Wellness and wellness tourism is an enormous segment. It encompasses more than what may readily spring to mind and certainly, today, depression, resilience, stress, anxiety and general mental health issues, pique my scale of appreciating how vital overall wellness, compassion, support and understanding really is.
I mean ‘today’ rather literally.
I woke to learn of the passing of Robin Williams. Admired, adored, revered, respected and loved by millions. It is reported that he battled depression and alcoholism for many years. This quote by Tori Higgins captures the sometimes unfathomable and cruel reality of mental illness that is indiscriminate to wealth, success, culture or talent and, as we see all too frequently, it overwhelms people.
“How can one of the worlds funniest and most loved men feel the saddest and loneliest? That’s the oxymoron and impact of depression… maybe one of his many legacies can be elevating the talk and awareness around depression and take our world back to being human” Tori Higgins
In a previous post I talked about the inspirational being who is David Smith MBE – gold medal winning paralympian. News reached the press yesterday that the same tumour that rendered him temporarily paralysed four years ago, has returned. He must now have a similar operation, learn to walk again and go through the same agonising rehabilitation process. He has become a professional cyclist and has his focus firmly fixed on his next race, beyond the operation and rehabilitation. He is already visualising getting back on his bike, winning the race and competing as part of the Paralympic team in Rio. He is a vegan athlete, a health and wellness coach and a mentor to many. He said this;
“In life we are defined by what we do at our lowest and in dark places we find ourselves. It is in these places that the only thing that can defeat you, is you.”
Being well isn’t just about fitness and eating the right foods. It is contentment and balance, a sense of belonging and acceptance, loving and being loved, spirituality, meaning in our lives, personal growth, being in nature and taking care of ourselves. Feeling supported and listened to is also critical for us as human beings, it is the foundation of family and friend networks and very often, having this, is a fundamental anchor to healing.
In a world of complex demands and influences, high stress levels, and a brain fog of social media overload, feeling supported and appreciated is the lynch pin to happy and healthy living. Health and wellness coaching is a relatively new wellness choice – if someone is being ‘coached’, one might immediately think of sport or being ‘coached’ to pass an exam. What about being coached to become the best of ourselves? Or realising optimal health? Or solving an issue that proves to be the key to unlocking happiness in our lives?
When anyone seeks to improve themselves, or seek the best that they can be, it is a positive and an uplifting action. It is pursuing wellness and when there is also travel, it is wellness tourism.
This action and context could be in five star luxury, on an island in the Indian Ocean or it could be a wee cottage at the edge of a lake in Scotland. The most meaningful experiences I have ever had, have been in home surroundings with a coach, healer, teacher or mentor that I have immediately connected with and feel I’ve known for years. I have a three day retreat at the end of this month, by that lake I mentioned in Scotland, with the wonderful Mary McConnell from Star Therapies. A busman’s holiday some might say, no, just being human.