Things I spent money on instead of an hour with a wellness coach
Another day, another friend giving kudos to a ‘wellness coach’, ‘transformation mentor’ or ‘empowerment guru’ for the guidance and inspiration to make a change. I’m all for personal growth and self-improvement, but I’m struggling to see how paying for some hippie, self-loving advice from a mid-twenty year old with too many opinions on acai bowls could possibly help to achieve it.
I didn’t want to publish this for fear of sounding bitter for not having found the enlightenment reserved for people not working for multinational corporates but fuck it. More than one of my friends is being totally fleeced in exchange for terrible advice and organic, activated snake oil. Beyond that there are better ways to spend the money.
The typical wellness coach is about 27 and ready to give you a whole bunch of worldly advice. She has a beautifully curated Instagram. Smatterings of positive quotes in pretty typography that matches her general aesthetic sandwiched between the thrice weekly reposting of holiday snaps and ‘nature’ pics taken in her garden. They’ve left their ‘high-profile, corporate’ job (we really need to discuss what that means), become CEO/Girl Boss/Entrepreneur and just worked it all out. Apparently, this includes their rent and travel budgets which in Sydney or Melbourne I’ll confess is in itself magic. Although they have an association with Isagenix/Herbalife/doTerra (or other Multi Level Marketing organisation), so it’s probably not magic at all.
At the end of the day, your goals really aren’t that different to anyone else’s. If they’re wicked specific, you’re likely not looking online for inspiration online anyway — you know what you want and now you can’t go for it. But if you’re looking for someone to help define your goals, you’re better off just testing improvements in the all too familiar categories and finding what works for you.
Before you hand over any money to someone who claims to have found enlightenment faster than Siddartha, here are a bunch of things I have personally tested and advise you do instead of spending the $120 on each monthly 1:1 connection hour.
I’m telling you for free and without exchange of contact details for a mailing list. Try one or try them all, call them self-experimental sprints and post a bunch of self-reflective posts on it. You’re welcome.
Save the money (NAB Reward Saver +2.55% p.a. compounding monthly)
Financial stress sucks. A lot. Relationships break down because of it. It is literally contagious. So if you’ve amassed a credit card debt or your challenged in splitting the bill with a partner that earns more than you — it’s probably having a greater negative impact on you than you realise. Instead of envisioning yourself rich, put some damn money away.
Spend an hour putting together a budget — on excel, nothing fancy. Open a high interest, low/no fee savings account (or my personal fave, open an Acorns account) and put some money away for a rainy day and your own mental health.
A whole lot of books (Free if you visit a library)
If you’re a reader, kill two birds with one stone. It’s entertaining, linked to improving mindfulness and, assuming you go old school, not another screen that will keep you awake.
The 3 below are good reads even for non-readers.
SuperBetter — Jane McGonigal
Tools for Titans — Tim Ferris
Mindset — Carol Dweck
For under $15 you can learn how to identify purpose in life and build resiliancy from a Psychiatrist applying lessons from his time in Auschwitz instead of a Millenial who gave up managing a coporate Instagram account for their own personal brand. Up to you.
A Gym membership (what $15pw?)
Exercising releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy. I got really into the gym when I got a job after graduating that was 9–5. I needed to kill time that to avoid chilling, eating and watching TV from the time I got home. Classes required zero thought beyond packing socks, killed an hour and gave me a legitimate excuse to sit in the sauna for half an hour every day.
A weekly 45 minute session with a Kick-Ass PT ($60 for 45 minutes)
I lock in a Monday morning session to start my week of on the right foot, force myself to behave on a Sunday night and lift heavy things so I feel strong before I face the first day of the week. Busy weeks I add a second session because, counterintuitively, it gives me a second wind midway through the week. My PT is kick ass and has some inspiring women as clients. His 7:15am Monday client is a PHD studying, CEO training to conquer the seven peaks. Yeah, I definitely want advice from someone with that klout.
For the interest of fairness, how can you spend the same per month? Once a fortnight check in with a PT on form/testing and get a twice monthly kick up the ass.
Talkspace Subscription Therapy (from $32pw)
Talkspace provides subscription access to licensed therapists able to work with you remotely around the challenges of anxiety, depression or a just tough time. While most WC’s will point you that way where professional help where it is needed, therapists aren’t just for fixing problems or ‘serious’ issues. Positive psychology isn’t a subcultural, alternative or new age thing, it’s practiced by licensed therapists. It’s proactive and helps develop all sorts of behaviours, habits, coping mechanisms and perspective. They’ll give you relationship advice more useful than burning a piece of paper with your crushes name on it and releasing yourself from your own expectations.
Plus, they are legally not allowed to shill you supplements/candles/oil as part of a Multi-Level Marketing scheme. Which is a scummy thing to do anyway.
Not shown; six pack of beer
A week in an Instaworthy location
I was in the US for work anyway so hit up Austin, TX. From any east coast city of Australia you can realistically do the Great Ocean Road for less than 6 months of wellness coaching. Go take a years worth of #RatherBe, #wanderlust, or #TBT photos in a few fun days.
Or don’t. Ditch the phone, explore a new place, take a well-earned break and enjoy yourself. Social Media is not good for your mental health. The better advice is to take a break posting thank you’s to your coach for encouraging you to go on a holiday anyway.
2 x Season tickets for a sports team (From $200 each)
Want to learn what real resilience is? Attend every god damn Brisbane Lions home game for a year.
Haha I kid. I’m not that stupid. I signed up for a Learn To Row course instead because it’s less physically and emotionally draining.
Weekly guitar lessons ($25p.h from some dude on Gumtree, $40p.h somewhere less suss)
The long and the short of it is learning something new and recognising yourself improving is fucking amazing. Similar to going to the gym, progression is a confidence booster like no other. Plus playing a guitar has always been cool.
For me it’s super humbling though because I’m terrible, which is well needed.
Booze for a night in with friends of InstaCliche: The Drinking Game
Assign each player a wellness coach Instagram account and prepare yourself to not be able to drink again for six months #cleanse #detox
1 Swig for each hashtag in the post. 1 Swig for cheat days, confessions and truth bombs. 1 Shot for a post with mention of Organic, Superfoods, vitality, tribe, energy, hustlers. 2 Shots for #NotAnAd Multi Level Marketing Ad posts. 2 Shots for each comment of 5+ hashtags. Finish your drink — Before/After shots.
There’s a science behind social media influencing and that #bodylove post has less to do with inspiring you and more to do with growing that all important following. This is a great analagous experiment to discover how same-same these accounts are, all whilst bonding with your mates.
A Cleaner ($50 for a one bedroom apartment on AirTasker)
I paid for someone to sort and fold my washing one evening. I had work deadlines, masters coursework due and had just done the post holiday loads of washing. My mum would chastise my frivolous spending but that was the best $35 I have ever spent. My room was cleaner, I felt more organised, and I didn’t have a visual reminder of some pending task before I went to bed.
Fuck the mindfulness of cleaning your house, sometimes a daunting number of things stack up. That’s fine. Just treat yo self.