I used to make fun of natural health fans. Then I became one.
Making fun of health nuts used to be a hobby for me. But to be fair, I live in one of the more ridiculous “havens” for them.
Seriously, I live in a city where people put nutritional yeast on pizza. Gluten-free beer is standard in every bar. If you drink a regular Coke, it better be Mexican and made with real sugar or else you’re going to get the stink eye.
For years, I rebelled against this. I’m from a rather blue collar background. The idea of worshipping your own body to the point of excess seemed self absorbed. Weren’t there better things to do with your day? With your life?
But then I took a step back and realized something: I had no idea how to actually take care of myself.
If I wanted to be good to myself, I was doing things that were actually bad for me. Skipping exercise. Drinking alcohol that was full of sugar. Eating a lot of sugar in general.
My body didn’t like it at all. I wasn’t dehabilitatingly overweight or sick. But I generally felt like shit a lot of the time.
My PMDD, as always, provided a good indicator. My emotions were regularly all over the place. Regularly, and when I was a werewolf. I couldn’t linger and focus on my emotions. I was afraid to get vulnerable.
Then, I made a major life decision and found that I could not get my shit together enough mentally to actually think about it.
I had to make a change.
It started conventional: I went on mental health medication for the first time. After a rough two weeks of transition, the transition was remarkable. No longer were my thoughts intrusive like a noisy brunch table pushed way too close to me. Now they were on the other side of the restaurant.
I already took supplements, but I took more. Hey, fewer headaches. And these smelly herb pills actually control my PMDD symptoms in a great way.
I dry brushed. No, it doesn’t eliminate cellulite in a significant way. But extra circulation and exfoliation? Yes, please.
I smoked pot for balance and happiness. Every so often, I write about it.
I used bath bombs. Sweet god, now baths made sense.
I turned off a lot of notifications on my devices. I work on the Internet and I don’t want it in my face all the time.
I read a lot of self-help books, though that’s also because I have a podcast all about finding the truth within those things.
I meditated, for Pete’s sake.
And I changed. Going on depression meds made me more susceptible/sensitive to negative things happening to people.
I used to be a true crime fan. But now, I don’t want to hear a bunch of stories about people getting away with terrible things—or hearing stories about someone’s worst day ever. I don’t want to be voyeuristic or self-flagellating with other people’s suffering. I understand, to a far lesser degree, what the poor Facebook moderators must be feeling. We as a people don’t understand how easily we can hurt our own souls.
Most recently, I’ve given up caffeine. This was the hardest by far, because I hadn’t gone more than three days without caffeine for 14 years. I’ll probably re-integrate it to once a week after 90 days of detox. But I have to be honest: Except for some superficial lightening of PMDD symptoms, I really don’t miss it.
I hardly talk about any of these changes in my life. Because people who talk about their “wellness” all the time are obnoxious.
I grew up in a blue collar house. We had real things to worry about. In college, I had to worry about paying for things like rent and food and life. Not to mention my father, who committed suicide in my sophomore year.
So no matter how much of a witchy, Natural Living person I become, I don’t ever want it to become my identity.
I’ll help people if they want to know advice about something I do. I’ll cheer people on if they decide for themselves that they want to make positive changes, in true Irish style.
But living well is fuel for my bigger dreams. It’s not all I am. It should just be fuel for achieving bigger things.