When I first thought about “The Democratisation of Wellness”, I was inspired from noticing how more and more people are now more involved in Wellness activities in one form or another. Just look around you, in recent years some friends and celebrities have taken on a new role as fitness instructor or Wellness consultant. Then there is the proliferation of wellness apps, popularity of boutique fitness gyms, emphasis on healthy eating, and very importantly that greater awareness and focus on mental health. The list really goes on and on!
I’ve been in the Wellness space for more than two decades now, and having first-hand experience in the different categories that constitute Wellness put me in a position of greater clarity on providing some insights into “The Democratisation of Wellness”.
Wellness has extended way beyond the traditional healthcare definitions of smoking cessation or weight loss programmes. It is also more than purely inaccessible activities associated with high society and accompanied by a heavy price tag. Wellness activities are today infused into our everyday lives and it is presented to us in a multitude of mass market products and services.
In the words of my esteemed colleague, “Wellness is everything!”.
I hope that this article can:
Shed some light on how this phenomenon came about;
Help others understand what more we can do for others to improve on their awareness about Wellness and Wellbeing, and hence increased participation in;
Provide tips for easily accessible (and affordable) channels and avenues for more people to be engaged in wellness; and
Facilitate ideas to introduce Wellness to the workplace.
Shedding Some Light
Wellness has been around for 2,000 years, and it is actually not new. What is new is the amount of information and awareness that has been circulated and the pandemic helped to expand and accelerate this awareness. This circulation of information has of course contributed to the demand for more Wellness provisions, which inadvertently then boosts the supple of more Wellness-related products and services, and adding to the size and spend of the Wellness industry.
You can read From Wellness to Wellbeing - The Great Awakening to find out more on the evolution of Wellness in the last few decades.
Helping Others Improve on Wellness and Wellbeing Awareness
The increase of awareness in Wellness and Wellbeing has empowered individuals to take control of their own personal health and Wellbeing. We’ve realised that in most cases, neither government healthcare, workplace support, and personal insurance would be able to care for us in its entirety, if our health and Wellbeing is severely compromised.
Taking control of your own personal health and Wellbeing involves mostly incorporating a variety of Wellness activities in your life. It is very much lifestyle-choice related. From the choice of macro- and micronutrients at meals, to Wellness activities to contribute to sleep duration and quality, to taking breaks from screen (and seated desk) time, to daily movement and functional strength training.
Wellness and Wellbeing is for everybody. It is part of our everyday lives and it needs to be matched and mirrored to what works best for each unique individual.
Read Understanding Your Wellness Bucket to find out more about what Wellness activities you need to elevate your Wellbeing.
Accessibility to Affordable (and Free) Wellness
There is a price tied to Wellness. That tangible price tag on the cost of a product or service, but there is also that intangible price tag on the benefits and gain from Wellness. Of course this is subjective and unique to each individual, and can be challenged with each person’s will, desire and imagination with regards to that price tag, and the benefits and gains.
Banyan Tree’s move into the tech-space with their Beyond-app experience is a good example of brands trying to be more accessible and affordable to a larger mass market audience. The idea is that you do not need to stay at a Banyan Tree resort for the physical hotel and spa experience, to appreciate the Banyan Tree brand. This is curated for the consumer through their Beyond-app with a focus on different Wellbeing pillars.
The Journey With Wellness (JWW) by Actxa Wellness also focuses on helping elevate different Wellbeing pillars through an app-delivered gamified Wellness curriculum. By engaging individuals through Wellness, it is an excellent employee engagement resource that provides valuable insights not just for the individual but also for the corporate.
But alas, Wellness can actually be free. That walk in the park at the end of the day; planning ahead with mindful eating; slowing things down and having timely breaks during the day with breathwork; blocking out time in your day for important Wellness commitments. I can list endless examples here.
Here are some free resources you can refer to for your daily dose of Wellness content.
Introducing Wellness to the Workplace
The ease of access for Wellness as understood by democratisation is also closely tied to society’s focus on Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity (DEI). With the flurry of Wellness content, lifestyles and mindset, Wellness (and in this case Wellbeing) is that common language we speak to address DEI conversations, especially at the workplace.
At the Corporate level, the democratisation of Wellness has allowed for greater inclusivity, with more areas of convergence, as opposed to divergence. I am a huge advocate in leveraging Wellness programmes and initiatives as the vehicles towards breaking the common boundaries at work.
Here are some ideas:
Run a Wellbeing pulse survey to understand where everyone is and what everyone needs;
Have Wellness champions and ambassadors lead in Wellness-focused interest groups;
Engage Wellness experts to bring Wellness and Wellbeing awareness through organised activities to the workplace;
Provide channels for group and 1-on-1 conversations around mental Wellbeing;
Have lots of natural light and indoor plants;
Provide healthy snack options at the pantry;
Start with basic health screening.
In conclusion, I see democratisation as the ease of access to Wellness, and there is absolutely no political angle to this topic in this article. Wellness will help you take better care of yourself and your loved ones. By plugging yourselves into the Wellness ecosystem, this investment definitely will pay dividends for all.
Let’s continue to spread positivity through inclusivity, with the democratisation of Wellness.
About the Writer:
Alex’s compass is guided by the desire to help people. This is the driving force that allows him to focus on helping organisations harness fitness, health and wellness as the vehicles to building sustainable solutions. He is the CEO and Co-founder at Actxa Wellness, where he also leads as Chief Wellbeing Strategist. Together with the team, they provide products and services as Wellness Consultants for organisations, where they identify gaps and work with HR professionals to co-create corporate wellness solutions to improve employee engagement and wellbeing.
Connect more with Alex Loh here ➡️ https://linktr.ee/alexlohsengyue
 Diversity In Wellbeing by Mercer https://www.mercer.com/content/dam/mercer/attachments/global/gl-2018-diversity-in-wellness-mercer.PDF