When wellness affects mental health for moms

Living in the age of social media, we are often inundated with fitness inspiration, or 'fitspo,' from fitness influencers. They tell us what we should eat, what supplements we have to have, and how we should work out.

But what happens when that all gets to be too much?

It seems as though every few months a new fad diet, food, supplement, or magic workout routine hits the internet waves and everyone goes in a tizzy for the 'next best thing.' A few years ago it was avocados (which TBH, still are the best things in the world). Then it was the magic uses of coconut oil (Nipples hurt? Coconut oil. Diaper rash? Coconut oil. Dry skin? Coconut oil. Coffee creamer? Coconut oil. Cooking oil? Coconut oil. Don't get us wrong, it IS magic, but...) Now we are focused on the keto diet, which doctors are now saying is not necessarily a great way to live your life, and drinking glasses of celery juice to cure everything.

But why?

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If we followed every supplement, every vitamin, every mineral, and every 'must-have' beauty tool, workout routine, and supplement, we could literally be spending all our money and all our time trying to perfect ourselves. And all that stress to make sure we have chlorophyll in our high protein smoothies, taking collagen supplements and probiotic vitamins every day, all while eliminating carbs and downing celery juice as we finish an hour-long hot yoga session, HIIT workout, and Peleton ride (oh and be sure to finish off with fascia blasting, laser hair removal, and booty scrubs to get rid of cellulite) affects our mental health.

Over-wellness is a real thing. Dr. Robert Burton coined the idea of being overly worried about your wellness as "worried well." It is different from a hypochondriac or someone with health anxiety (i.e, people who get a cough and think "Oh my gosh, I have cancer"). These are people who are so concerned with their wellness that they focus on all the different things they should be consuming or doing to make themselves the best version of themself.

Many of us look at the 20 different vitamins we take daily and think that we have to take them every single day in order to maintain our ultimate health. We run 3 miles and then do yoga and then take our dogs on a hike because if we don't, we aren't as healthy as possible-right? Wrong. When wellness begins to take over our lives to the point where every aspect of our day is micromanaged by how we can incorporate wellness into it, then it begins to affect our mental health.

It is difficult to maintain a balance in today's world where Instagram influencers are telling us about this awesome new product that will change our life, or this brand new way of eating that will help you shed those last few pounds of baby weight. We read sensationalist headlines about how one particular food, vitamin, mineral, or supplement can "make us better" and we add it to our plethora of other things we "need" throughout our day. It is easy to become over-consumed by creating the best version of ourselves in a world that is so focused on health, wellness, and body image.

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If you find yourself over-consumed with all things health and wellness then it's time to take a step back. Here are some ways you can create more of a balance in your daily life:
  • Limit your supplements: Take one daily multivitamin per day, a probiotic, and one more supplement that you feel has the biggest impact in your daily life or that you're not getting from your diet.
  • Track your macros: Calculate your macros and eat foods within those windows of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. This allows you to have a steady amount of each necessary fuel source without over-consuming or under-consuming on one.
  • Exercise once outside and once inside every day- Unless you are a personal trainer or fitness instructor, there is no need to spend several hours per day in the gym. Do one workout inside and one workout outside every day to limit your time, and pair them as high intensity and low-intensity workouts. For example:
    • Inside: Lifting; Outside: Walk
    • Inside: Yoga; Outside: Run or bike
    • Inside: HIIT; Outside: Walk
    • Inside: Rowing; Outside: Hike
  • Take rest days- Your body needs time to recover in order to replenish itself and in order to see results. Give yourself 3 to 4 days per week of intense workout and then have one to two days of active rest where you walk, hike, or do yoga. One day per week should be spent as a full rest day with minimum activity (although a slow-paced walk or a little yoga stretch never hurts).
Wellness is more than just your physical health. It is also about your mental health. And if being so focused on your wellness is making you feel anxious or stressed, or you are spending much of your day tracking food intake, supplements, and working out then it might be time to re-evaluate and see if your wellness is actually good for you.

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