THE CASE FOR WELLBEING INCLUSIVITY
The founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey has been recently hailed as a wellbeing ‘super influencer’. His regime is widely perceived as being quite extreme compared to ‘regular’ wellbeing practice; it includes extended fasting, ice cold baths at 5am and eating just once a day.
It’s worth noting the contrast between how male and female influencers are viewed. Tech leaders – largely male – are frequently hailed as people to be listened to, no matter what their qualifications or medical knowledge. And in practice, men tend to be heralded for their inspiration whilst women (such as Gwyneth Paltrow) get bashed and called a lunatic. But it doesn’t end there.
For anyone adopting a more wellbeing-focused lifestyle, new objectives such as getting more quality sleep, consuming less alcohol or taking on a plant based diet don’t always meet the warm reception from friends, family and colleagues that might have been anticipated. This is because it is a cultural shift. It is unknown, perhaps not entirely trusted, and certainly not familiar.
“Wellbeing is not a fixed state that can only be achieved by copying Jack Dorsey or by purchasing Goop products.”
That scepticism may even be fuelled by the proliferation of related products and services. Take the exploding market for sleep – in the US it was valued at $28 billion in 2017; and the global sleeping aids sector is expected to be worth £102billion by 2023. The good news is that there is a plethora of actions that can be taken by individuals that are neither extreme nor costly – from proper hydration, getting to bed earlier, breathing fresh air and spending time in nature, through to conscious breathing and mindfulness practice.
The shift toward a more health- and wellbeing-focused society is happening but it is going to be a bumpy ride to see it truly manifest in the mainstream. The biggest hurdle is the acceptance that there is room for everyone. Wellbeing is not a fixed state that can be achieved only by copying Jack Dorsey or by purchasing Goop products. The reality is that there is room for all versions but the pursuit of better wellbeing has social pitfalls that not everyone expects when they decide to change their life.
Anni Hood, Chief Executive, Well Intelligence
GLOBAL FORCES SPARK HOLIDAY SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS
Some 31% more UK holidaymakers plan to spend their vacation in the UK in 2019 than in previous years, says a recent report from Barclays. The jury is out on the key reasons, but last-year’s record breaking summer of high temperatures, Brexit uncertainty, and the UK’s improved leisure experience have all contributed to putting the perception of holidaying at home on a par with vacationing overseas.
This is excellent news for the domestic market, but less so for agents and operators serving popular destinations in Europe and beyond.
The UK should be thankful for the staycationers. The number of people visiting the UK fell by 5.3% in 2018 – this was in contrast to forecasts and also to the 6% increase in global travel; the expectation for 2019 is that numbers will continue to fall. The drop in inbound tourism numbers is being attributed to a decline in interest amongst Europeans, who make up two thirds of the UK’s overseas visitors.
“What is happening is a strong illustrator of just how influential geopolitics, cultural awareness and global events have become.”
What is happening is a strong illustrator of just how influential geopolitics, cultural awareness and global events have become. Not so long ago it was perceived that, for the most part, travellers were immune to the decisions of governments and to political and cultural shifts.
Now the weak pound (GBP) and the resulting higher value available in the UK aren’t enough in themselves to attract visitors from overseas. People no longer live in silos; they rightly see big issues such as the environment, technology, societal cohesion, geopolitics and the economy as being interdependent. All are parts of the whole – and that includes decisions over where to travel.
Steve Dunne, Chairman, Well Intelligence
NEW ZEALAND’S BUDGET FOR BENEFICIENCE
Today (May 30th) heralds a progressive world first for New Zealand with the publication of the country’s inaugural Wellbeing Budget. The core intention is to provision spending in a way that most effectively contributes to the wellbeing of citizens. What the new policy means in practice is that spend must advance one of five identified priorities: 1) improving mental health; 2) reducing child poverty; 3) addressing inequalities; 4) thriving in a digital age; and 5) transitioning to a low emission, sustainable economy.
The new budget is described as “a game-changing event” by Lord Richard Layard, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and a global authority on life satisfaction across populations. New Zealand is not the first country to embrace wellbeing – Bhutan has led the field for years – but “no other major country has so explicitly adopted wellbeing as its objective”, says Layard.
Why is it happening now? Sheer necessity. As the global wellness economy continues to grow – in areas as diverse as tourism, illness prevention, real estate, the workplace and the environment – the initiative has been driven not just by consumer demand, but also by the need for economic and social sustainability.
“Expect to hear a growing narrative around raised consciousness, community cohesion, cultural and intergenerational connection, and cross generational equity.”
Note the political extremes that exist: on the one hand regressive anti-abortion campaigns, climate change denial, and rising populism; on the other, moves such as this: putting people and universal wellbeing front and centre.
Expect to hear a growing narrative around raised consciousness, community cohesion, cultural and intergenerational connection, and cross-generational equity. This isn’t tethered to the policy of one country; it’s sprouting across businesses, society models, groups of like minds and families seeking to be more purposed in their contribution to the world.