A recent poll asked “How much time do you spend talking about wellness versus actually doing it?” Of those that responded, 85% of people said that they spend more time talking about wellness and less time doing it. Actually, I just made all of that up, there was no real poll. But it isn’t hard to look around and find plenty of articles that say something to the same effect: we are all stressed, fatigued, isolated, bored, etc. and so we need to be doing more to make sure we don’t spiral.
Though I have found valuable help in articles on self-care, I have to admit there is something about them now that creates a feeling of discomfort. Maybe it is just me, but it seems that the unforeseen consequence of a flux of articles, statistics, podcasts, posts, etc. about wellness during this pandemic is that there is a paradoxical feeling of stress. When you are confronted with everything you should do to be well and compare it to what you actually do (or have the time, resources, mental capacity, support to actually do), it can feel overwhelming to discuss wellness. So if we are already overwhelmed with everyone and their Zoom famous cat and dog telling us how to take care of ourselves during this pandemic, do we really need to hear more about wellness?
Well, the answer to that is about as straight-forward as any other topic at this point in our society – it’s complicated. I have to say up front that there is always going to be an importance in raising awareness about wellness. Most everyone goes through waves when it comes to where they are at in their wellness journey. That is why it isn’t such a bad thing to have so many reminders. If we find we have been sitting for too long again, or drinking one too many cups of coffee, or descending into a negative self-talk spiral, we can see that annoying article that once again prompts us to get up, drink some water, and do some self-affirmations. But for those burned out on wellness, for those who feel like they don’t have the means to be well, for those facing bigger picture fights for wellness – how can we have a more nuanced conversation about what it really means to be well? How can we still emphasize the importance of developing a practice of wellness, while discussing the real struggles that go with these practices?
For the rest of the semester we will do a blog series about both wellness and writing that explores how to approach wellness in ways that acknowledges its importance, but discusses its complexity. Because a practice of writing in a writing program is truly inseparable from a practice of wellness, we will also be talking about writing practices and the complexities that go with that as well. Perhaps, as a community, we can act as pillars of support and lean on one another from time to time as we talk about some of these difficult or frustrating topics. We hope that as we progress with the series that you will share your thoughts and experiences and join us in wrestling with Wellness and Writing.