Brands and corporations are making a beeline for our pockets, working to capitalize on what is problematically deemed the “wellness trend” – and the problem starts exactly from the phrase “wellness trend”. The fact that a mass collective in society has removed our blinders and are eliminating the idea that hustle, stress, never-ending performance, unattainable body and beauty standards and material wealth are the only measurements of a successful and fulfilling existence does not constitute a trend, so much as it does a period of enlightenment.
In fact, reducing the time we are actively dedicating to acts of wellness and self-love as a “trend” is anti-intelligent and diminishing to othose who are putting our personal well-being ahead of burnout and bad purchasing decisions. This reduction of the movement to something as flippant as a trend stems more from fear than it does ignorance.
Take the “personal care” industry as an example. The more we focus on what big corporations are putting in our “personal care” products, holding them accountable for selling us toxins and chemicals that are bad for us, and asking whether or not they have been tested on animals or use child labour in their supply chain means that companies need to start being better. And being better typically means taking a bottom line hit. And so the same companies that are responsible for selling us ineffective chemical-ridden items from one product line are launching others that are marketed to the wellness, planet-conscious crowd (did someone say Unilever’s Love Beauty Planet?).
Further to, the more we are collectively becoming aware of what is causing us to be ill of body, mind and spirit, and taking dedicated action to rectify this, the less corporations and big pharma can continue to sell us cures. A solid sense of self through the ongoing practice of mindfulness will eventually lead a rational individual to the understanding that a $12 mascara from a company that tests their products on animals in China will not fundamentally make us a more beautiful or powerful person. An expensive spa day once a year does not a wellness practice make.
It isn’t just corporations who are fearful of “wellness”. Most of us who have shared about an improved lifestyle after adapting a routine meditation practice or a plant-based diet have endured our share of rolling eyes or the predictable “…but bacon!” statement from friends.
But the truth is a person who has put their wellness before a work hustle is less likely to contract modern day stress-induced afflictions that require big pharma to knock us out at the end of a stressful day, or cause our muscles to seize from the pressure of being in constant fight mode, our immune systems to shut down, and our sense of self to be so utterly destroyed that we are weakened and seduced by false promises of beauty, health and happiness, drawn to the florescent lights of Shoppers Drug Mart like moths to the flame.
Certainly, any rational individual understands that essential oils, meditation and palo santo cannot cure even a common cold. However, investing routinely in your personal self-care through practices that reduce stress on both the mind and the body enables us to face what modern day challenges come our way with a stronger sense of who we are as individuals, why we are here on this earth (really, it is to be happy) and what really matters in this life. Investing in our health ensures our immune systems are stronger so we fall ill less often and can enjoy life as it is meant to be enjoyed. Investing in our minds and our hearts through meditation, reflection, yoga and aromatherapy opens ourselves to understand that happiness will not be found in a new electronic or pair of shoes and therefore we do not need to run ourselves into the ground for capital gains and material wealth.
Let us be mindful that corporations will work to leverage consumer trends into their own profits. Let us protect our right to nourish our beings with love and self-care. Let us push against a system that insists we be weak, dull and quick to part with our money for superficial cures to problems we do not have. Let us be well.