My wellness journey has taken its fair share of twists and turns in the last three years. I experienced all the emotions that came with living through a global pandemic, the grief of losing a parent, the stress of opening my own small business, the uncertainty of quitting my “dream job”, and the growing pains with purchasing yet another small business.
I have been forced to learn how to manage my own personal wellness with stress relief coping mechanisms, more effective communication, making the decisions of what truly matters in my life, and then asking myself if that is within my realm of control.
I recently decided that deodorant is within my realm of control.
Sometime last year, switching from an aluminum-based anti-perspirant to a more “natural” brand deodorant was very much on trend and continuously seemed to pop up in my life, so I made the leap. This was not an easy jump but more of a stumble down the edge of the cliffside.
For those of you that may not be aware: anti-perspirant and deodorant are NOT the same thing. What may seem obvious to me now, I was not prepared for. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?
Just a few days into the switch, I was sweating. A lot. Which then resulted in a smell that I thought everyone else would be able to notice and judge me for. I became insecure and worried I had made the wrong choice. At this point, I had already stopped wearing perfume or body spray for similar reasons, so I was quickly planning my next trip to the store to go back to my old brand, aluminum and all.
But that was not the case; or at least no one said anything to me about it. After some time, my body got used to the change and regained its own sense of homeostasis. My sweat glands were better able to regulate themselves because I was no longer adding a foreign substance to them. Thankfully, after some time, I was no longer sweating through my shirts, and the smell seemed to disappear.
Fast forward to just a couple of weeks ago when it was 90 degrees every day.
Most of you may not know that I do body scans almost daily as part of my wellness routine. After I shower, I take account of my body for any new bumps, lumps, moles, etc. (I encourage you to do the same!) During one of these scans, a rash in both of my armpits was quite noticeable.
Even though I had been wearing the same deodorant for some time, my first thought was to disregard that for a day or two and use a moisturizer instead to see if that made any changes in the rash. Of course, I was a bit self-conscious having to go into public and practice yoga without any “protection”, but I once again made the slippery descent down the rocky cliffside.
The first day was not actually that bad! Looking back, I likely still had some residual effects of having worn anti-perspirant or deodorant every day since I was an adolescent, but I digress. I was feeling good! I thought, “hey, maybe I could make a habit of this!”. This thought was reinforced by the fact that my rash was slowly healing.
But then came day three.
Apparently, the residual effects of having worn deodorant every day had worn off by this time because the sweat and the smell had returned, but I did not realize it until I had already left my house for the day. I was in trouble. I was in panic mode.
“Everyone is going to know I sweat and stink, and they will not want to come into my business anymore!”
Thoughts are silly sometimes. Of course, everyone is going to know that I sweat and stink sometimes because EVERYONE sweats and stinks sometimes. That fact is more “natural” than any wellness product out there.
It was also helpful for me to confide in a friend who shared a story of one of her friends who also does not wear deodorant, and she’s an athlete. She exercises every day, and my friend said her body is just used to it at this point. There is hope!
I’m starting to believe that deodorant is a scam. Stay with me here.
I understand that my experience is not the same as everyone else’s experience may be, but I also understand that the culture I currently live in tries to sell me things I do not need every single day: commercials, billboards, social media, societal pressures, etc.
This part of my wellness journey is more than just about deodorant; it is about making the decisions that are best for me. I am making progress in no longer allowing other people to tell me what I need, and I blindly follow because “that is what everyone else is doing”. I am allowing my mind and body to just “be”.
Now do not get me wrong, this has not been an easy journey, and I’m sure there will be times when it will continue to be difficult. But, just like any skill, honing it takes practice, motivation, and a desire to change.