The words “Wellness” and “Wellbeing” have been used more frequently in recent years. From articles and social feeds to traditional print media; to employee mailers direct from HR; to conversations with friends at informal gatherings, we hear it all the time.
Have you ever wondered their origins and why everyone is talking about them now?
At Actxa Wellness, being in the employee engagement and wellbeing space, we’ve been asked the question of “Wellness” vs “Wellbeing” countless times. And even though this topic and content is covered in our programme webinars, I thought that I’d put it down in an article for ease of reference to anyone else out there who might be interested.
Before we address “Wellness” and “Wellbeing”, its important to first be introduced to their older sibling – “Fitness”.
“Fitness” was the hype just about two decades ago, where the term was used loosely to mean a big box gym membership. In the years that followed, this slowly caught on to include many other categories of physical activity, from HIIT to Martial Arts to Rhythm Cycling to Boxing to Functional Training, to lower impact categories like Yoga and Pilates.
For some, who were more particular about accuracy of terminology and description, they would categorise activities like Yoga and Pilates as “Wellness” and not “Fitness”.
So came the second sibling - “Wellness”, and this description slowly gained popularity in its usage. Although more often than not it was used to categorise any other activity that was not “Fitness”, this worked well for the most part. This was already progress from ten years ago, because tell someone you were in the “Wellness” industry back then, and you would still be asked, what beauty or spa you were a part of.
It is wonderful to witness this shift over the years, to know that more and more individuals and organisations are finding value in “Fitness” and “Wellness” activities. It is man’s innate desire to want to be in balance; to remain optimised to seize each day; and to be in as best a “form” as possible on the areas that we know we can be in control of. We are constantly in search of ways for us to be able to achieve that, and “Fitness” and “Wellness” so happened to be that perfect combination to bring us closer to that balance.
It took more than a decade for us to understand that “Fitness” on its own was insufficient for anyone to flourish. There needed to be elements of “Wellness” as well to contribute to the overall holistic health of an individual. This caught on swiftly and many have charted their own path to flourish through their own journey of “Fitness” and “Wellness” activities.
I feel that we have now come to the time where “Fitness” and “Wellness” really equate to any action or activity that contributes to our physical, psychological, and emotional health. From recovery modalities like a massage or hot/cold bath; to physical activities like a Spin or HIIT class; to marathon running or weekly runs in the neighbourhood; to low impact activities like Yoga or Breathwork; to a farm stay with organic produce consumption; to a 60-minute hike down a nature trail; to a community of friends gathering regularly to share on their daily struggles and learning from each other with strategies to overcome.
And broadly speaking, “Wellness” could very well be that one word to describe everything mentioned above!
Today, “Wellness” is defined as the quality of being healthy. It is a practice or set of behaviors that can lead to greater physical, social, mental, and emotional health. They are the actions taken to contribute to disease prevention and better health. Sometimes, they are one-off activities or events, sometimes they are regular planned programmes, and some are really just habitual activities of an individual who understands the benefits of “Wellness” for health and sustainability.
In 2020, the pandemic accelerated the awakening of how “Wellness” initiatives or actions on its own were insufficient to give someone that sense of balance and fulfilment – that sense of “Wellbeing”. Although there were already little pockets of communities and individuals who were cognizant of the youngest sibling “Wellbeing”, the pandemic really skyrocketed this exposure to the masses.
It took the pandemic, for many of us to be forced to pause and reset, and to realise that living was more than just the busyness of work and life, and that the need to be in a state of “Wellbeing” was crucial for our sanity and sustainable future. This was the Great Awakening.
Today, “Wellbeing” is defined as the state of being healthy, purposeful, fulfilled, and happy. It involves broader holistic dimensions of a well-lived life.
When you are able to combine both “Wellness” and a positive “Wellbeing”, it can make a great difference to our mindset on life and the ability to tackle challenges we face on a daily basis. With the right support structures in place and that self-awareness to work towards one’s purpose, life feels more meaningful and fulfilled, and this inevitably contributes to our improved health.
There is compelling evidence from research that show that individuals with an elevated state of “Wellbeing” are happier, more engaged, motivated to perform, and more productive. It is a direct relationship that requires in-person experience to determine each person’s needs and threshold.
It is no wonder that there is now so much emphasis on “Wellbeing”, from organisations to government to the man-on-the-street.
Would you like to experience the Great Awakening for yourself?
Would you like to elevate overall “Wellbeing” for yourself or your team at work?
Or maybe it is the first time you have come across “Wellbeing” and you would like to find out more?
About Actxa Wellness
Actxa Wellness’ mission is to bring about sustainable lifestyle solutions through fitness, health and wellness. Our flagship programme is the Actxa Wellness Programme which provides employee wellness solutions to team build and create culture; elevate engagement and happiness; and improve overall mental wellbeing.
From providing hardware to track personalised physiological data, to leveraging a proprietary algorithm called the Healthy Living Score (HLS), to incorporating a tried-and-tested curriculum which includes workshops and challenges to engage and build sustainable positive lifestyle habits revolved around EAT, REST and EXERCISE, we have got our clients well covered.
About Alex Loh
Alex Loh is a consultant and coach in the fitness, health and wellness space, business owner, podcast host, loving husband and doting father. His compass is guided by the desire to help people. His focus is to help businesses and organisations harness fitness, health and wellness as the vehicle to build sustainable solutions. These sustainable solutions translate into elevated happiness and fulfilment for the individual and organisation.
As an everyday athlete active in various sports and fitness activities, he is a firm believer in wellness being the cornerstone of life. As a Wellbeing Champion, he is constantly exploring new ideas, activities and modalities on we can achieve greater general wellbeing. We only have one life, so we must live responsibly and be able to enjoy it.