Good news for 2020: we have officially reached peak wellness and can leave the pseudoscience twaddle back in the last decade.
Which is a relief, because all this pressure to be well is making us sick.
Somewhere in the past few years, sensible health and fitness ideas (eat vegetables and do some exercise) mated with the hippy holistic scene and spawned a monster offspring
that was packaged and sold back to us in every possible form.
Now we’re peddled wellness up the wazoo – you can currently buy wellness apartments in Melbourne, visit a virtual spa, book a happiness holiday in the Awakening Sanctuary in Mexico, slather wellness shampoo on your head and use “sexual wellness” gadgets down the other end, attend wellness festivals where you can enjoy sound baths and cosmic humming and visit wellness pods in cities like London and New York, where you can take a power nap or meditate.
You can main line vitamins by IV drip, paste truffles on your visage for an anti-ageing facial and steam your other v a la Gwyneth Paltrow, for, well, who knows, why. Then you can toast yourself with a wellness tipple – an electrolyte cocktail, or power beer.
Or you could just go for a walk, eat an apple and use plenty of sunscreen.
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We hit peak wellness in June when Gwyneth’s Goop enterprise was criticised for its super-exclusive wellness summit in London. With tickets costing $1800 a day or $8500 a weekend, it was a hell of an investment in oneself. But you did get to drink liquid gold coffee, have a light therapy facial and some “fireside chats” with celebs, which would have made you feel good. Or you could have donated your cash to a sick kids’ charity and volunteered at a homeless shelter and felt really, really good. Just saying.
When banks get in on the act, you know it’s over. They are now promoting “financial wellbeing”, linking saving with positive mental health. I’d suggest cutting out gold coffees and truffle facials, but I’m no expert.
Someone who is, however, assures me wellness has peaked and is due to rebalance. Futurist Lucie Greene of Light Years, says one of the problems is wellness has become too elitist. “Most of the major wellbeing trends have come to represent a new form of luxury,” she says. “The more ‘out there’ practices of wellbeing are levelling off – they’re being seen in some instances as luxury cults.
“Forty dollar exercise classes, jade eggs and $1500 wellness retreats are great in an economic boom, but will be the first to go under budget pressure for many consumers.”
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She also notes that wellness pressure is actually becoming stressful, “It’s a new way for people to punish themselves, rather than achieve Zen.”
Happily a new trend for what she calls “normcore wellness” is emerging, which is good news for all those jaded with their exxy-eggs.
I know what she means – I visited a Zen hotel recently for work, and was so stressed out by the pressure of achieving enlightenment with my in-room yoga program, I lay in a bubble bath eating chocolate and watching back to back period dramas instead.
And you know what, I haven’t felt that Zen in years – and you can have that wellness tip for free.