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2014.07.29.

I have recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Happier at Home. Many of you will be familiar with her bestseller The Happiness Project. I started reading this book at an interesting time of year. It is the time when I...[more]

2014.06.27.

This is the first entry of the Tourism Observatory’s new Blog which I will be contributing to on a regular basis from this week onwards. We hope to stimulate some interesting debates, so please do comment when you have time.

No...[more]

2013.09.06.

Was absolutely blown away by the introduction of the 'Balkan Spa Forest Hammam' concept at the 3rg Balkan Spa Summit (Arandelovac, Serbia). Would you have thought that this would include natural, ethnology, heritage and health?...[more]

2013.06.23.
2013.06.08.

We are absolutely delighted that a new project is about to start which aims at the analysis of local wellbeing concepts. These concepts are rather fashionable nowadays: Alpine Wellness, Nordic Wellbeing, or Balkan Spa just naming...[more]

2013.02.22.

We are working on the second and revised edition of our book on travelling for health.[more]

2013.02.20.

Here is what we said about what kind of wellness and spa services can be popular and shape the wellness and spa tourism industry by 2015.[more]

The Truth about Wellness

27-06-2014
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This is the first entry of the Tourism Observatory’s new Blog which I will be contributing to on a regular basis from this week onwards. We hope to stimulate some interesting debates, so please do comment when you have time.

No doubt many of you have already seen McCann’s recent Report called The Truth about Wellness (mccann.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/wellness_Truth-Central_book-layout_individualpages.pdf). This is an extensive and enlightening piece of research. 86% of people believe that wellness is in their own hands, which is very positive. On the other hand, they feel that there are many ’enemies’ to wellness, especially lack of time. I am sure we can all relate to this. With the best will in the world, being a supposed ’expert’ on health and wellbeing, I often fall short of optimum wellness because of time constraints. It is hard with a full-time job (or two!) especially with small children to find time to sleep 8 hours a night (rarely achieved), eat healthily at all times, remember to drink 2 litres of water per day, go to a minimum of two fitness classes every week, rest adequately during the daytime (ideally taking a power nap), meditate every day, dedicate time to loved-ones, socialise with friends, and digitally detox regularly (McCann state that 46% of people think technology is making them sicker). It is not just a matter of making time for the gym. Even creating a smoothie or a decent salad requires shopping, peeling and chopping time!

For some people, willpower will also be a major barrier as identified by McCann. This is especially true in the context of food where mealtimes become ’a battle in the head’. Given that 50% of most Western populations are obese, this comes as no surprise. The majority of the rest seem to be partly struggling, partly starving. On the other hand, the denial of the odd bottle of wine and a few squares of chocolate can be detrimental to wellness. It is all about moderation. But we have to know where the boundary lies between wellness and over-indulgence and many of us don’t. A combination of time, willpower and education is needed to create optimum wellness (sometimes money too but in my view there is much that can be done for very little cost).

Here are a couple of truisms:

·         Optimum wellness is very time-consuming

·         Optimum wellness takes dedication and commitment

However, there are few better uses of our time than creating optimum wellness for ourselves. We have to make some of the routines and rituals as natural as washing our face or brushing our teeth. Taking the stairs not the lift, walking or cycling to work where possible, power-napping on the bus if necessary (without missing our stop!), choosing the salad and not the chips option, carrying round a re-fillable water bottle, sticking to two squares of chocolate and one small glass of wine, meditating online from our desk if necessary (with Deepak Chopra or similar) -  the list goes on. As stated by McCann ’Wellness must be seen as a lifelong journey’ and ’We should never think of wellness as something that exists outside our everyday lives’.

McCann also talk about happiness being extremely important, but I am going to leave this topic for the next Blog as there is so much to say and discuss…….

In the meantime, tell us YOUR top tips for integrating wellness into your busy daily lives?

Dr Melanie Smith is a Health and Wellbeing Consultant, Researcher and Writer (The Tourism Observatory for Health, Wellness and Spa)

Email: msmith@bkf.hu

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