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COMMENT: When wellness makes you unwell

COMMENT: When wellness makes you unwell

Thursday 27 February 2020

COMMENT: When wellness makes you unwell


A local specialist has exposed the "dark side" of wellness, warning of increasing numbers of people falling victim to the "worrying" and often "obsessive" clean eating trend.

According to Jade Ecobichon-Gray, Founder of 'Mindset Matters', Mindset Coach and Organisational Wellbeing Specialist at Bond Street Health, professionals in her industry are seeing more and more instances of 'wellness' making islanders unwell.

In a column for Express, she explained why islanders ought to reclaim the term...

"There are numerous positive benefits to taking the first step on a wellbeing journey, including an uplift in psychological wellness, improvements in physical health and nutritional habits, not to mention increased meaningful social connection - all of which undoubtedly result in a more positive state of being and generally just being well.

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Pictured: In her first column for Express, Jade exposes the 'darker side' of wellness.

So why as wellness practitioners are we seeing more instances of 'wellness' making us unwell?

Largely, it lies in the dogmatic approach of ‘doing’ wellness, which has become more about aesthetics than an investment in self. This pervasive culture can affect us all, particularly during times of emotional distress when life feels uncertain and we yearn to feel in control.

In 2017, my supplementation regimen would require getting up half an hour earlier to knock back a multitude of tablets. I drank so many green smoothies I was convinced that one morning I might wake up with a hulkish green glow. I worked out in earnest, I put myself on various 'clean eating' plans, I pushed past the cacophony of negative thoughts in my head and tried to convince myself that, if I just committed to wellness, I would feel better.

This is the dark side of wellness.

It is confusing, overwhelming and all-consuming. It can also be extremely detrimental to your health. When the pursuit of wellness begins to govern your food choices in a restrictive way, or you find yourself panicking because you’ve missed a workout session, or you’ve become somewhat obsessed with cleanses, supplements and the obtainment of a wellness glow, to the detriment of your health, your mindset and your social life, wellness isn’t working anymore.

The term Orthorexia was coined to describe the recent worrying trend of individuals becoming unhealthily preoccupied and obsessed with consuming only ‘clean’ food. Orthorexia goes beyond a positive lifestyle choice to overhaul nutritional habits, and can result in a decline in psychological wellbeing, a loss of interest in social connection and activities, and significant negative health implications. 

Now it would be far too simplistic to lay all the blame solely at the doors of social media, but its influence must be discussed in order to shine a light on the detrimental impact of the wellness ideal, that is sadly plastered all over our Instagram feeds nowadays. This dangerous ‘ideal’ captured in seemingly perfect Instagram selfies can often lead us to associate wellness with thinness, with beauty, and with control.  

It is why I advocate reclaiming the term 'wellness' and making it work for us.

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Pictured: 'Clean eating' is darker than it sounds, according to Jade.

Real wellness is a positive state of being that starts in our minds, it is not an assault on our bodies for failing to conform to ridiculous standards of health and beauty in order to feel good enough.

Nurturing our minds with self-awareness, compassion and an informed approach results in a desire to nourish our bodies in a healthy, nutritious, loving and sustainable way. If your wellbeing journey is starting to feel gruelling, restrictive or over complicated please reach out and seek support because ultimately a happy you is a healthy you."

The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, and not Bailiwick Express.

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