What is wellness fatigue?

Written by Maya Butti | 12 January, 2022

woman sits at desk with child on her lap

Do you feel bombarded by the pressure to practise wellness routines? Are you trying to do it all, but feel exhausted? Nutritionist, Maya Butti tells us about wellness fatigue and how to combat it.

It’s hard to turn on any form of media these days and not see or hear messages about wellness:

  • Meditate twice daily
  • Drink 2L water per day
  • Drink your green juice
  • Eat carbs
  • Don’t eat carbs
  • Intermittent fasting is the way to go
  • Sitting is the new smoking
  • Do yoga
  • Etc. etc. etc.

Influencers, celebrities, wellness brands, health care practitioners are touting their health routines and “must-haves”. We are bombarded! And for many of us, the more we hear wellness messaging, the more we feel we “should” be doing all the things. And the more we feel like this, the more shame and guilt we feel for not doing them all!

The messaging around health is important — we only have one body, and the healthier we are, the better we can live our lives. But does the pressure of having to do it all do more harm than good?

Enter wellness fatigue — the fatigue/stress developed from having to do all the “right” wellness behaviours.

Drinking green juice, tracking your water intake, getting up every hour to walk, planning your meals like a pro athlete, meditating, doing yoga, weight lifting is all time consuming and requires a fair amount of planning and effort; it doesn’t just happen. Not only that, we all have life commitments (studying, taking care of family, chores, work, etc.) into which we need to weave these healthy habits.

Sure, it would be amazing to wake up in the morning, meditate, do yoga, and drink green juice. But if the act of doing all these activities feels more stressful than the benefit of doing them, we could argue that the harmful effects of stress neutralise their benefits.

The purpose of healthy habits is to make us feel better. Of course, meditating can be uncomfortable by its sheer virtue, and weight lifting requires a large amount of effort, but these activities should leave us feeling better, whether it be stronger, more relaxed or more energetic.

Wellness fatigue occurs when striving to be healthy is more detrimental than letting go of said obligations.

Something I say to my clients is that any new habits or healthy changes need to be realistic and sustainable. Just because someone online is able to have a 45-minute morning routine, it may not fit with you and your circumstances. Waking up 45 minutes earlier just to get it all done may actually be detrimental if it means lack of sleep, for example.

So how do we remove the guilt from something which is so incessant in our periphery?

  • Tune in and ask yourself if your health habits are actually contributing to you feeling healthy, or if you’re doing them out of guilt/ obligation/ instruction from someone. Do you actually look forward to doing your habits?
  • Unfollow/block/remove anyone who makes you feel less than good. Viewing/ hearing anything that makes us feel negative is simply not worth it.
  • Be flexible. Being healthy isn’t about being perfect. It’s about giving our bodies the best opportunity for health in our current circumstances. For instance, if you had a late night, you might be better off having a sleep-in than waking early because you “have to” do the things. Life happens.

Remember, you don’t have to do it all! You don’t have to do what other people are doing. Do what you can with what you have.


Maya Butti

Maya Butti graduated from Endeavour College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine). Her philosophy is based on healthy eating and living for longevity. Since graduating, Maya has been doing a number of things including working in clinic, working in corporate wellbeing and now she is working at a supplement company and laboratory. Her areas of interest are sleep, stress, healthy eating, and weight management.

Read more by Maya Butti

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