Between diet culture, TikTok, and celebrity wellness routines, there’s an unrelenting pressure to do wellness the “right” way: getting up at the crack of dawn to meditate, fitting in a workout, juice, ice-roll, taking supplements—you know the drill. But that may be missing the whole point of wellness; after all, it’s not all or nothing, but rather, finding a happy medium. Enter the half-assed wellness girlie era. Instead of trying to achieve a perfectionist approach to wellness and feeling overwhelmed by what we should be doing to better our health, let’s celebrate moderation in our practices according to what our bodies need, not based on what a certain set of rules demands or what others are doing.
Your worth is not determined by whether or not you meal prep, get 7-8 hours of sleep, and sweat it out five days a week. And what you envision wellness to be can look entirely different from one day and one season of your life to the next. But, ultimately, wellness should come down to filling your cup, whatever that looks like. Keep reading for five ways you can embrace “half-assed wellness” in your life.
1. Tune into your body’s needs
Whether it’s a craving, gut feeling, or a yawn, your body sends you cues to let you know what it needs. Half-assed wellness entails looking out for and being attuned to those messages as well as honoring your body and allowing it to guide you on how to best give yourself TLC from day to day. Maybe you’re feeling particularly energized on Monday and you crush your 3-2-8 workout, but when Wednesday rolls around, you make a girl dinner, park it on the couch, and call it a day. Kudos to you for listening to your body! If taking care of yourself means ordering more takeout than usual, skipping your pre-bedtime journaling practice to get to bed earlier, and doing lazy girl workouts for the week, congratulations—you’ve mastered half-assed wellness. Knowing when to push yourself and when to slow down is half the challenge.
2. Add foods and workouts that bring you joy
Restricting your favorite foods, counting calories, and swearing off certain food groups altogether is so 2002. When it comes to eating, half-assed wellness has a flexible approach that emphasizes balance and moderation. Whether that’s intuitive eating or following the 80/20 rule, focus on nutrient-dense foods that do your mind and body good, but also make room for your favorite indulgences. Your eating habits will (and should) change depending on your activity level and your food preferences, but that’s the beauty of it—you call the shots and can make adjustments every day, every week, and every season of life.
Likewise, if you’re dragging your feet with your current workout regimen that you’ve stuck with simply because it’s been working for your go-to influencer, try incorporating other forms of movement (cozy cardio, anyone?) and ask yourself if you’re having fun doing them. While finding the workout that speaks to you can take some trial and error, it should always be enjoyable. Bottom line: The end goal is to foster a lifestyle of sustainable health habits so that both your body and joy are prioritized.
3. Get comfortable with doing less
Thanks to hustle culture, we’re left with nagging guilt if we’re not constantly doing something productive. But half-assed wellness centers around taking it slow and savoring the present. Otherwise known as the “quiet life,” there are no complex morning routines, celeb-backed cleanses, or TikTok fitness challenges to maintain. Are those actually healthy anyway if they require you to sacrifice your mental or even physical well-being? Give yourself the permission to get off the hamster wheel of life and let go of the pressure to always be doing something or achieving more. Rather, strike a balance between work, exercise, eating healthy, relationships, and me-time, and focus on being mindful, reconnecting with yourself, and hitting reset.
4. Set boundaries
Speaking of the balancing act we juggle every day, setting boundaries with yourself and others makes room for more time and energy for areas of your well-being that may need more attention. Start by reflecting on your mental, emotional, and physical needs. Are you having recurring negative thoughts? Are you feeling more spent than usual? Is your body feeling achy and sore? Then decide what boundaries you want to set. Maybe that translates to taking a break from social media to prevent FOMO every time you see an influencer tout a new wellness trend, being upfront with your boss about your workload, or saying “no” to a workout class with your fitness buddy if you haven’t taken a rest day all week. While it may be uncomfortable at first and take practice following through on your boundaries, your health will benefit when you show up for yourself.
5. Give yourself grace
Celebrities and influencers can make “doing it all”—exercise, nutrition, sleep, social life, self-care—look effortless, which can cause feelings of shame or self-judgment for not being able to keep up. But keep in mind that social media never shows the full picture–they may have more resources to make a healthy lifestyle more accessible, or they may be struggling more than you know.
Half-assed wellness reminds us that wellness is not one-size-fits-all, each person’s health journey should be unique, and what your wellness routine does or doesn’t include does not define you. In other words, stop chasing the idea of perfection in your wellness routine; it’s not only non-existent and unrealistic, but it also creates unnecessary stress. Going on a walk with your bestie instead of going to the gym session you originally planned is just as healthy as saying “no” to another night with friends to get up for a workout in the morning. What matters is your own definition of “healthy” and doing “wellness” how you see fit every day.