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Sustainable health for humankind, if not now, when?

There has never been a more pertinent time for the health and wellbeing of humanity. We have been flirting with wellness practice for some time, maybe we’ve got comfortable with the dimensions that influence our own wellbeing barometer but on the whole, have we have deferred ‘real’ effort to the ubiquity of tomorrow?

The time is up for procrastination. The situation we now find ourselves in; under lockdown, businesses closed, death rates climbing by the day, travel at an unprecedented standstill, is a wake-up call that won’t be ignored.

What follows is a perspective from a macro world view to the relevance of that reality on us as individuals. How responsible and empowered we all become in our choice of lifestyle and resulting state of health and wellbeing is still that, a choice.

What is happening now, cannot be allowed to happen again

The macro aspects of the economy, environment, society, geopolitics and technology are all interdependent. “The future of wellbeing will be driven by technology but defined by humanity” – this belief ( that I personally stand by) is shared by many and it is a fair assumption to make, given the rapid evolution of tech and the increasing demand for wellness services. However, we’re now in a different realm. Nothing is siloed anymore. The symbiosis of everything is a critical perspective to both explore and to accept and it is one of the things that the Coronavirus (CV) pandemic has revealed in a way that is impossible to disregard. This global crisis will reshape our ‘normal’ in profound ways, the domino effect of CV in our ultra-connected world is seismic. No government, business, society or individual will want this to happen again: not only through loss of life to CV but also livelihoods, mental state and an obliteration of lifestyle as we have known it.

What will the future look like?

It is the question everyone is asking. One consequence of CV is a remapping of the relationship between business and society. The enormous UK government bailouts effectively close the gap between state and private sector priorities, a ‘new social contract’ is being talked about by the Social Market Foundation that will redefine the relationship between government, business and society. It is too early to say what that will really mean but there are a couple of things that are likely to be more prevalent in the advent of a new world order; one is a rapidly scaled use of bio metrics, the other is a focus on the resilience and efficiency of our immune systems – already technology exists (and is in place) that takes the human body temperature before staff, guests and suppliers enter restaurants – if the technology identifies someone who has a raised temperature, they’re not allowed in.
We’re already witnessing that the success of the UK government response strategy to CV relies heavily on everyone doing their bit. This new cultural, moral and ethical pressure entwined in the collective benefit for society is unlikely to end, that’s a good thing. But how will we or the government know that we have a committed and unified society with all citizens pulling in the same direction?

Data, knowledge and empowerment …taken to the nth degree

Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people’s unique physical and behavioural characteristics. Physiological characteristics are related to body shape and identity such as face recognition, DNA, finger prints, iris recognition, body temperature and behavioural characteristics relate to patterns of behaviour, whether that be lifestyle related (think fit bit tracking and Apple Watch) through typing rhythm, gait and tone of voice. Why relevant? The CV pandemic spotlights the health of the global economy intrinsically with the health of humankind … in an FT article Yuval Harari describes in more detail the very specific issue that lies ahead of us: “In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.” Whether the result is a totalitarian culture (unlikely in the UK) or empowerment for humankind, the monitoring, emphasis and value on the health of the population will be a vanguard for the new normal.

What this means for business and priorities

What may have taken society and business decades to evolve towards before CV (BCV) is likely to be concentrated into a short order transformation ACV (after CV). There has never been a more stark reality: the urgency of a democratised focus on human wellbeing will scale the priority list of government and businesses alike. Consider these as ACV evolution potential for business and investment commitment;

1. ‘End to end’ wellbeing philosophy – from supplier invoice payments to employee health. Get to the guts (pun intended) of what makes a difference to human health. The morals and ethics of responsible capitalism will never be out of the spotlight again.

2. The role of business in societal health – the often controversial strategy of libertarian paternalism (that it is both possible and ethical to influence human behaviour whilst at the same time honouring choice) has become more likely and may be a cultural shift to embrace for the greater good both in products and service to the public as well as for employees.

3. Business purpose and Impact Investment – new regulations surrounding investment BCV were set to come into play during Q4 2020 or latest Q1 2021 – the value and need has now increased.

Fast-track to a more robust immune system;

How do we protect ourselves, our families, employees and communities? As ever the basics matter hugely. In short;

1. Sleep, sleep, sleep – if you’re not getting enough, your effort and energy in other aspects of your health and wellbeing is all but wasted. Read the science, it is compelling. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker , Fast Asleep by Michael Mosley are both engaging, informative and evidence based.
2. A high nutrition diet – rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses
3. Take vitamin and mineral boosting supplements – Vitamins A,C,D,E , Zinc, Selenium – follow Lynne McTaggart. There are many around …choose bona fide expertise
4. Fresh air and nature – granted this is being somewhat limited at the moment but get those windows open, be in your garden and if you can’t do that, visualise that you are!
5. Manage stress – unchecked, stress is guaranteed to undermine and diminish your immune system. Meditate, sit in stillness and quiet, use deep breathing techniques to calm yourself and your body systems quickly.
6. Connect with yourself – cultivate a deeper connection within you. Call it spiritual, energetic, universal but get to know yourself again. Beneath all the layers and the fears. That inner strength, trust, self-belief and self- love is invaluable for peace, grounding and resilience.

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