World Wellness Week

World Wellness Week

The last few months had us dumping buckets of ice water on our heads, wearing pink ribbons and growing mustaches all in the name of a cause. Admittedly, the initiatives have been wildly successful in drawing attention for their respective causes worldwide. (In case you’ve been living in a cave, the ice bucket challenge was for ALS, October’s pink ribbons symbolize breast cancer awareness and November — renamed “Movember” because of men growing mustaches – was to highlight prostate cancer).

“Awareness months” are dedicated to practically every cause imaginable: the most popular ones being October for breast cancer, November for prostate cancer, and February for healthy hearts. But some obscure conditions manage to also get their due — head lice prevention, “invisible illness” awareness and marriage health, to name a few.
Which had us thinking…why doesn’t “wellness” have its own dedicated month, week, heck, we’ll even settle for day?! Enough evidence exist that points a finger at stress as the culprit of many major illnesses today that you’d think raising awareness for its prevention will kill ten birds with one stone. (OK, bad analogy but you get what we mean.)

There have certainly been wellness week initiatives and workplace wellness programs but they’re scatter-shot and lack the gravitas of a global campaign like the aforementioned stunts. So what would it take for everyone to sit up and listen?

For a start, we can ask the World Health Organization to decree a World Wellness Week. WHO is already addressing workplace wellness. Why not go the distance with an awareness campaign? And for that entire week, spas, wellness centers and destination resorts offer packages at a bargain. Companies would celebrate Massage Monday, Tech-Free Tuesday, Walk-to-Work Wednesday, Therapies Thursday, Flex-time Fridays. It would be a week long program of celebrity detox challenges, yoga and meditation marathons, vegan food festivals, you name it, nationwide. Anything to make us focus on our health.

While we’re at it, we can introduce a global Gross National Wellness index, copying Bhutan’s GNH (Gross National Happiness), a set of metrics measuring nations’ overall well-being. The index would be widely accepted by economists and its findings would have far reaching implications on rating countries’ livability and attractiveness to foreign investments. It would influence policy development, tourism, social healthcare, business practices and more. “GNW” would roll off out tongues as easily as “GDP”.

Sounds far-fetched, but it isn’t really. I’m optimistic and seeing signs of us moving in that direction. Bhutan’s bold move to measure happiness is one. The growing clamour for sustainability and its ties to well-being is another. The rise of wellness tourism is encouraging. All these movements are converging. Even if it takes one bucket, pink ribbon, or facial hair at a time, world wellness awareness is a reality away.