Doing You in the Age of Click-Bait Wellness

My inbox and social media feeds are constantly swamped with lists of foods that cause inflammation/depression/cancer/global warming/alien invasions, click-bait articles with titles like, "Why doing [INSERT] changed my life," and the newest product to rub on your face for glowing skin. This information can be overwhelming, contradictory, and guilt-inducing. Should I be using healing crystals? Cutting out coffee? Applying retinol? Drinking less alcohol? For every benefit declared, there is another source proclaiming a different stance.  

To be fair, receiving this bombardment of wellness tips is my fault. I visit websites and sign up for the newsletters. I linger too long over articles on Facebook that tell me what ten things to give up for better sleep. I've spent more money than I want to think about at Sephora and Birchbox trying out another "essential" skin product. Because of things I've read online, I've done a juice cleanse (it lasted a day and a half), quit coffee (it lasted one day), and gone vegetarian (once for a year, more recently for a month). 

I read these articles out of both curiosity and my perpetual quest for self-improvement. But when I slow down and reflect away from my computer screen, I realize that I know what positively impacts my life and what doesn't. I have some vices (I prefer the term "pleasures"), and they are fine with me, despite the dire warnings and anecdotal evidence of the respective click-bait wellness author. 

I love a glass of wine with dinner, checking out breweries, and sipping cocktails in West Village hideaways. Coffee is a morning ritual. On weekends, the "Are you still watching?" alert tends to pop up on my Netflix account. Juicing makes me dizzy and unproductive so I don't do it. I'm happier with meat in my diet. Maybe I'd weigh a pound or two less, have more money, even live a few years longer if I stopped these pleasures. But who really knows? I feel strong and healthy, rarely get sick, and have low levels of stress. The benefits of my pleasures (socialization, relaxation, feeling good physically and mentally) outweigh the potential negatives.  

This isn't say I'm not committed to my health. I do yoga frequently and work out almost every day, eat primarily organic food, and use all-natural beauty products. But again, these are practices that contribute positively to my life and are sustainable. This is an important thing for me to remember the next time I'm confronted with an article about a random habit I should/should not be doing. 

On one of the podcasts I listen to, one of the hosts told the story of how she told her kid the ubiquitous phrase, "Life is short." Her kid responded, "Life is the longest thing you'll ever do." Pretty mind-blowing right? But it's true - so filter the wellness click-bait, figure out what makes you feel your best, and do it. Cause you'll (hopefully) be here a while and you need to enjoy it! 

Pork soup dumplings in Chinatown. Not pictured: a cold Tsingtao. 

Pork soup dumplings in Chinatown. Not pictured: a cold Tsingtao.