Blog Courtesy of Joanne Dowds (clinical specialist Physiotherapist)
Bitching is the sugar rush of human connection. Good, delicious even in the moment, but of no long term value or benefit. It is the lowest common denominator of person- person connection. I am susceptible as anyone else and social behaviors are contagious but I do get a hangover from it… so myself and Mr Kehoe will have to disagree, again, I’m sure it won’t be the last time. It’s definitely not the first time!
Wellness is overwhelming present in the world at the minute; having a moment. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have worth as a concept. I am currently in a busy coffee shop on a rare mostly unoccupied mid-week day off. I have some life admin to attend to but really I have mostly lounged around, and its been lovely. I am in a coffee shop (drinking coffee and people watching is prime lounging way of passing time). A book to read and a notebook for scribbles, (to call them thoughts would imply both readability and rationality), and I have the late lunch crowd to observe. There are 3 groups within my hearing distance, a group of men, sweaty from erecting a heavily branched 10 foot Christmas tree, a group in gym gear having a leafy lunch and 2 young lads are discussing their weekly ‘spends’ I live in south Dublin – I’m not judging, too much. I think they are all of them engaged in wellness activities.
What is a definition of wellness? GOOP one of the most successful brands riding the wellness wave, tell me they approach ‘wellness from a place of open minded curiosity’. As much as I don’t like agreeing with Gwyeth the notion that wellness may mean different things to different people is appealing, but I do love a grounding in science. The W.H.O. defines wellness as being ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. There is evidence that suggests that only when you are free from financial difficulty can you have headspace to think about putting living into your life, otherwise money worries can be all pervasive. So I’m going to throw a financial aspect in there too. I have felt the same oppressive all consuming debilitating mind fog with Brexit recently. There probably a Phd in someone looking at the psychological effects of that chosen disaster.
When you look at the evidence for occupational wellness programs, they are more than worth their financial investment. While it requires front loaded investment the benefits come in the longer term. Work places wellness schemes focus on making sure their employees are physical well as healthy people can be more effective and get sick less often. The programs I’ve seen involve around health risk assessment and promotion and support for healthy changes including incentives for gym membership, subsidised healthy food choices, smoking cessation support including nicotine replacement and a focus on generating community.
So what does wellness mean to me, I like the blue zones concept derived from long living healthy100+yrs olds. Which in addition to activity, healthy food choices, promotes a sensible attitude towards alcohol (I am always going to love any opportunity for wine at 5!!!), living with a sense of purpose, to personal values and strong human connections. Good rest, food, connection and a little wine, that sounds like living well to me.