathon to Athens to announce victory over the Persians, delivered his message, keeled over and died?

True story.

So why did we “modern” humans insist on taking a bad idea—running obscenely long distances— and turn it into a competition? Not only did we turn it into a race, we decided that running 26.2 miles isn’t enough, because now we have endurance races of over 100 miles.

Too much of a good thing?

It seems like we (and by “we” I guess I mean obsessive people) take a good idea or a bad idea—it doesn’t really seem to matter (Bungee jumping? Seriously?)—and overdo it. Whether we are talking about fad diets, exercise regimens or the startup workaholic culture, as humans we have a tendency to overdo things.

I wonder if I have done the same thing to “wellness.” How could wellness be a bad thing, you ask?

I remember last year when a friend of mine was participating in a wellness challenge at work and she was stressing out because she wasn’t getting enough sleep or doing enough yoga to meet the goals of the challenge. Ironic, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve totally bought into the concept of wellness, as I see it, which is taking a holistic approach to health that integrates heart, body, mind and soul. It sounds great, until I go overboard, like this:

I want to do more yoga.
I want to meditate more.
I want to eat healthier.
I want to exercise more regularly.
I want to be of service. I want to help others who are suffering.
I want to be honest and authentic and brimming full of kindness, compassion and integrity.

Geez. The pressure.

The thing I always seem to forget is that even wellness can’t be done perfectly; that even practicing wellness concepts every day is not insurance against sometimes feeling icky.

Today was one of those days.

Thanks to my wellness work and increased self-awareness, I see that my heart, mind, body and soul are… struggling. I don’t feel good, I don’t like it, and I try to get out of it.

For the first half of the day, I kicked myself for feeling bad (yes, I know it doesn’t make any sense). I’m a life coach; I have tools to make myself feel better. I teach these tools to others, for god’s sake. Why was I indulging in so much negative thinking? Why wasn’t I just tapping or meditating or yoga-ing or exercising my way to feeling better?

I don’t have a great answer for you.
Maybe it’s because I’m human and sometimes depression gets to me.
Maybe it’s because my expectations for how much wellness I can squeeze into my life is out of whack.
Maybe it’s a little unrealistic to expect that I will ALWAYS feel good.

In any case, today was a “do no harm” day. Some days, the best I can do is to stay sober and do no harm.

So I went to an AA meeting and then came home and took a nap.

I am where I am.

What I’ve learned from wellness philosophy, life coaching, meditation and yoga is that I have to begin with where I am. It’s actually impossible to be some place else. When I try to push and shove myself into being somewhere else, I just create more suffering.

I took care of what needed to be taken care of. I made it to a meeting. I responded to a few emails, but beyond that…?

It just has to be good enough for today. And that is a-ok.


Art © Fiona Aboud

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