"In my opinion, the measure of health & wellbeing requires an all encompassing lens, where mind + body + spirit + community are included. It isn’t solely the absence of illness/disease, that is too narrow a lens. Rather, it is the existence of bio-psycho-social balance, resilience and interconnectedness.
The industry is slowly waking up to a more nuanced definition of health and wellbeing where diversity and inclusion are being addressed. For example, when looking at representation, spaces are beginning to expand their reach along the spectrum of race, body size, disability, age and gender. When all beings are represented we move away from perpetuating implicit messaging which tells us that if we are not thin + able-bodied + white + hyper-mobile then we’re not welcome, not ‘healthy’, not worthy. This deficit-based mindset has been feeding into the oppressive structures which perpetuate health inequity. Through allyship and care of the collective, these small changes are taking steps towards dismantling those structures.
To work towards a more all-encompassing lens we must explore how we, as businesses in the health industry, address mental wellness & community engagement. Can we expand our dialogue to include critical self-inquiry around race, white privilege and health equity?
(1) Inquiries around mental health: Can we begin to promote ‘mental fitness’ into our brand? Are we creating enough room for conversations which normalize mental health? Can we collaborate with local community mental health/holistic wellness services to build bridges which enhance accessibility?
2) Inquiries around community engagement: How can we do better at community outreach? Who is being left out of the conversation? Does our leadership team represent the communities around us? If not, why - and how did we get here? Let’s begin having these conversations.
We often don’t realise how deep societal messaging lands in our subconscious and physical bodies until we commit to the inner work, freeing ourselves from the mental confines they've created. However, our external forces need to be challenged and dismantled just as much, if not more, in order to sustain the overall wellness of the individual.
Changes at the macro level impact us on the micro level, right down to our neurophysiology. The more we see people like ourselves represented and celebrated in the public eye, the more we feel welcome, seen, heard and safe. We are reminded that we are not alone. When these innate biological needs are met, we slowly move toward brain integration, regulated nervous systems and overall wellness."