Well- Wellness and Wellbeing, Oh My
I’ve been thinking about the proliferation of wellness and wellbeing in our society and the gatekeeping of it across American culture. I’ve been in space for a few years and it's been shocking how the aesthetic of health has changed into a marker of dignity. Gone are the hustle and grind markers that signified the same sort of virility that a late night at the office would.
Instead, people are highlighting just how much they aren’t doing. In this move towards rest, the underlying theme is that the concept and lifestyle is glorified because it's rare, and that’s not ok. COVID has shown us just how unhealthy Americans, especially BIPOC , and low-income Americans, have fared and how the prioritization of health is exclusive.
In the past few years after taking five hundred or so fitness classes, and some not so fit like a vibrating power plate, a saltwater flotation tank, and a nap pod, I do in fact feel healthy both by mind and body. And, when you go to these places, it's not shocking that everyone is happy and healthy. Access to vitamin shots and normatec recovery boots can go a long way. The issue is, the industry itself focuses on just that small percentage of Americans, at least in a way that is consistent.
I don’t think the answer here is to shame the micro-culture that has emerged, but rather to inspect the reason why it breeds comparison and scarcity. It’s because it is, and we need legislation and policies that can improve wellness and wellbeing services across a wider demographic of people. The vast majority of people in the U.S have jobs that don’t center or value wellbeing, and our economic system doesn't allow for these services to be affordable. What might it look like to have wellness based decisions, not just in the workplace but in life?
Can we begin to shift towards decision-making on wellness and wellbeing alone? I think yes and it should be used as a valuable point in any decision. It’s clear our society values it, so why not make decisions based on it? We know the well being of any group is essential for any aims and goals it has, regardless of the community or industry it is a part of. By commercializing and commodifying wellness we are in a place where a very small percentage of people are “well” and most are not.
The thing is, COVID has shown us that we do in fact rely on each other to have good health, mentally, physically, and spiritually. And that when most people aren’t doing “well” this has a rippling effect on society.