The Ultimate Secret to Health and Wellness.

melvilledamHealth and wellness often act synonymously with fitness and nutrition — terms increasingly prevalent as fall rudely encroaches on our final hours of freedom (and sunlight).

For a lot of us, it’s “time to hit the gym,” or finally adopt a “good routine.” We are sad but we are realists: gone are the days of beach days and Beringer.

We’ve picked out our new agenda books, and maybe even new Nikes. Classes are starting and the party’s over — we’ve got stuff to do.

There’s brown leaves and a crisp message heckling shamelessly through the morning air, whispering that it’s time to leave Beer ‘Garitas in well-composed scrapbook photos along with memories of midnight soirees and maxi dresses.

With September crowds peppered with Pumpkin Spice Lattes and infinity scarves, it’s next-to-impossible to go without hearing these words fall from the lips of guilt-ridden summer babes who also mutter the term ‘detox.’

But what if, just sometimes, health and wellness had nothing to do with fitness and nutrition? Instead, imagine them tangled between peace and content and mimicking the sanctuary of a July vacation. Let’s ditch the physical element of the detox for just a second, and toy with the idea of a mental cleanse.

I can hear it already: “Excuse me?” And let me explain.

This past weekend was, for me, the perfect ending to a perfect summer and just that — a mental cleanse. And for me, someone who considers the words ‘summer’ and ‘ending’ similar to profanity when arranged next to each other, this says a lot.

Sure, I got to see Brett, we ate like royalty and I had my fair share of Paralyzers, but these weren’t the sole contributors to my contentment (although they did help). It were those elements combined with my mental, wait for it, detox.

A mental detox is just as, if not more important, than a physical detox. You can cleanse the body of unnecessary toxins all you want. You can hit the treadmill and sweat, burn and blast all the calories in the world. You can tone and torch and kick and crunch, but if your mind is a cluttered mess, you don’t have much of anything, let alone health.

And you certainly don’t have wellness.

This weekend I road-tripped, I practiced my photography, I played ping-pong and I fished. It was true, real, and completely raw, quality time.

And, as a bonus, it was just as much fun as it was healthy, and there was nothing diet-like about it.

I didn’t bring my computer and I hardly looked at my phone. Actually, my phone charger broke as soon as I got to Saskatchewan and as much as I cursed that, it was a gem of a blessing. As soon as e-mails stopped rolling in and messages stopped sounding, I noticed my own batteries began charging.

Fun sans Instagram and Twitter — fancy that.

And that’s when I realized it. As soon as I unplugged myself from the world, I gave myself permission to be. I sat on the dock and admired the lighting and how it changed over the hours – a photographer’s dream. I chatted, and I listened. I breathed, and I basked in knowing that I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere else.

Health and wellness do have their place in the gym, but they also have a place in your busy life. A place with your eyes closed, maybe in a hammock. Maybe health and wellness live in the pages of the book on your nightstand that you’ve been too busy to peel open. Or, maybe health and wellness live on the couch with your boyfriend with music and merlot — health and wellness breed off laughter.

So, next time someone vents to you about needing to start a fall health kick, agree, sip your tea, pull up the covers, and shut off your iPhone.

You’ve got stuff to do.

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