Wellness for sale.

Last August I stepped down from my job. Due to the nature of my work I was required to take ‘gardening leave’ for 6-months. This 6-months became my sabbatical - time to recover and heal from the 10 years I had given to the corporate world. Time to rediscover my passion and purpose in life.

Taking a sabbatical was great; I established an NGO called #PersonBeforePatient and I reconnected with home, my family and friends. Lunches, massages and pedicures! Eventually - despite experiencing a glorious sense of freedom, some sharp realities hit home. My life, and lifestyle was costing me a lot!

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The wellness business is BIG - in fact, in 2017 - according to the Global Wellness Institute it was a whopping $4.2 trillion sized business. That is roughly 5.3% of of the global economic output!

To understand the wellness economy you need to know that it is defined as  ‘industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives’.

Then it hit me.

If I had been conditioned into buying wellness, what would happen if I stopped buying it - would doing nothing make me unwell?

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After being diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease, a long term, progressive condition affecting the inner ear, I quick became unrecognisable. My hearing failed. My proprioception (my sense of balance, motion, position) deteriorated to the point where I lived in gut-wrenching fear of ‘having an attack’. Long-term prescription medicines made me shaky and restless. I did not sleep and had extraordinary anxiety.

I continued working; often struggling daily to keep on top of my full time job, to maintain relationships, to avoid triggers such as stress, overwork, fatigue, emotional distress, additional illnesses, pressure changes, certain foods, and too much salt in the diet.

Fast forward 10 years; a decade of semi-living, my Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon asked me if was “prepared to live the rest of my life like this?”. It shocked me into consciousness and I underwent an operation to remove my inner ear.

Afterwards, I believed I was cured! So when the symptoms returned during the pregnancy of my second child, I found myself in a swirl of rage and bewilderment. Denied prescription medicines; I could not care for myself and also my unborn child. I felt I had no choice but to invest in alternative wellness options. So I spent.

After I had taken my corporate life out of the equation, it was much easier to see that ‘the more I gave to my job, the more wellness I had to buy’. Similar was true when I was pregnant - the more pressure the pregnancy put on my body, the more more exposed my physical weaknesses became.

Today. I maintain my remission. I feel well, but am certainly not close to optimal health. So this question is important to me - and my downsizing salary requires me to come up with an answer - what wellness do I need to buy?

















Ruth Wilson