Wellness Doesn’t Come From a Product, It Comes From Within: Dr. Pooja Lakshmin

“Real self-care is an internal process. It brings you closer to yourself. It’s a verb. It’s not a noun.”

Episode 04

In this latest installment of our For The Love of Therapy series, we delve into a timely discussion on mental wellness with a focus on genuine self-care. Our guest, Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a renowned psychiatrist and advocate for women, offers fresh insights that urge listeners to break free from the superficial beauty and wellness industry’s narrative that is steadily being pushed at us through all kinds of media, but in a dizzying fashion on social media, in particular. Steering the talk away from quick-fix solutions, Dr. Lakshmin illuminates the essence of true self-care, which, in her research, links to four major chambers rarely associated with this concept. From the importance of saying ‘No’ when overwhelmed, to understanding that self-care is more than just a beauty regimen, she reminds us that wellness comes from within. Dr. Lakshmin, an accomplished writer for the New York Times and founder of the Gemma community, also shares insights from her book, ‘Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included)’. Join us for this enlightening conversation and let’s start redefining what wellness truly means.

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For The Love podcast. Welcome to the show. We are in a really fascinating series right now called For The Love of Therapy. We really wanted to parse this particular series out, focusing on various layers and levels of psychiatry and counseling and therapy and really digging deep. There will not be a listener who cannot relate to this. Obviously, we pay attention, we see what’s happening on social media, and this has to do with our conversation today in the context of mental wellness and therapy. I can speak for myself and tell you that almost every ad I get on social media suggests that I am being targeted by the beauty and wellness industry. You know how the algorithm works. Let’s say you look at an ad for three seconds about a shampoo that gives volume to your hair and suddenly every other ad you get is about hair restoration.

We know that social media ads are driven by our viewing habits, but all of a sudden we are just inundated with these messages that we should be worried about our hair length, certainly our wrinkles, the skin around our necks, and our elbows. I’ve got an ad that comes up in my feed about my elbow skin. It’s just a lot. This pressure creates a problem for me that I didn’t even know I had or exploits the ones that they know I don’t feel great about. They suggest that quick fixes like this are the cure, this is the solution, and this is the way to improve your life. This is the answer which is truly, truly never, ever true. What we’re going to learn today from our guest is a different idea about self-care. She calls it real, and it’s not focused on superficial beauty, but rather genuine well-being.

She’s going to walk us through it today, what that actually looks like, and how we can discern the difference. We have an incredible guest. We’ve got Dr. Pooja Lakshmin. She is a renowned psychiatrist. She’s an advocate for women who are certainly targeted by these industries, and she emphasizes that self-care comprises so much more than just external solutions. In her research, Dr. Lakshmin illustrates that self-care is really kind of uplinks to four major chambers, which we talk about, which are rarely linked together with this idea of self-care, but they are deep and they are true, and they have an actual effect on the way that we feel and live and are moving through the world. True wellness, not just less wrinkled skin around my eyes.

She points out rightly so that self-care isn’t always glamorous. It’s not always this condescending suggestion of just paint your nails. It might look like canceling plans when you’re overwhelmed. It might look like saying no to a request when you’re overloaded. That is self-care. We really dive into this, that this is really a necessity to wellness. Her work is incredible. It’s a powerful reminder that all of this comes from within. This is an inside job. This is interior work, not simply outsourced to external solutions. I loved this conversation and I love her. She’s so engaging and lively. I really appreciated her walking through her own kind of personal reckoning with this in her own life and what that looked like before and after in an incredibly honest and candid way that I’m drawn to and I appreciate it. I think you’re going to love her. Certainly, you’re going to love her insight into all this. She’s been everywhere talking about this. She writes for the New York Times. She’s founded a community called Gemma, which we discuss, and then her first book is out in the world called Real Self-Care: A  Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included), which I love. And so I’m so pleased to welcome you to the show–Austin-based–the Wise and the wonderful Dr. Pooja Lakshmin. 



Real Self-Care: A  Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included)
by Dr. Pooja Lakshmin

Audre Lorde

Bell Hooks

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
by Melody Beattie

For the Love Podcast episode featuring Brené Brown

For the Love Premium Bonus Podcast episode featuring Melody Beatty 


CONNECT WITH Dr. Pooja Lakshmin
  • chime Visit chime.com/forthelove to learn how you can benefit from using Chime!
  • Visit betterhelp.com/forthelove to save 10% on your first month!
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