Wellness. One word that has become a mantra of our times.
It’s a somewhat vague term that seems to combine being better to yourself in mind and body. Doing burpees while simultaneously practising mindfulness and culling all your clutter, perhaps.
But for a collection of UK-based wellness fanatics it’s gone way beyond that. Alexander Beer likes to shine a light in his ear “to give me energy”; Dasha Maximov walks barefoot to “receive electrons from the earth” while Madeline Spencer sleeps on a “bed of nails”.
British newspaper The Times, part of news.com.au’s parent company News Corp, asked a quartet of wellness devotees how they achieved “peak Zen”.
And they did not disappoint, with an almost religious devotion to pseudoscience and punishing regimes with doubtful benefits.
Predictably, the internet has lost its collective mind at the group, labelling them “highly annoying, nonsensical rich people”.
ONLY PINK COCONUT WATER. NOT WHITE. NEVER WHITE
Meet Alex Beer, a 38-year-old photographer and model. The first thing he does when he gets up is break his fast by drinking. So far, so fine.
But Mr Beer is very specific on his desired liquid: “Our body is the most absorbent after you sleep, so the first thing you put in it is the most important. I have a glass of raw coconut water (you should be drinking slightly pink coconut water not white, as that’s more concentrated).”
He then waters his concentred water down with water.
Hydrated, he begins his mantras: “One of them is, ‘All my relationships are harmonious and full of love,’ which is good if you are working with difficult clients.”
He then goes to the gym where he chats with his bench press pals about health and nutrition. “I like to mix with like-minded people. I’m not going to hang out with people who like to drink a lot at the pub,” he said. Take that, booze hounds.
To be fair, Mr Beer does a whole lot of stuff that sounds reasonable. He likes a berry smoothie, a green juice and he snacks on nuts. But then he goes and spoils it all by having “a shot of activated charcoal between meetings”.
SEVEN HOURS, 41 MINUTES SLEEP
You may aim for maybe about seven hours’ sleep. For Tim Gray, 39, a digital marketeer, such vagueness is an anathema.
“I have on average seven hours and forty-one minutes’ sleep — I have analysed my sleep over the past four years and I know this is the perfect amount for me,” Mr Gray said.
“I turn on the near-infra-red light at the end of my bed and sit there for seven minutes meditating, to focus my mind for the day ahead.”
Although he only actually rises at 7.45am, which in an age when every successful businessperson brags about the number of gym sessions and emails they can fire off before 4am, is refreshingly sloth like.
At 8.20am he shines a light in his ears. He’s not looking for a waxy build-up.
“I turn on my HumanCharger, a device that looks like an iPod with an earpiece that shines light into my ear to give me energy,” he said.
If you’re not feeling super peppy all the time, you may not appreciate Mr Gray’s morning work routine.
“When I arrive at the office I fist-bump every member of the team … I like to make people smile and feel valued.”
He heads to the gym after work and then relaxes with “hyperbaric oxygen”.
“I lie in a pressurised chamber while pure oxygen is pumped into it,” he said.
Mr Gray also pees on a litmus test strip to measure the pH levels in his urine.
He has some indulgences though. He has one alcoholic drink a week and, according to the Times, does like watching Breaking Bad. Kind of.
“I only watch half the episode, no more, as I feel that, as we only live once, you’ve got to make the most of things and not waste your life in front of the TV,” he said.
STARE AT THE SUN
Business consultant Dasha Maximov, 30 starts her day with a walk. But not just any old amble.
“I often go to Hyde Park, take off my shoes and stare at the sun for 20 minutes,” Ms Maximov said.
“I sun-stare because the UV rays aren’t harmful to my retina the first hour after sunrise, and it resets my circadian rhythms.
“Being barefoot grounds me and I receive electrons from the earth.”
Madeline Spencer’s first thing to do when she gets up is to “scrape my tongue” to “get rid of toxins”.
Ms Spencer thinks about her tongue a lot: “Alcohol … makes my tongue really dry, which I hate.”
The 33-year-old journalist labours over her meals.
“I chew everything as much as possible, something I was taught at a detox clinic in Austria where I go each year. The gold standard is 30 chews with every bite, but I manage around 15, and never fewer than six,” she said.
Several times a day she walks her dog: “When I get back I lie on a bed of nails — a plastic-studded acupressure mat — for five minutes, which helps me connect with my body after a day looking at a screen. I use this as thinking time. It helps focus my thoughts.”
Social media users, as you can imagine, had a field day sharing their thoughts on the wellness warriors’ routines.
“Not that a lot of these things wouldn’t be beneficial to overall health, but man these people sound like obnoxious tools,” said one.
Some pondered that only those with wealth could indulge in such wellness habits.
“You can tell this article is full of nonsensical rich people things because a) they live in Central London, close enough to work out in Hyde Park or b) it gets to 8.30am and they haven’t started their commute yet,” a critic offered.
“7 habits of highly annoying people,” remarked Curtis Westman.
“My ‘wellness’ routine means … dragging my arse out of bed at 6am for the first of many builders teas. Then a brisk walk with the hound at 6:45. Back to the house for a coffee and shouting at child to get dressed for school so we both leave house on time,” said Sarah Treager.
On Mr Gray’s sleep routine of seven hours and 41 minutes, Twitter user Paul Hutchings commented: “I hate that feeling when you’ve only had seven hours 38 minutes — totally ruins the day for me.”
“I want to know more about how shining a light into your ear gives you energy,” asked Sam McGregor.
But some of the wellness gurus featured have defended their routines. Ms Spencer took to Twitter after accusations of self-indulgence.
“I have found a routine that works for me and my family and makes me feel quite healthy most of the time. End of,” she wrote.
She also defended Mr Gray and his peppy work practices.
“I’ve yet to fist pump anyone. But I do feel for this guy. Being torn to shreds online is a horrid thing and he’s obviously found a way of living that works for him,” she wrote.
Blogger Christina Miller was on Ms Spencer’s side: “I’d rather be a nice person who scrapes their tongue than a horrible person who doesn’t.”
Even Mr Gray chimed in, very subtly. When one social media user criticised the marketeer’s routine on Twitter, but then later regretted his comments, Mr Gray sent him a single emoji: a fist pump.