We caught up with Jewel as she prepares for the second annual Wellness Your Way Festival, October 11-13 in Cincinnati. Jewel and Kroger cofounded the festival in 2018 with the goal to help people kickstart their journey to a healthy lifestyle.
What was your inspiration for co-founding the Wellness Your Way Festival?
I’ve always wanted to marry my passion for music and physical, emotional and mental health in a fun and inspirational way to bring wellness to the masses. I’ve continually tried to figure out how to be happier and healthier, because my life has had many ups and downs. It’s what my poetry and songs are about. I’m happy to have this festival in partnership with Kroger to help improve people’s lives and fill in the gaps on different ways we can live a happy and healthy life.
You talk a lot about mindfulness and meditation. How do you incorporate these practices into your life?
When I was a teenager suffering from anxiety and depression, mindfulness and meditation saved my life. When I was homeless, it helped me not only survive but also to get in touch with who I really am and want to be; hence my lyrics, which became a career. As an adult, entrepreneur, mom and touring artist, it has helped me create a peaceful and aware space between what happens in my life and how I choose to react to it. This has allowed me to bring my best self forward, to have peace of mind and to connect to others and my work in such a meaningful way.
What about diet and nutrition?
I’m extremely passionate and nerdy about nutrition, food and where it comes from. I began studying food as medicine when I was 15 to solve health problems. I was able to study under pioneers in the field, and it has been a lifelong passion and pursuit to understand the preventative and healing aspects of food. Now it’s getting easier for people to make better choices than when I was a kid.
As far as a diet, I’m not super strict: I just like to be aware of what I am eating and to eat as healthy as I can because it really affects how I, and my son Kase, feel.
You started the Never Broken Foundation to inspire people to “Make Happiness a Habit.” You write that you see life as a living body and to experience harmony and happiness, we need to have each aspect of life well-toned. Tell us more about this.
Many of us are strong in one area of our lives but perhaps in others we are lacking tone or expertise. We might be adept at parenting, but poor on our physical health. Skilled at building a company, but lacking in intimacy and relationship fitness. This is okay and to be expected. But through being mindful and curious and taking small simple steps, we can start to build tone in other areas of our lives.
My life’s mission has been gaining education to help me be well-rounded and happy and developed as a whole human. I like the word harmony because it recognizes that we are always evolving and growing and there is no failing in this process. At different stages of our lives we are working on different things, and I’m hoping this festival is able to meet people where they are. If they want inspirational music, it’s there. If they want adult fitness classes or obstacle courses for their children, it’s there. If they want inspirational or mental health talks and panels, we have it. If they want to learn how to enjoy eating healthy, how to cook or the latest products that taste good and are good for you, we have it.
Can you offer a few tips for someone who wants to start on a path of mindfulness and wellness?
First, realize it’s not as complicated as people fear. Just do one act of improvement a day. Meditate for even a few minutes a few times a day. I call it a brain break. Just sit still and breathe for 10 breaths; it can give you 100 percent more energy in the afternoon. Drink one extra glass of water daily; it can make a huge difference in how you feel. Get to sleep before 11 p.m. and get 7-8 hours sleep. Any one of these things will have a big impact. Just start with one and keep it simple.
Make happiness a habit
Jewel’s foundation strives to help people build a better life. Learn more at jewelneverbroken.com.