If you hang here a lot, you already know that since launch, we have been a bit preoccupied with sleep: why it matters, how we can do it better, and how our cultural history has shaped our present attitude toward sleep. And in our latest episode, we talk about the importance of community and sleep for the super-vulnerable (and super sleep-deprived) new mamas.
And then of course there's everything that's been happening in the world lately. Whatever your politics, recent events have undoubtedly rocked your world, because they are rocking the planet. Everything is in flux. Policies are changing (FAST), deeply-held beliefs about how the world works and how we all fit into it are being challenged and upended. Many of us feel uncertain and afraid.
In times like these, is it a bit of vapid vanity to be writing about how to get a better nights' sleep? Is digging into the latest research on clean skin care (coming up!) and getting to grips with diet and nutrition (coming up even sooner!) a waste of everyone's time?
So here's my take - this is me, Kari, the creator, producer and voice of Life Butter, jumping in in a personal way to make the case for why wellness is more important than ever.
When I started to put together the idea for this site and my beloved radio show (which I am enjoying so much), I wanted to make sure that I was going deeper than your average facial 😕 I wanted to create a thoughtful space to both celebrate (yes! it is fun, after all) and consider health, beauty and wellness - what these things mean to us as individuals, and how they fit into this new society that seems increasingly obsessed with them.
When doing my research for the framework of the podcast, I came across a beautiful mini-documentary by British Vogue called What is Wellness. Shot in sunny LA and narrated by a model for Reformation (an LA-based sustainable fashion brand with a gorgeous aesthetic), it's easy on the eyes. But it's not just that; in the opening episode, narrator Camille Rowe gets to grips with the genesis of the wellness movement back in the '70s (history angle coming on strong...that is my thing, after all!). Speaking to John Travis, she learns that for this OG wellness guru, "the currency of wellness is connection" - it is community that is at the heart of what "wellness" is truly about.
This ties in with the observations we made in Episode 5 of Life Butter Radio; new families in the West are often under an immense amount of pressure and under-resourced. Where are our communities these days? Are they the private FaceBook groups we join to discuss our business ventures, hobbies or organise baby clothing swaps? How often can we see family when they live far away, when our holidays are brief and polluted with the need to keep one eye on our phones, and when we are always just so busy and tired? We really need to help each other, because we really are so vulnerable. And helping ourselves? This is truly part of it.
The time immediately after I had my son was dark and strange. My boy was born in December; the days were cold, largely sunless and lengthened by his seemingly ceaseless reflux-induced cries. Family was far, but I was the grateful recipient of help from friends, health workers and the care system I had put in place before he was born. Now, these are the memories that come to mind when I think of that time. In my case at least, those few bright points stand out far more than the murky monotony of a difficult day-to-day. The real, tangible effects of good food, sleep and self-care convinced me of the magic of wellness, and it spurred me on this quest to discover the easy, fun and effective practices we can both incorporate and love in our own lives to put us in the body and mind to enjoy our lives, and each other.
But it's become increasingly clear to me that the real heart of health and beauty is not just how we related to ourselves, but how we relate to each other. This week more than ever, REAL community is what I crave. I urge you to find and care for yours.
All this makes me think of the ending of one of the only television shows that I've bothered to watch from Episode 1-finish: Mad Men. That final scene (and spoiler alert, though whereyoubeen?) with the iconic 1971 Coke ad is everything - that hippie-hippie love-in isn't usually me, but it's what I'm craving right now. Not in the "coming together for commercialism and big business" sense, but in the idea of sharing something simple, fun and innocent. I invite a kombucha company/Sakara Life/MoonJuice or similar to do a riff on this!
So find something that genuinely makes you feel good; latch onto it, and share it with someone. Invite a friend over for a sleep-over. If your sister lives half a world away, have a spa night with her over FaceTime. Treat your partner to a 2 minute massage before bedtime. Swap the news (real or fake) for a conversation. Observe how you feel. And then get ready to come back here, because I am on a quest to figure out what makes us look & feel our best, so we can go out there and create the best. And I can't wait to share it with you.
The British Vogue doc: worth a view
Also check out these posts by Gala Darling and Louise Androlia on how to handle the media and ourselves in this climate, and why radical self love (Gala's baby) is more essential than ever.