Then he told me, “This is the message from the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘You will not succeed by your own strength or by your own power. The power will come from my Spirit,’ says the Lord of heaven’s armies.
-Zechariah 4:6, ICB (International Children’s Bible)
This graph from the 2015 Global Wellness Institute report illustrates the income from the trillion-dollar wellness industry —one of the fastest growing segments in our economy. I only listed three areas of wellness from the report, but there are seven other areas—including $999 billion spent on “Beauty and Anti-Aging”—that make up this trillion-dollar industry. Our culture has become one of purchasing wellness as a product rather than embracing wellness as a lifestyle. Though we know our bodies, minds, and spirits far more intimately than any expert, we trust the powerful wellness industry rather than ourselves.
The number of wellness articles, blogs, webinars, podcasts, and experts is overwhelming. Then when they contradict each other, it’s confusing. I am constantly deciding how it all fits into my lifestyle. You may feel the same way: “How do I stay well? Who do I listen to? What is the true way to health and wellness?” If this powerful world of wellness consumerism is too much for you, too, join me as I discern the best practices for my lifestyle.
I’ve been speaking and writing on wellness for 15 years while also working on my own health. I have learned that my health choices work best when they align with my personal goals and values. I need to make health choices that bring me joy. So I decided to create my own standards for selecting the nutritional advice, exercise plan, or wellness strategy I will use to be my best. I invite you to use my plan or to create one of your own. Learn as much as you can from the many sources; then find your own path that will bring you well-being and joy.
Reflect on these three questions as you decide what wellness information works for you:
Where did the information come from? Who paid for the ads, for the speaker, for the information? If a person is recommending dairy three times a day (remember the milk mustaches?), is the dairy industry paying them? (Most likely, they are.)
How do your values align with your wellness choices? Some people become vegans (a person who does not eat or use animal products) because they believe eating meat is cruel and not environmentally friendly. I like to walk outside rather than in a gym because when I connect to nature, I feel a spiritual uplift. Think about whether what you eat and how you become physically fit support your values; if not, that may be one reason it’s harder to reach your wellness goals.
If you hate jogging but continue to slog resentfully around the track because your friends jog or you love your jogging clothes — stop jogging. Sit down and listen to your spirit. Explore other types of exercise: yoga, exercises for body and soul, or walking. At the end of my walks, whether it’s for ten minutes or two hours, I feel refreshed and reconnected to myself. My mood is uplifted, I am breathing more calmly, and I have more energy. Walking is my favorite form of exercise. It brings me joy.
With all the health information that comes at us each day, we can easily feel that we are not doing enough. We may want to stop what we’re doing because an “expert” says we need to do something else. Pay attention to how the Spirit of God is guiding you in your self-care. Can you trust the source of your health information? Are your wellness goals consistent with your values and lifestyle? Do you feel joy when you exercise or when you prepare and eat your foods? Notice your connection to God during your spiritual practices (for example: knitting, pet therapy, gardening, journaling, praying, music, coloring a mandala). Allow God to direct you to what you need to be well in your body, mind, and spirit. You will succeed by trusting your spirit.