Wellness is so much more than just the foods you eat, the foods you don’t eat, or the exercises you do. What are you serving your head and your heart? 

As a leading functional medicine practitioner who consults people around the world, I see firsthand the impact that stress, toxic relationships, or a lack of healthy boundaries can have on one’s health. These topics are also something I am exploring in my new podcast The Art of Being Well.

In my years of clinical experience I have learned there is more than just a science to wellness, there is an art, as well. Now, I see wellness in a whole new light—here are some ways I’ve learned to redefine the concept:

1. Sometimes wellness is realizing that your worst enemy is your memory. Quit holding onto your past. Let that sh*t go.

The art of releasing what no longer serves us is an essential part of being well. Sometimes wellness looks like telling your negative, ruminating thoughts “not today,” and closing the door on the past.

Do yourself a favor and do a brain dump every time those negative thoughts or memories come knocking: Write everything down on a piece of paper, tear it up, and create a beautiful, clean space to take your life to the next level.

2. Sometimes wellness looks like not letting people who are at war with themselves influence your energy.

We, as humans, have energy exchanges all day, everyday. The people we interact with—in person, on the phone, via text, email, social media, or even glances on the street—can all impact our mood, thought process, and trajectory for the day. It’s important to create healthy boundaries, wherever possible, with people who try to pull others into their negativity.

3. Sometimes wellness is not taking criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.

Who you are and what you stand for develops over the course of your life, through experiences and relationships. During that journey, you will likely come across people who have opinions on how you should be, what you should wear, and what you should believe. When growing through that process, receiving unsolicited criticism from a person that holds no real place in your life (cough *social media trolls* cough) is the last thing you need to be doing. Sometimes wellness looks like asking yourself three three simple questions:

  1. Does this person truly know me?
  2. Can I trust that this person has my best interest at heart?
  3. Have they been present for both my wins and losses?

This quick mental checklist puts words and opinions into perspective, revealing what should hold weight in your life, and what should not.This simple process serves as a reminder that while constructive criticism, when coming from the right person, can help us become better versions of ourselves—in other cases, it’s best to let words roll off of you.

4. Sometimes wellness looks like not attending every argument you’re invited to.

Every word we speak has the power to bring positivity or negativity into every environment and every conversation we’re in. Think twice before participating in an argument: will anything good and productive come from it? What solution are you looking for?

Sometimes wellness looks like staying calm and choosing to decline the invitation to an argument that would be an exercise in futility. In these situations, silence and stillness can oftentimes say more—and will be more effective–than endless hours of effort that go nowhere and leave you feeling drained.

5. Sometimes wellness looks like letting toxic people go.

Throughout life, friends come and go, but your inner circle starts to solidify and remain consistent. Think about it like this: Our lives are like a concert, there are rows closest to the stage and then rows way in the back. These rows can symbolize the relationships in our life, not everyone can sit in the first row, VIP section.

Sometimes wellness looks like sending certain people to the exit door. In some cases, before fully cutting the relationship, try setting boundaries first. However, if that fails, it’s time to say goodbye to toxicity.

6. Sometimes wellness looks like the art of JOMO (joy of missing out).

Many of us are always on the go—if not physically, at least mentally and emotionally, we are always “on”. Of course, you can’t always control your packed schedule, but I do encourage you to try inserting some time for stillness. For me, sometimes that means a night when I’m simply stay home, do nothing, drink tea, and search random questions like “how long do manatees live?”

Here are a few other examples that may bring some joy into your routine:

  • A monthly massage.
  • A day of the week where you enjoy a nice hot bath.
  • Monthly treat-yourself-day.
  • One day a week where you light some candles and just rest, not doing anything in your room.
  • Trying a new type of tea each week.
  • Reading that book you’ve been wanting to read but have been putting off.
  • Use nature as a meditation. Take in the forest or greenspace with all of your senses. The japanese term for this is shinrin yoku or “forest bathing”.
  • Watching a nature documentary. Even pictures of nature can be calming.

The takeaway.

Let this be your reminder that supporting your health and well-being can take many forms. While diet, movement, and daily care practices can be beneficial—be sure to protect your mind and soul, as well.