Alix O'Neill | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 30 April 2015

How Not To Be A Wellbeing Dick

How Not To Be A Wellbeing Dick

The Debrief: Nope, no one cares that you’ve ditched the sauce for spirulina

I have joined a cult. I have brighter eyes and clearer skin as a result of my brainwashing, and mercifully, there’s no expectation to get down and dirty with other members of the ‘family’, but it’s a cult nonetheless. The cult of wellbeing. 

Wellness has never been sexier. Long gone are the days when Kate Moss and the Primrose Hill gang’s hedonism set the tone. Now, the in crowd is about spirulina, savasanas and hipster vegan cafes.

My mum was big into the alternative lifestyle thing – she brought me and my sister up on a diet of carob and kale, and extolled the benefits of transcendental meditation. I just wanted to play Nintendo and consume giddy amounts of E numbers like the rest of my friends. These days, though, it’s hip to be hippie. 

While juicing and yoga and generally looking after yourself is great and all, wellbeing junkies run the risk of becoming, well, knobs. I should know.

I’ve been boring my mates senseless with smug updates on my latest superfood creations and telling anyone who’ll listen how meditation has ‘given me a greater perspective on life’. (I know. I can’t even look at myself right now.)

The good news is you can still spiralise (to those unfamiliar with wellbeing nomenclature, a spiraliser is a nifty little gadget that turns veg into ribbons of pasta) AND keep your friendships in tact. Here’s how…

Try to go a whole day without referencing Deliciously Ella

A potted introduction to the world of Ella Woodward: student becomes super ill with a rare auto-immune disease, doctors are stumped, so she starts healing herself through a plant-based diet and documenting her recipes online.

Fast forward three years and she’s a blogging phenomenon with a bestselling cookbook and broadsheet food column under her belt, not to mention a legion of somewhat unhinged fans who credit Ella for transforming their lives. Hands up, I’m one of these losers. (I recently interviewed her and signed off with a creepy message about how she radiates health and positivity.)

While tasty and nourishing, the recipes aren’t exactly groundbreaking and include things like avocado on toast and medjool dates dipped in nut butter. Ella’s also fond of telling her followers to ‘have a beautiful, awesome day’. So you can see why the masses might mock. Best keep your obsession on the DL. Or email me and we can enthuse together.

Screw sandalwood 

Everyone’s banging on about mindfulness and there’s no doubt about it – meditation is fab. It has all sorts of proven benefits for the mind and body, but basically, I love how it chills me the fuck out.

Sitting cross-legged or even in a chair, and focusing on the breath for 10 minutes isn’t for everyone, though. You can get the same stress-busting, living-in-the-moment buzz from a super-intense spin class or a bloody great shag. So ditch the incense and the Buddhist chanting if it’s not working out for you and find your own path to nirvana.

Don’t give up booze completely…

For you will become really, really boring. I decided to take a hiatus from alcohol, perversely, right before last year’s festive celebrations kicked off. When some girlfriends came round for lunch a few weeks ago, over sweet potato chips and vegan salads, I smugly informed them I hadn’t been drunk in three months.

Six hours later, I had to be put to bed fully clothed with a bin placed unceremoniously beside me for inevitable purging the next morning.

Don’t be a dick – the odd glass of wine isn’t going to throw you off the wellbeing wagon and a naughty chat over a bottle of biodynamic shiraz (we need to maintain some standards) is infinitely more banter than discussing brands of wheatgrass powder with the guy behind the counter at Wholefoods.

Don’t come back from travelling wearing fisherman’s pants

We all have that mate who goes off on her gap year or post-uni round-the-world trip, and returns dreadlocked with a resolve to live off-grid. I was that mate, walking the streets of Dublin fresh from two months in South America, with a pierced nose and newfound spirituality. DICK.

You will not find enlightenment in a perforated body part or a token yoga class on some far-flung beach. Achieving true wellbeing takes time and practice, and doesn’t need to be shoved in anyone’s face. So by all means, enjoy that silent retreat you’ve booked yourself on. Maybe just stay silent when you get back.

Liked this? You might also be interested in: 

How Not To Be A Dick At The First Wedding You Go To That Isn’t Your Cousin’s 

How Not To Be A Dick When You’re In A Couple – A Comprehensive Guide 

How Not To Be A Dick When You Meet Your Boyfriend’s Mum 

Follow Alix on Twitter @alixoneill

Picture: Sophie Davidson