Three years ago, Belgin Aksoy, creative director of hotel management company Richmond International in Turkey, came up with an idea to combat depression and unhappiness by promoting the importance of living well through a special initiative - Global Wellness Day.
“According to many studies, depression is the most common health problem around the world,” she said in the latest edition of Spa Business – Q2 2015
. “It often manifests itself in sleep deprivation, stress, poor nutrition, inactivity, obesity, heart disease and more. To overcome this problem and lead a healthy, happier life we need an inspiring beginning. The name of that beginning is Global Wellness Day.”
Aksoy reasons: “We’ve honoured almost everything which is valuable to us with a special day, so why not have one that’s dedicated to the universally accepted importance of wellness?”
Held on the second Saturday of June each year, Global Wellness Day (GWD) is based on a simple premise – to increase our consciousness of living a better life, even if it’s just for one day, to draw our attention to healthier lifestyles.
It’s campaigning for people to change one aspect of their lives for that day and outlines seven possible manifests:
• Drink more water
• Walk for an hour
• Shop locally & eat organically
• Stop using plastic bottles
• Do a good deed Q Eat a family dinner
• Go to bed at 10pm
Aksoy hopes that these manifests will motivate people to keep up the good habits to “impact their wellbeing on the other 364 days of the year."
What started as a vision is quickly becoming a reality with both celebrities and a growing number of spa professionals showing their support for the not-for-profit campaign.
Last year, Aksoy went back stage at the Emmy Awards where stars from TV shows such as Mad Men
visited the GWD stand and praised the venture.
The initiative is also striking a chord in the spa arena. There are now 39 spa industry leaders, from 30 countries, who have been appointed GWD ambassadors. From Noel Asmar (Noel Asmar Group) and Nicolas Ronco (Yelo Spa) in North America to Marianne Brepohl (Lapinha Spa) in Brazil, Kira Walton (Voya) in Ireland and Sammy Gharieni (Gharieni Group) in Germany – all ambassadors have made a commitment to invite their community to become a part of GWD.
Asmar says: “Wellness is a necessity, not an option, and I felt I must be involved.” Gharieni adds: “I’m excited about finally having one day when everyone thinks about wellness. It’s a sober claim that ‘GWD or one day can change your whole life’.”
In fact, many initiatives, partnerships and events are already underway or being planned behind the scenes in the run up to the third GWD on Saturday 13 June. Highlights include the possibility of a seal of approval from the Dalai Lama when he talks at the Happiness and its Causes conference in Australia on 11-12 June; while in Thailand, GWD has been included as an official event in the Tourist Authority’s calendar for 2015 and 2016.
In the USA, UK, Austria and Germany, word is being spread to spa and wellness-related organisations. In Turkey the aim is to set up an official GWD association and to distribute GWD apples with in-flight meals to 80,000 Turkish Airline passengers on the day.
From its first tentative steps in Turkey, the GWD campaign has gathered momentum and moved across borders – five continents to be precise. So far, it’s collected signatures from over 5,000 people who support the campaign.
Aksoy concludes: “Ten years ago, wellness was considered a luxury. Today most of us know that we all need to adopt a better lifestyle and approach to wellbeing. Ten years from now, people will know that ‘wellness’ is the answer – we’ll go back to basics and learn to appreciate the silence within our minds, as well as how to transfer positive vibes to others. We’ll take actions to learn the simplicity of happiness. At least this is my dream for the future and Global Wellness Day will be a very important instrument to achieve this dream.”Click here to view a full list of the 49 GWD ambassadors