Wellness is a Warm Croissant
What does it mean to live well? Answered by a clean beauty entrepreneur.
I plan almost everything in my life. I don’t step foot into a grocery store without a list in hand. I schedule back-to-back fitness classes at different studios within the city that leave me the perfect amount of travel time to get from one class to the next (because arriving on time, right down to the minute, is my heroin). I know what I’m going to order the moment I sit down to eat because I’ve already researched the restaurant’s menu beforehand.
I plan in such a way for the sense of control that comes with knowing how my day is going to unfold, but I also plan so there is intention behind everything I do. For the past few years, that intention has been primarily surrounding the pursuit of wellness. I’m a natural lover of vegetables and exercise so that pursuit came fairly naturally to me, but earlier this year, I embarked upon an elimination diet to try to cure dermatitis—something I’ve been experiencing for most of my adult life. This painful rash made a home on my face whenever it saw fit, and I thought that if I could do everything just right, it would leave for good. I cut out dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, refined foods, alcohol, and caffeine. As a planner, this was my opus. My routine was perfectly thought out, my meals were nutrient-dense and very green. Every workout was the hardest workout I had ever done. “This,” I thought, “must be what wellness is!”
It might come as absolutely no surprise to you that I was wrong. I was eating lots of healthy food, getting tons of sleep, and regularly moving my body in ways that made me feel great, but I became so obsessed with the rigidity of my routine that despite attending regular yoga classes, I was deeply inflexible. I only wanted to eat food that I prepared myself, which meant dodging nights out with friends. I declined family dinners on multiple occasions simply because I thought that turning down my mom’s homemade pasta in favour of steamed green vegetables with coconut aminos would be a better decision for my well-being. My wellness routines were ruling my life and my skin had not improved in the slightest.
This past summer, a visit to the new coffee shop around the corner from my house became a staple in my morning routine. My neighbourhood is a great place to buy a mid-century modern sofa or maybe a Kitchen Aid mixer, but it’s not known for its cute coffee shops. Needless to say, when this place opened up, it became much harder to stay caffeine-free. I always dodged the baked offerings and went straight to the till for my oat milk latte. One morning, however, I decided to order a croissant. Maybe it was because of the jealousy I felt seeing everyone’s European vacations on Instagram. Maybe it was because the tray of pastries had just come out of the oven and they smelled undeniably good. Maybe it was just because I was hungry. I tried not to question myself and just went for it. I then proceeded to do something else out of character: I walked over to a table and sat down to eat, rather than running out the door.
My life didn’t end when I broke off a piece of flaky pastry and dipped it into the creamy foam of my coffee, but the world did go a little quieter, if only for a minute. Eating a croissant does not take long, but they are messy, delicious things that demand your full attention. The ten minutes that I spent doing nothing other than sitting and enjoying every bite were pivotal for me. Once I finished, I got up and went about my vegetable-filled life in the same way I would have any other day. But the next morning, I came back to the coffee shop and I did it again.
In the following weeks, I found myself saying yes to more things. I said yes to things like spontaneous outings with friends that required me to drink wine and eat pizza (and maybe even skip a workout). I saw my parents more. Two friends who work in my neighbourhood regularly joined me for morning croissants and our meetings became the highlight of my week. I had so much more fun as I slowly loosened the firm grip with which I held onto my routine. Without thinking too much about it, my skin got better.
The pursuit of wellness is deeply personal and can mean something different to everyone. To me, wellness is getting plenty of rest, eating green things and not being afraid to say no to shit you don’t want to do. Wellness is also drinking lukewarm beer on a boat with your friends on a Wednesday night and late cancelling your 6 am workout the next morning. Wellness is waking up with absolutely no agenda for the day. Wellness is a warm croissant.