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What's the meaning of wellness and wellbeing?

It's something we're all living with and talking about all the time... but what does it really mean, to you, to me and to Spabreaks.com?

Someone asked me recently what wellbeing means at Spabreaks.com, and I thought this was an interesting question. In truth, wellness and wellbeing means lots of different things to different people, all rolled up into one small and rather understated word. Indeed, it's important that wellbeing does mean lots of things, because it reflects where we are in our life at any moment in time.

What is wellbeing?

On a purist level, when we talk about wellness we literally mean being well, the Cambridge Dictionary defines it as "the state of being healthy".

However, that encompasses everything from mental, physical and emotional health, within which lives a whole world of factors - nutrition, exercise, sleep, relationships, skincare - the list goes on.

So this made me think, what do I think wellness means at Spabreaks.com? If you speak to any member of the Spabreaks.com team, they will tell you that they consider wellness in a broad and holistic context. Every person will have a particular aspect that's currently more prominent for them, but a few things shine through:

  • Wellbeing is not linear
  • Wellbeing is not simple
  • It's personal
  • It's ongoing and evolving

Wellbeing is for everybody

Years ago an amazing yoga instructor told me that we need to remember that our health and wellbeing is not relegated to an hour in the gym at the end of the day. It's not a box to check on our to-do list - it's what we live with every moment of every day - and that has really stuck with me. It's also a really key part of the Spabreaks.com approach to wellness.

The funny thing about health and wellbeing in a commercial context is that it can give the impression of being exclusive, a luxury, something that's aspirational - this word comes up a lot. Yet, health and wellbeing are the antithesis of exclusivity - they're universal, because we all experience it all the time to whatever level we have it. Wellbeing, or the lack thereof, is with us all day, every day, and in many ways it is the great leveller amongst us, proving our fallible, vulnerable, exceptional humanity.

Spabreaks.com embodies that democratising of health. Yes, on the face of it, it is a place where you can book a spa day or break, and that itself is fairly transactional. However, it's all the details that go into it that make it layered, accessible and more than the sum of its parts.

Breaking down barriers

Firstly, you can book a spa day or break by package - you don't have to know the difference between one facial and the next because you can book based on the experience you want to have. We all have a sense of what a mother/daughter breaks, afternoon tea, detox break, group break and so forth are for - there's no snobbery and no exclusive language you need to know.

We always talk about having a spa break for everybody and everybody. What we mean is that by having the choice of more than 600 spas to choose from, there will always be one that will suit you and the specific occasion (or lack thereof), budget, health requirement, location etc., at that time.

A safe space

Then spas themselves are the places where judgement is left at the front door. We have always talked about the fluffy white robe of a spa being a metaphor for being wrapped up safely, taking your proverbial armour off and knowing that this is a place where you are safe, supported and cared for.

Claire Caddick, Managing Director at the Tribe517 Spa product house and MD at the Sparticulate Spa Consultancy summed it up in her therapist training approach with Beauty Rebellion, S.E.L.F Method, saying: "It’s not about us having to understand why and what is in everybody’s thoughts, but it is about supporting and offering the tools for everyone to manage their minds and feelings about themselves."

We have historically heard people feel as though spas are places that are only for the stereotypically 'beautiful people' - in perfect health, a perfect shape, a perfect size - whatever those things mean. We believe the exact opposite. They are for everybody and everybody - every age, race, demographic and state of wellbeing.

Wellbeing is to be enjoyed

Moving onto the next layer of wellness, spas and spa treatments are seen as a luxury, and in many ways they are. A spa break is not a necessity like eating every day, but in a way it's fundamental and an important reminder that wellbeing is there to be enjoyed.

Taking care of our wellbeing is at the root of our joy in life. When we feel good in our minds, bodies and souls we have space to enjoy the people, the places and the activities we're engaged in. We all want to feel good, and health is essential to that.

Spas are a joyful, happy entry into the world of wellness. This isn't about medical care or about treatment or cure - it's about enjoying wellbeing on whatever level is meaningful or interesting to us. That can be a gateway to understanding ourselves better, learning about things we're interested in (nutrition, physiotherapy, cryotherapy, aromatherapy), or simply taking the experience as it comes.

The power of touch

We live in a world where we're all stressed and easily disconnected from our bodies. By knowing our bodies and what their normal is, by feeling the connection between physical and mental health, we are better equipped to know when something isn't right, and to advocate for ourselves earlier. Massage, time in our bodies - these things help us to achieve that.

There's lots of information around on the preventative and recovery benefits of touch treatments and other wellbeing practices. However, without getting into the debatable minutiae, this ability to know your body is important for our enjoyment of our health and by extension our enjoyment of life.

Health is so precious and yet somehow it seems to fall into the 'luxury' category until we're unwell. Enjoying our wellbeing is such a fantastic gift - for ourselves and for others. To our mind, a spa break is a wonderful way to embrace that through the many and varied options and experiences that this holistic world embodies.

Find the right spa break for you

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