Holistic Wellness. What does that mean, exactly? It means something different to us all, I’m sure. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…I believe thoroughly that if the average person had more access to massage, yoga and therapy, the need for many medications would be nullified. Throw in meditation teachings, integrative nutrition counseling, acupuncture (which I’ve actually not yet experienced but already believe profoundly in the healing power of) and homeopathy in general, and you’ve got the recipe for many a disease cure. At least that’s what I think.
So, what do we do about it? It’s pricey to belong to a (good) yoga studio, therapy is astronomical unless covered by insurance (a whole separate issue) and massage is exorbitant and seen as lavish. Yes, it’s reasonable to make space for at least some of these practices/treatments in one’s budget, but it’s difficult for the average person. Especially if that average person is raising children.
Today I joined the “Wellness Program” at my local massage parlor. It’s the same parlor to which my mom belongs, in our home town. She raves about it. I’ve used her massages before, but never found it reasonably within my own means to belong as a member. I get a free yoga studio membership as a teacher in training, but that will end in June. At which point I will likely feel compelled to tack that membership onto my monthly budget. Sigh, I already feel the belt tightening…
I know the massage membership is more than worth it. Bodywork is something so profoundly healing and so totally out of most people’s financial grasp. Every time I’ve ever left a massage the masseuse recommends I come in every two weeks for bodywork. I believe them, while everyone wants to “sell” their services, I genuinely believe that I need this bodywork done. I believe we all do. I believe that we medicate innumerable ailments that could so simply be treated, and sometimes cured, by massage.
I feel similarly about yoga. Disorders of every sort, be it eating, sleeping, anxiety, anger or self-esteem, can be tended to or resolved. There’s the physical aspect of the practice, heightening one’s fitness, stimulating weight loss that in turn improves one’s health, the capacity to lower blood pressure, it goes on and on. There’s then the mental and spiritual aspects of the practice, that are overwhelming in their magnitude. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, investing in yoga is more than worth it. Plus, after some time studying with a skilled teacher, one may begin a home practice. A home practice not only saves money, but provides immense and powerful growth as a practitioner and human being.
As for therapy, I’m a huge advocate. I firmly believe that therapy would benefit every person, regardless of their lifestyle, perceived problems or past. It’s so cathartic to vent, and it’s beneficial for oneself and one’s personal relationships to unload on someone who’s paid to listen! Rather than constantly venting to one’s spouse, family member or best friend, which can overwhelm the listener and sometimes breed resentment, there’s a paid professional (and I emphasize professional!) in the picture to lend a confidential ear. So much self-study can occur within the intimate relationship of therapist and patient. I fear many people get stuck on the term “patient” and even the term “psychology.” As though one is “psycho” or “messed up” for see a therapist. So not the case, my loves!
I believe I have a healthier psyche for having fallen head over heels with my beloved therapist, Claudia Viazolli. She’s a gem of a human being and I wish I still saw her. I moved away, for one, and I also recovered from my eating disorder. She’s a genius specializing in treating, healing and saving those with disordered eating. She takes on extreme cases. Once I was recovered, I kept seeing her. She helped me navigate the ensuing years, an ocean of ups and downs, swinging from restrictive to out of control. I finally settled somewhere in the middle, well on the safe side of recovery. I continued to see her. We had phone appointments, My little heart sang out at the sound of Claudia’s voice. But it could really only continue for so long. I was recovered, I was well, and there were so many people out there who needed her desperately. She had a powerful hand in the saving of my life, and now, she had other lives to save.
It was a little heart wrenching to have to part ways. We still email now and again, we’ll always be in touch; she’s very supportive of my writing. I have looked into therapy here in my new area, through my insurance, but haven’t taken the plunge. Which leads me to my next point…
We are crazy busy, in today’s society. Chronically rushing. We don’t have much time. We rush from work, maybe to yoga if we’re lucky, back home for dinner with our loved ones, into bed to sleep and then do some version of it all over again…every couple of weeks we sneak into a massage on our day off, again if we’re lucky, and on top of that are social commitments, time spent just unwinding at home, taking care of one’s home, outside responsibilities…time is limited because most of us work 40 hours/week! Without so much work we’d have more time, but little financial ability to partake in the aforementioned holistic wellness practices. That being said, how do we fit it all in?
It’s up to you. We all have priorities. I have a beautiful home practice that, once my initial yoga teacher training finishes, may be my sole practice until my next training (and therefore next opportunity for tuition-covered membership) begins in October. I am elated to have joined the massage wellness program and intend to indulge in at least one, if not two, massages per month. I may even swap it out for a facial now and then (yes they have facials too!!!). As for therapy, I would be dishonest if I claimed that I have not been “able” to find time. I could make time. I could. There’s space, here and there, I’m sure. But trying to see a therapist through my medical insurance has led to inquiries as to what my “issue” is. Well, I’m a recovered anorexic…boom, they sent me to the eating disorder specialist. No…I’ve been recovered for nearly seven years. That’s just the only medical “issue” I could offer! So I was pigeonholed to one particular department. I suppose I could have said anxiety or stress, but the honest truth was I simply wanted the support and catharsis of psychology in my life.
Ideally, one day I will have the financial capability to see a kind, warm psychologist every so often as a source of outside support for my busy life. I wish this for all of us. More often than not we don’t even need “help,” we just need someone to listen! Someone to nod and smile and tell us it’s all normal, to help us uncover psychological habits that we wouldn’t see with our own naked eye. I believe therapy is super healing and soothing, even if you’re just the average person stressing about traffic and what to cook for dinner!
So, what can you do for your own holistic wellness? Are you telling yourself you “don’t have time” or “can’t afford” the activities your body and mind are truly craving? The things they really need? Think about it. Let this be food for thought. Your holistic wellness practices might be totally different than mine, and that’s fine, it’s normal. But tune in, listen closely when you have the “man I wish I could ____,” thoughts. The “I wish I had time for ____,” thoughts.
Make time for it. Make it part of your budget. Make your holistic wellness one of your top priorities. No one else is going to do it for you.
Wishing you an abundance of wellness, my loves, x
Image courtesy of MindBodyGreen.com