What Even Is ‘Wellness’?
Something’s really bugging me about ‘wellness.’
It’s a movement that we could all get in with, but that seems to be getting more and more exclusive, snobby and monetised.
Very few of us could ever dream of affording the memberships to the sort of spas, gyms and clubs that are celebrated as wellness hotspots. It’s very unlikely that we could pay for a weekly Ocado shop stocking the sorts of foods and drinks we’re encouraged to chase health and wellbeing with.
What is wellness to me? This is wellness to me:
Make up artist: “You have good skin. What do you use?”
Me: “I think it’s just that I cleanse tone and moisturise every day – I love Sukin – but I also eat lots of olive oil and tahini and I do lots of yoga, so good fats and head upside down helping the circulation. Oh, and I try to sleep a decent amount each night!”
Wellness to me means realising that being healthy and looking the best you can look is a holistic exercise. You can use the priciest face creams in the world but if you’re not looking after your skin every day resting, exercising and eating well too, your skin won’t glow.
And by exercise, I don’t mean joining fancy schmancy gyms. My fitness reviews for ES have shown me that affordable dance classes and (free) local running clubs can be as much fun as £50 per hour Pilates studios (I love it all. Just want to make it clear there. I do enjoy a bit of fancy schmancy!). You can jog for the price of a decent pair of running trainers and do your own, or Youtube, yoga, gratis. If you can’t afford occasional facials you can learn to massage your own skin, daily, for a minute or two every evening and probably get a better effect long term.
And as for food. I love a superfood. I love a superfood powder. I like trying ALL the mylks. But by just cutting out processed foods and getting more veg in every meal, anyone can be ‘well’ on their diet. I could never go into Planet Organic again and feel fantastic.
So what I’m saying is….Wellness isn’t an exclusive pursuit. It’s not for Oligarch’s wives and wiry yoga enthusiasts. You don’t need to buy £20 sprouting flours.
But if we’re not careful, it will be.
Wellness is like the Wild West at the moment: it’s exploded into out consciousnesses without us really nailing down what it means. It has the potential to send us the message…
“You won’t be happier if you buy this top. This Maca powder isn’t the magic bullet to thinness. You just have to start looking after yourself properly, within whatever means you can manage.”
That’s quite cool. What’s less cool is…
“Join this expensive yoga studio, start going to this exclusive HIIT class (£50 an hour), make a smoothie with ingredients that add up to £30, only wear these fashionable luxe-wear clothes (Made in China) and visit this facialist. Oh and get a healer and see them once a week.”
I love that we’re opening our minds to more spiritual and alterntive pursuits, we’re meditating more and that exercise and diet are becoming more central to our lifestyles. I even love that ‘sweatworking’ is a thing. But we need to take control of the idea of wellness as a way of holistically looking after oneself, rather than lots of new ways to spend too much money on things that won’t really bring us calm and happiness.
Stroking a dog: free and mutually calming and enjoyable!
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