Over the last decade, people have become increasingly invested in various wellness practices, routines, and products in pursuit of a healthier and happier life.

The wellness movement has taken social media by storm, impacting millions and millions of users. In the past year alone, we’ve seen items like collagen peptides, bone broth, adaptogens, and nootropics skyrocket with popularity, and practices like cupping, cryotherapy, and acupuncture also take center stage.

Recently, we even saw reality T.V. star Kourtney Kardashian partner with the famous supplement company Vital Proteins to create her own collagen peptides line. The collagen promises to “help support skin elasticity and moisture, a youthful appearance, and hair and nail strength,” an enticing byline for anyone looking to stay youthful.

There’s nothing wrong with investing in your health. I personally built a platform based around the term “wellness” in hopes that I could encourage other people to live more mindfully.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to live your best life, it’s incredibly easy these days to feel pressure to put hundreds or even thousands of dollars all in the name of “wellness.”

To break down how we got here, and what we can do in 2020 to simplify wellness, let’s look at the numbers.

The growth of the wellness industry

In 2018, we watched as the global wellness industry grew to $4.2 trillion. No matter the industry, when any economic field reaches such a staggering amount of money, you can almost assume that big corporations are starting to get involved if they weren’t already.

And when big corporations get involved we know that a lot of the time, the health of a user goes out the window, and in replacement a giant money sign forms above their head.

Technically, corporations are not to blame, as we live in a consumer-driven, free-market economy, but when corporations get involved in any industry, the number of products on the market increase, the rhetoric surrounding each product increases, and the attitude of consumers is impacted.

When this happens, consumers are left feeling either overwhelmed or confused at all the choices in the market. Even as someone who is emersed in the wellness scene, I find myself confused as to what products actually work.

This leaves consumers frantically wondering: Which brand of collagen do I get? Are all protein powders the same? How do I know which adaptogens are actually helping me? CBD? Cryotherapy? Ashwagandha? Celery juice?!

It creates a climate of frantic buyers, which fuels the consumer economy forward, but at the same time devastates not only a consumer’s wallet but possibly their health.

The growing amount of products leave the consumers anticipating a healthier lifestyle, possibly even excited at the thought of achieving one. These feelings can quickly change to frustration and confusion as the oversaturated wellness world is making it hard for consumers to understand what actually will help them amongst a myriad of choices and competition.

What even is wellness?

As someone who is constantly absorbing all new things ‘wellness,’ I know how crazy navigating this world can be.

Whereas wellness used to encompass eating a nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, and having an exercise regime, it now seems to be a whole new world of supplements, crystals, skin regimes, and organic juice shots.

A lot of these things are great, don’t get me wrong. I put collagen peptides in my coffee every morning, I love cupping, and you bet I drink spirulina and chlorella smoothies, but that comes from a place of extreme privilege.

A lot of what I use or experience is because it’s part of my job, but before I got into it, I remember wondering which products I had to buy. Not which products did I want to buy, but needed to buy.

Wellness Is Becoming Complicated: It’s No Longer Natural

My dad always jokes around that “back in my day, all we did was eat veggies, stay active, and sleep,” and they were “fine.” As he points out, the boundaries have disappeared, leaving consumers confused on where to draw the line on how “well” they should strive to be. 

According to Mark Hyman, a well-known functional MD, there is no such thing as a magic product or pill that can create perfect health. Getting healthy isn’t a quick solution, but instead a long-term game.

Therefore, the choices that we make each day, the food we eat, the amount of sleep and exercise we get, the way we reduce stress, are all elements of attaining good health. It is less about a destination and more of a lifestyle.

One thing to look at when observing the wellness market is if products promise a “quick-fix” or tell you that it will be a “cure-all.”

Factually, this can be bad for your body, or even a false claim. And, actually, when you think about it, wellness and health shouldn’t necessarily be a quick fix, but a change in your long-term lifestyle.

We are bombarded with words like “superfoods, veganism, supplements or food nutrients, organic/non-organic, and keto,” on a daily basis.

Not only does wellness focus on the nutrition and food aspect, but also the exercise aspect.

Boutique classes are plastered everywhere from yoga, pilates, weight training, spin classes, or even barre. These classes are awesome, and I love a good spin class like any other rider, but I make sure I use them in moderation.

They’re crazy expensive, and although I could budget for them, I am wary of spending $25+ per class.

According to Jenna Mons, CEO of AccessElite Health, “Millennials value wellness and well-being second only to family, so they are the generation that wants a more holistic option.” 

“Millennials value wellness and well-being second only to family, so they are the generation that wants a more holistic option, the generation that wants to understand where things are made and how they impact your body, a generation that is more interested in total well-being than any generation that preceded them.”

Social Media’s Role in Complicating Wellness

One of the biggest contributors to the complicated wellness scene is social media. If you spend 1 minute on Instagram or Facebook, you will immediately see products in front of you, whether it be from a MLM, an influencer, or a brand.

The truth of the matter is Instagram is a giant marketing platform now and has become a place where the most educated, to the least educated can market a product.

Just this week a pretty well-know Instagram influencer with over 3 million followers told his followers that they can cure strep throat with celery juice. This is dangerous because even though he does not have a degree in medicine, or even close to it, he has followers that trust him.

By definition, wellness is the state of ‘being in good health.’

It is about finding a healthy balance over the course of one’s lifetime and pursuing good health.

To me, wellness is finding what works for me. For me, it doesn’t necessarily mean 12 vitamins a day, and 5 different supplements, but maybe it is for YOU.

Part of simplifying wellness is simply blocking out the noise, as registered dietician Lisa Hayim, MS says. It’s ignoring all the ads influencers put out there, and the articles that are presented, and figuring out how wellness can work for you.

For me, as someone that struggled with autoimmune issues for years, I know the power of supplements and alternative medicine. I also know the power of simple habits that seem silly but can make an incredible impact.

Here’s how you can simplify wellness:

  • SLEEP. Try to get around 7-8 hours every night, and keep with a consistent schedule.
  • Eat a varying diet of foods that you love!
  • Eat a lot of plants.
  • Be active.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Enjoy food.
  • Find a community that you love and loves you.
  • Listen to your body.

Every person should have their own path to wellness, and each path will look different. It’s entirely up to you, and that’s what makes it simple.

Wellness Is a Positive Approach to Living

In 2020, let’s take back what it means to be well.

It’s more than about being free of sickness. It’s constant progress of change and growth, and a state of well-being.

It means caring for your body the way that works for you. It means taking medicines sometimes, and vitamins other times.

It means listening to your body and becoming more in tune with it.

It means doing your own research before buying into a fad, or even a popular trend.

At the end of the day, wellness can be simplified. It can be walks in the park, spending time with friends, or plugging into a volunteer group in your city.

The beauty of being “well,” is that it looks different to each person.

What does wellness mean to you?