The global wellness industry is worth over $4.5 trillion, that’s a batch of skin care products, yoga mats and smoothie bowls that claim to make us happier and healthier people. And with goals that are so shiny (who doesn’t want to live a longer, better life?), many of us have become too eager to participate, filling our carts and schedules with more name-brand leggings, fitness classes, facials , stuff.
But are these things really good for us? And who really benefits from all the money we invest in the pursuit of well-being?
“I call the capital-w Wellness industry the ‘riches and hell’ industry because…it’s not about health and wellness. It’s about money,” says author, racial justice educator, and spiritual activist Rachel Ricketts in the first episode of The Good+Good Podcast.
*record scratch noise*
Yes, we have launched our first podcast. At Well+Good HQ, we spend our days talking to and learning from the most exciting people in wellness—experts, thought leaders, and celebrities—and now we want you to join the conversation. With each episode, our hosts will delve into the big questions surrounding some of our most clicked topics to reimagine what it means for your to find wellness.
And since we are not playing, we start with a strange question: We are fine? In our first episode, Well+Good General Manager Kate Spies talks with Ricketts, yogi and bestselling author Jessamyn Stanley, and actress and wellness entrepreneur Kristen Bell about how they define “wellness,” what it’s like. true well-being for them. and how the whitewashed wellness industry must change to become more representative and inclusive.
Which brings us back to Ricketts: “A lot of the ‘riches and hell’ we partake in is very individualistic,” she says. “[It tells us] that we need things outside of ourselves to be well and that’s not true… I have all the tools I need [to be well] inside of me, and it’s just a matter of…peeling the onion [layers] of all the conditioned shit that we have acquired and coming back to who I really am, who you really are and an understanding of collective and community care”.
Bell, meanwhile, says she had to go into lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for her to see wellness in a new way. “I feel like the pandemic has certainly opened my eyes to this trial period of what my life would be like if it were a little bit smaller, and I really enjoyed that,” she says. “Self-care and wellness can be a little pick-me-up during the day. It must be accessible to absolutely everyone. It can be asking for help; it can be listening to a podcast; may be doing a puzzle. It doesn’t have to be a product. You just have to live by the mantra that, ‘When I’m taking care of myself, I can better take care of those around me.'”
Stanley says he has also noticed a “shift from wellness as a club sport, as a trend, to wellness as a survival tactic.” “This old idea of wellness isn’t about healing. It’s about painting,” he says. “And I think we’re really moving into this wellness space that’s about trying to take care of yourself, not so you can live forever.” or so you can say: ‘Look what a great human being I am; look what a great condition I’m in,’ but literally just so you can survive.”
That is just the tip of the iceberg. For more wisdom from Ricketts, Stanley, and Bell, you’ll need to tune in to the first episode.
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