I was fortunate enough to spend this past weekend at The W.E.L.L. Summit in Boston, a two-day curated event featuring the best of the best in the wellness community. There were top-notch speakers (like Latham Thomas, Kristen Arnett, and Ksenia Avdulova), passion-filled breakout sessions, drool-worthy goodie bags, and a joyous farm-to-table welcome dinner.
Needless today, I was in my wellness heaven. While many folks have now gone back to their home (from New York City to Mexico!) and all that remains from the welcome dinner are the memories, a full tummy, and one candle-lit photo on instagram, I wanted to share with you the many bits of wisdom I took away from my weekend. Enjoy!
1. Build your following by building your tribe: Desperation and trying to be like everyone else will do nothing for your popularity when it comes to social media. In order to grow your following organically, Breakfast Criminals powerhouse Ksenia recommends first building a community i.e. your tribe. Two must-dos? 1.) Share the love by connecting with like-minded folks in the industry and commenting/liking their photos and 2.) Get clear with your vision. If you want to be known in your industry, you must first establish your voice!
2. Trust your gut (literally): I absolutely loved participating in Soapwalla Founder + Chef Rachel Winard’s talk on “Going with Your Gut: How Intuition Leads us Down the Path to Fulfillment.” She bravely shared her story about her journey on leaving behind her promising music career at Juilliard and quitting her secure lawyer job to pursue her passion: making handmade vegan beauty products!
Both times Rachel was faced with a big decision, she felt an intense pain in her stomach, cuing her to trust her gut (literally) and follow her intuition. Finally Rachel decided to stop trying to please everyone else in her life and instead ask, “What’s the worst that can happen if I say yes?” and “What’s the worst that can happen if I say no?”
I can totally relate to Rachel’s experience (in both my career and personal life), and find that when you shush your mind and slow down, your body will tell you exactly what you need to do.
3. Know your sh*t (in your beauty products): Sure, we care about what we put in our bodies, but are you paying attention to what you are putting on your body? It’s crazy to think about all the crap that goes into our beauty products — everything from our deodorant to moisturizer! It was inspiring to be around lots of up-and-coming brands (like Petit Vour, Follain, and Soapwalla) that really get it, and work hard to offer products that work and are safe to use. Do a little investigation, and ask yourself if the ingredients in your daily products are recognizable. If not, think about giving your beauty cabinet a little makeover!
4. Take time to get crafty: One of my favorite workshops was a DIY product class with The Optimist Co. Founder, Devin. I absolutely loved Devin’s energy and passion for what she does — the girl literally oozes positive vibes! In her session, attendees were able to make their own body scrub (with epsom salt, castile soap and essential oils of our choosing) and all purpose house-cleaner (with baking soda, castile soap and essential oils).
The coolest part? Devin actually sells a Make-Your-Own Cleaning Product Kit, showing her customers exactly what’s going into the products and how to make it themselves. While some may find it strange that Devin’s giving away her “secrets,” I love how she’s encouraging people to feel empowered and add a little craftiness into their life! After all, we all deserve to feel like a kid every now and then.
5. Meditate every day: I was lucky enough to spend an hour with Josh Rosebrook to meditate, and chat about how to incorporate it into the modern lifestyle. Josh recommends meditating twice a day, for about 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. While many people may say they don’t have time to meditate, he swears by its power to transform the way you think and feel. One of my favorite mantras Josh recommended when starting out? “Everything is always working out perfectly for me.” How feel-good is that?
6. Take time to break bread + share stories among friends: One of my favorite moments of the W.E.L.L. Summit was the farm-to-table dinner hosted at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Yes, the food was amazing (catered by Chive Events), but my favorite part was the conversations and warmth shared around the dinner table. There is something quite magical about coming together with a group of like-minded people to break bread and share stories.
Key note speaker and the leading lady behind Mama Glow, Latham Thomas, encouraged us to find a way to add that communal aspect into our everyday lives by regularly hosting suppers with friends, ladies nights, and other sacred rituals.
7. Be real: One of my favorite things Ksenia of Breakfast Criminals said during her chat about social media is “Authenticity is greater than originality.” Many of us hold back and bring ourselves down because we think “Everyone is already doing what I do.” But it’s important to note that not everyone is you. If you can tell your story while remaining authentic, you’ve got something special there.
It made my night when Ksenia’s gal pal, the lovely Klara, told me that I had a really cool vibe about me, and that she loved how real I was. It’s extremely important to me to remain authentic and keep it real day in and date out as it’s something I put a great deal of value on, so it felt good to be recognized for it.
8. Nourish your body with good food: As I already mentioned, what goes on your body is extremely important when it comes to living well. But so is what you put in your body — that is whole, clean, energizing foods. The W.E.L.L. Summit did not disappoint when it came to providing eats we could feel good about like Organic Living Superfoods snacks, mini sweetgreen salads, and a wholesome breakfast from Thirst Juice Co.
By far my favorite meal was the farm-to-table dinner catered by Boston-based Chive Events. Everything on our plate was sourced locally, much of it from Boston’s North Shore. We enjoyed a fabulous, heart-warming dinner of local roasted chicken, a pumpkin + greens salad (made with extra creamy goat cheese as it was the last of the season), roasted seasonal root veggies, spaghetti squash and more. My heart and tummy were full of love.
9. Always be learning: Most everyone I spoke to at the summit — from bloggers to leading experts in the industry — recommend constantly learning and looking at new ways to do things. You can do so by reading, following those whom you admire & inspire you, and collaborating with like-minded individuals. Learning helps us grow and makes us stronger!
10. Own Your Beauty: The hilarious Kristen Arnett gave an incredible speech after lunch on Day 1. I loved her honesty, wit and humor, but one thing she said really struck home with me. As a professional natural makeup artist, she mentioned that 99% of the women who sit her chair immediately go to what’s wrong with them. “Make me pretty!” “Fix the bags under my eyes!” “Do something to my lips!” “I have terrible skin!”
This sort of negative self-talk is doing nothing to our wellness. It’s important to remember that all the makeup in the world can not make you beautiful if you first don’t feel it yourself. Practice self-love by focusing on the parts of your body that you adore, and go from there!
What wellness routines do you live by? How do you incorporate wellness into your day-to-day life?