I have often been moved or impressed by things Kat Weed shared in her instagram account, so asked if she would take over our Wellness Almanac instagram. In the spirit of using social media more mindfully, to try and boost mental health, rather than damage it, here’s Kat.
Windy selfie alert! Taken on the Lillooet River this summer. My name is Kat Weed, and I've been honoured with taking over as guestagrammer for the week. This project got me thinking a lot about what wellness means to me, and I'll be sharing these musings over the course of the following days with you. A few things about me: I live in Pemberton with my partner Justin, and even though we don't have kids or dogs (seemingly the pre-requisites for living here), we really love it here!!! I've been a massage/yoga practitioner for a decade, but don't worry, I won't bombard you with acrobatic yoga poses in the sunset or gratitude hashtags. I finished the coursework for my MA in counselling psych in July, and am now doing my internship at Quest University in Squamish, working with the students there. I am passionate about showing up honestly on social media as an imperfect, in-progress human being…..to me, allowing ourselves to be fully human is what wellness is all about. And in light of the Me Too movement that has been happening over the past few days, where women have been giving a voice to sexual assault or harassment that they've personally experienced, I will join this tribe because I am one of them too. #metoo #katweedtakeover
This was taken last weekend on a fun little hike near Pemberton. It was a gorgeous sunny day (although apparently not sunny enough to wear sunglasses?!) and I got to share it with my favourite person. For me, being outside is a huge part of wellness…..I can't imagine what my life would look like if I didn't have mountains and lakes and rivers right outside my door. It reminds me of how small I really am in the grand scheme of things, and it would do our species a lot of good if we could remember that we are a part of nature, rather than separate from it. This morning, I got some news that reminded me of how precious life really is, and reinforced the importance of spending our time on this planet doing whatever it is that we feel is most meaningful to us. Spending time outside in the fresh air always helps me gain perspective on this too. #katweedtakeover
This is not a photo from today…….today it's raining hard, and has been for the past several days. That said, I didn't post this photo of myself and two of my favourite ladies in the sun because I'm sitting here wishing for the feelings I had when this was taken (i.e. connected, loved, healthy, active, sunkissed, joyful, appreciative, etc). These feelings were easy to have at the time, given what we were doing. And this leads me to something that I want to address. At the moment, I'm sitting by myself in a cafe in rainy, overcast Squamish, and experiencing a completely different range of emotions, ones that often don't make it onto social media…….like grief, sadness, and loneliness. And this is OK. I am a whole human being…….not one who is perpetually in a static state of bliss, biking with friends in the sun……in much the same way that none of us are in a static state of anything. Because this doesn't exist. We've come to use social media as a way of showing others ONLY what we want them to see, which is a reflection of how we want others to perceive us (usually based on our own fears about ourselves). This is toxic, because it leads us to shame ourselves for having feelings other than "happiness"……we might feel like we're somehow not as worthy as all those seemingly happy, smiling people we just saw while scrolling through our feed. We end up shaming ourselves for being human…….we feel somehow "wrong" for experiencing anything that doesn't fall under the title of "fine" or "good". The reality is that we have been biologically gifted with a wide range of emotions, and it's important (and healthy!!) that we acknowledge and honour all of them. It's time we celebrate the totality of our humanness, instead of shutting it down. To me, this is the key to wellness. #katweedtakeover
by Kat Weed
I really enjoyed my week as guestagrammer for the Wellness Almanac.
As a recent addition to the community, it was really rewarding to share my experiences and thoughts on wellness, and in essence, “put myself out there” within an online community comprised mainly of Pemberton residents.
As I mentioned in my first post as guestagrammer, my goal while on social media is to be as honest, authentic and transparent as possible.
This isn’t to somehow incur sympathy (or even empathy) from others, or to be “dramatic” or self-congratulatory regarding my own personal story or experiences in life. Rather, this is to normalize the imperfection of our experience as human beings, and to emphasize that the constant shift that we all experience on a moment to moment or day to day basis is actually normal; in fact, this constant flux is the one thing that unites us as a species.
We are constantly exposed to an idealized, unrealistic version of “happiness” as a static state of being, rather than being taught that happiness is simply “one of many” emotions that we will likely feel in a day.
This can naturally lead to us shaming ourselves when we are struggling emotionally; we might be less likely to share our insecurities or fears with others, because we feel we are somehow “wrong” for having them. We might fear being judged for not being “good” or “fine” or “happy” all the time.
The most insidious part of a culture which prizes shiny, varnished versions of being human over the real thing, is that we actually begin to shut down and turn inward when we are struggling, which can lead to all sorts of mental, emotional, and physiological dis-ease.
As Brene Brown says, “shame can only exist in secrecy”. And as a therapist, I can tell you that we all have damn good reasons for the feelings that come up for us; they are purposeful, and full of information.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean they won’t hurt any less. By acknowledging all of who we are, instead of shutting down different parts of our experience (and then shaming ourselves for having these “bad” feelings in the first place), we begin the process of allowing ourselves to come into relationship with our experience in a different way.
In posting as I did as guestagrammer (and as I typically do on my own page), I hope to address the reality of the human experience.
Being guestagrammer for the week was a great opportunity for me to reflect on what I feel are the key elements of wellness and health.
And in my opinion, learning to come into relationship with our feelings is the foundation of true wellness and health. Let’s celebrate what makes us human, no filter necessary.
I took this unglamourously beautiful photo this morning in the industrial park, while taking my truck into the shop. The light was incredible, and the yellow leaves on the mountain were popping out like crazy. Seeing this was a reminder of how lucky we are to live in a place where we get to see views like this all the time while going about our lives……..almost as if Mother Nature is nonchalantly saying "oh by the way, there's this…..and this…….and this". We get so used to seeing perfectly coiffed nature images on the internet that we sometimes forget to look around and take in what's happening right in front of us, especially if we don't happen to be in the middle of nowhere overlooking an obviously stunning vista. #katweedtakeover
This was last winter, on Mt Rohr up the Duffy Lake Rd. It was a bit late in the season to be skiing this aspect, and we ended up having to pull some "sporty" moves starting about 2/3 of the way down 😝 Still an amazing day in the mountains though. This photo reminds me of a time when this was all I had……being in the mountains all day every day was the only thing that allowed me to function as a human being. It was the only place that I felt free of anxiety, depression, shame, constant relationship issues and repressed trauma. And so I built an entire life that supported this pursuit. I went to massage school so I could work away in heli-skiing lodges, and get some good heli time. I began a private practice in the town I was living in (Revelstoke), and only booked clients in the evenings so I could spend all day in the backcountry. As it turned out, this was my way of defending myself against my own pain. I was using nature (an obviously healthy coping mechanism) in an unhealthy way (as a constant distraction). And it worked for several years. Until it didn't. And I had to learn to deal with myself, and face what it was that I'd been running from. After years of work, I can honestly say that although I still absolutely love spending time outside, I don't use it as a "baby-sitter" in the way that I used too. Being in the mountains now serves to enhance the life I've built for myself at valley bottom, instead of the other way around. I guess my point is this: HOW we do things is more important than WHAT we're doing. In my opinion, getting really honest with ourselves about what might be happening for us under the surface (especially if it looks shiny and healthy on the outside!), is a big part of wellness. #katweedtakeover
Thanks for taking the time to read my musings on wellness……it's been fun! I'll finish off the week with a little capture of one of my favourite places by the river (taken back in the summer obviously….this river is probably raging right now with all this rain we're getting!!). I could listen to water move all day, and I sometimes stop here on the way home to just sit, ground myself and remember my place in the world as just one of 7 billion little humans attempting to live on this planet as best they can. #katweedtakeover