Can Punk Rock Make You Healthy?
CAN PUNK ROCK MAKE YOU HEALTHY?
By Amy McBride, owner of Wellness Provisions
Well, that’s a solid question. And I’m going to say that yes, it can, if you allow it. But it can also make you super unhealthy if you don’t make good choices for yourself. So in this essay, we’re going to explore the top 5 elements that work in concert with each other to create a sound mind and body for any punk rocker. To be honest, these 5 elements will support most any human walking this planet right now. But - there are some differences in how we connect with the world around us, versus “regular people,” which I’ll uncover as you read this essay.
So what are the top 5 elements we’ll touch on, today? Well, hang on. Let’s rewind this cassette a minute. You need some context. Who the hell am I? And why do I have the right to talk to you about wellness in punk rock? Let’s first answer those questions before jumping into the essay. I know, I know. You gotta wait. But I promise I’ll make my intro brief, and entertaining.
My name is Amy and I’ve worked professionally in the health and wellness industry since 2003; that’s about 20 years. I walk the walk and I talk the talk. Which, believe it or not (definitely believe it), that’s kind of rare in the industry. You’d be surprised how many folks sell you turmeric and then turn around and gobble up Advil for their own pain. Or how many people who work at health food stores will walk you to the digestive enzymes that you can never seem to find, and then go have fast food on their lunch break. Not me. I’m all about wellness and being your own advocate. I’m passionate about helping others and making sure they’re squared away with incredible stuff that doesn’t break the bank. I want to see people happy and healthy.
Now let’s turn the page in the zine. (Seriously, we have a zine.) Punk rock! That’s where my roots are. 77, UK82, some street punk. Also a big fan of 60s garage and 70s r’n’r… I mean, who doesn’t like T.Rex!? So when I was 14, I started a silk screening business called Pure Mania. That business was a big deal back in the late 90s, early 2000s, when you couldn’t find band t-shirts in small sizes - until Pure Mania came along. I sold shirts and patches internationally for 6 years before packing up the plastisol ink and screens and calling it a day.
Now, fast forward. I’m pioneering mental health and wellness in punk rock through my business, Wellness Provisions, where I offer Wellness Coaching services. We also supply rock’n’rollers with high quality supplements, giving you a place where you can essentially shop blindfolded. Inspiration and education are plentiful both on our Delay Dying Blog, as well as our podcast, the Collaborative Resource Hub, where I interview punk rock musicians who share their healthy habits. Some of the folks we’ve talked to are Bill and Milo from the Descendents, Russ from Good Riddance, Brendan from The Lawrence Arms, Pete from Sick Of It All, Blag from the Dwarves, Porcell from Youth Of Today, and the list goes on. The Collaborative Resource Hub is a true resource hub located on our website, there to help you navigate wellness in the scene. It’s rad!!
Alright! Now that you’re caught up on Welly P, let’s get back to this essay! What makes a happy and healthy you? We’re going to look at having a positive perspective, why community is so important, the importance of regular exercise, having a healthy outlet to manage your stress, and - food. Mmmm, burritos….
HAVING A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE
PMA. See? Who else can you say PMA to, aside from someone in the scene, and they understand what you’re talking about? So you gotta have that PMA! Our thoughts affect how we interact with the world around us and how we feel within our bodies. Negative thoughts will lead to poor experiences, angry interactions with others, sadness within your mind, and pain within your body. Don’t get caught up in that fuck-the-world-nihilism. Flip the record! Having a positive mental attitude will align you with more opportunities, love-fueled interactions with others, and a body with less pain and internal anxiety. Practice gratitude, get into nature, smile more and be around people who make you feel good.
Ah, yes. Being around people who make you feel good - that’s your community. We’re a species who thrive on being with others. Being an isolated hermit isn’t healthy. Surrounding yourself with like minded individuals at shows, or your close circle of friends, is the foundation for your happiness. We need support from people who care about us, we need to feel connected to something greater than us, we need a purpose and a cause to feel a part of - we want to make a difference in this world. So spend time with loved ones and those who light up your creativity and feelings of joy, limit time with people who drag you down and make you feel bad about yourself or the world around you. To change the world, you have to change yourself first; and that starts with the company you keep.
Whether you’re working out in a Vibrators shirt or an Under Armour tank top, exercise is all the same, and your body needs it. Don’t think exercising isn’t cool, don’t think it’s only for jocks. No. Go put on the Dwarves, or The Bronx, or Abrasive Wheels, and get your heart rate up. Regular exercise is crucial for overall health. Exercising helps to absorb excess sugar in the blood, therefore helping to regulate blood sugar levels. It helps to increase our beloved neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, as well as endorphins, that collectively help to increase feelings of happiness and motivation. Regular exercise has also been linked to better sleep quality, compounding the benefits it has on your mind and body. So dance to some music in your house, take a run, or go to a show a few times a week and get in that mosh pit! But whatever you do - do something.
Stress is no joke these days. Life constantly feels more taxing and we’re drowning in technology, the paradox of too many choices, jobs that suck, family members that stress us out, and so on. Therefore, finding ways to manage your stress levels, and not have a heart attack at age 34, are wicked important. Journaling or writing songs or poetry is a great way to process your thoughts. You have to get the thoughts out of your head otherwise they’ll ball themselves up like a messy knot of yarn, and it’ll get out of control, and you won’t be able to untie that mess. So write. Or talk to friends, or create art. Put on a mix tape (yeah right, seriously, I wish we could listen to cassettes easily, still) and create. Slip into that zen space where your mind is empty because you’re doing something that you love. That can also be sports, for some people. I remember talking with Chris #2 from Anti-Flag, and he said hockey does that for him. You can also take yoga with Miguel from Teenage Bottlerocket, or meditate and focus on your breathing for 10 minutes a day. Give yourself space to decompress, or you’re going to go insane.
This one I’ll keep brief, and general, since we all have different preferences around the food we consume. The biggest takeaway is to eat food as if it’s medicine. Don’t eat processed junk food and swig sugar-laden drinks because…how is that helping to nourish your body? Sugar and chemicals create inflammation, which create every sickness we battle these days. Eating real food in its whole state, as it was consumed back before WWII, is what you want to do. We traded nutrition and our health for convenience and industrialized processes that strip nutrients not just from our food, but from our soil, too. So fuel yourself on clean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of water. Limit alcohol, or cut it out entirely! sXe!
So how do you feel? Are you confident in the choices you’re making for yourself? Are you owning your healthy choices? Because that’s super important, too. Own them; be proud of your mental and physical health!
Did I inspire you to take a walk in nature, eat an apple and meditate this week? Throw on a record and dance around the house for some cardio? Turn it up to 11 and go get it!
Or did I overwhelm you, or make you realize there are changes you want to make for yourself? That’s also good. You’ve got self-awareness, and from there, we can make things better.
“In the middle of chaos lies opportunity.” -Bruce Lee
If you feel like the path you're walking is overgrown with brush, and you need some help clearing your path, then hit me up. As a Wellness Coach, I’m armed and ready with the necessary tools to help you clear away the old, dense growth, so that you can walk clearly, breathe better, and not trip over that old crap cluttering your path.