Global Wellness Day – an international celebration offering a range of free health and wellness activities to the public – will be celebrated this year in more than 4,000 locations in 100 countries on 9 June.
This year marks the seventh annual GWD, which has a motto of “One day can change your whole life”, and this year the event will focus on children’s wellness, with an aim to decrease worldwide depression, obesity rates and even crime rates.
Working with universities, clinics and international wellness leaders, Belgin Aksoy Berkin, founder of GWS, has developed a curriculum for the children’s project that can be implemented in the 2018/2019 school year.
For preschools, the curriculum is a simple five-minute wellness circle time each morning, and at primary/elementary schools, it is a one-hour wellness class per week.
The project will focus on three key areas: Self-Love, to let go of shame, anger, blame and to feel at peace, learning to accept themselves and others, even fighting depression; Breathing, to improve their health and manage their stress and learn self control; and Mindfulness (mindful eating to mindful nature walks), to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing.
"We go to school from the age of two, hoping that the education system is going to help prepare us for our future,” said Aksoy Berkin, “but nobody is teaching us how to live, how to breathe, how to be mindful and how to love ourselves, as these are things that are essential to be a happy adult in the future. Kids never learn in schools the fact that people can’t love others without loving themselves first. Focusing on physical and mental wellness at such an early age is so important that it can even help decrease the worldwide depression and obesity rates, even future crime rates.’’
Aksoy Berkin’s dream of a day to celebrate wellness has inspired an international network of more than 86 volunteer Global Wellness Day Ambassadors, three advisors and 23 key supporters to organise complimentary wellness events around the planet.
This year, Nepal, South Korea, Norway, Macedonia, Zimbabwe, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, and Montenegro have joined the list of countries that will celebrate GWS.
“In an era where global consumer culture is mostly damaging the concept of childhood and kids are ending up unhappy and unsatisfied, we want to teach children how to integrate wellness practices into their lives on a daily basis and to carry on those practices throughout their lives,” Aksoy Berkin said.
Below is a sampling of celebrations planned for Saturday, June 9, 2018 – which range from entire cities joining together with family friendly wellness activities to hotels and community centres offering complementary activities, ranging from forest bathing to drum circle ceremonies to Tai Chi and junior chef challenges.
Brazil – Always a supporter of kid’s health GWD team is creating a school program that will include; dancing classes, environmental management and sustainable agriculture, plastic bottle collection, healthy food menus at school cafeterias and meditation classes led by the All Mind Alive NGO. GWD will also focus on the food options of the school canteens (snacks and meals) and cooperate with all Mind Alive NGO (meditation for kids).
Nepal – 2018 will be the first year of GWD in Nepal. A Buddhist teacher will give a short talk on compassion in action and a popular traditional Nepali Band will play. The team will distribute 100 kid-friendly animal-themed potted plants for each child to take home and nurture for 5 years, and then those 100 plants will be planted in a community forest with the help of Wild Life Conservation Nepal (WCN). The NGO will also begin implementing the GWD Kids Project in the seven preschool and secondary schools they currently work with.
United Kingdom – GWD will be hosting community-wide outdoor exercise classes and family picnic lunches in Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall. To encourage better posture – which is so needed with today’s texting and video game playing children – a Pilates in the Park sponsored event is being organised for children in the local area. Students at the University of Derby – home to a top spa programme – have prepared a celebration event program that focuses on the GWD 7 Step Manifesto.
Hungary – GWD celebration activities will focus on wellness lifestyle, healthy dining and healing water in 2018. The GWD team is going to cooperate with elementary schools, gymnastic classes and sport / fitness groups. Some of the institutions that will involve kids activities are; IWI - International Wellness Institute, Hungarian Dietetic Association (MDOSZ), Vajk-sziget Általános Iskola (Elementary School Budapest), Nyolcütem az Ifjúságért Egyesület (Julianna Református Általános Iskola).
Mexico – There will be three large GWD celebrations in Mexico this year: in San Miguel de Allende, San Luis Potosi and Tecate, home of destination spa Rancho La Puerta. This is the third year Tecate has hosted an event, with over 1,500 attendees – many families with children – expected.
Serbia – GWD’s main event will be held at the main square, Mountain Zlatibor, and the activities will include a pop music concert “Blaza i kljunovi,” games for children and Ethno dance. Indoor and outdoor activities will also be held at Health Center Cigota – Mountain Zlatibor. There will also be a workshop to prevent and inform people about the treatment of obesity in children.
Singapore - A host of children’s activities are planned at a Wellness Village known as ‘Horse City’, including babies and kids swimming lessons, golf training, horse riding lessons, art centre, martial art centre and as well as yoga, spa, mountain biking, dancing and fitness classes.
Colombia – Thanks to the support of governmental entities such as Procolombia, the PTP of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Governorships and City Halls and different wellness entrepreneurs, a range of colourful GWD celebration events will take place in this “Country of Good Living.” Activities dedicated especially to children will include yoga, meditation, hiking, fitness and ancestral rituals.
Russia – A series of events for kids is being planned including free dance therapy classes and consultations with family psychologists as well as wellness enlightenment lectures.
Turkey – Kucukciftlik Park in Istanbul is getting ready for another massive all-day celebration with yoga, Pilates, Zumba workshops, healthy lifestyle seminars with best-selling authors and kids activities such as basketball, Zumba, painting and a musical concert to end the day. The GWD event hosted more than 7,000 people last year with even more planning to attend this year.