2020 – Back to Basics and Shared Responsibilities

The last decade has seen a huge rise in the wellness industry with many trends emerging, some good, some not so good and some downright bizarre. We’ve had superfoods, wearables, mindfulness, clean eating, budget apps, probiotics, positive physiology, collagen, veganism, juice cleanses, blue light filters, corporate programs, life coaching, online GPs, journaling, colouring, sleep apps, fasting, quitting sugar, HIIT, crossfit, barree, minimalisation, wellness holidays and well buildings.

With no shortage of information, tools, products and services why have we not seen dramatic improvements when it comes to people’s health and wellbeing?

Looking at these various trends it has occured to me that most have a tendency to put the onus squarely on the individual and effectively offer people tools to make improvements in a single area but fail to deal with the root cause of their behaviour.

Back to basics

When we have a basis for good health things like mindfulness can be powerful tools to enhance certain areas or provide extra support when we need it. The question is what are the key ingredients people need as a basis for being well.

On top of the most basic needs like food, water and shelter we’ve listed our top five below:

  • Resilience
  • Gratitude
  • Time
  • Love
  • Support

Nothing fancy and readily available, yet these things are what people seem to lack most.

With bushfires devastating much of Australia we’ve experienced a horror start to the New Year and indeed the New Decade. Coming from the South Coast of NSW, one of the worst affected areas I have a very personal connection to many of those impacted and consequently have witnessed first-hand this shocking disaster unfold. Amongst the horror and devastation I’ve seen the very best of human behaviour with the ingredients listed above coming out in spades. So perhaps its not so much that we’re lacking in these areas its more that we don’t prioritise them like we should. For instance you might prioritise signing up to the latest diet trend but what about taking 30 seconds in a day to stop and think about what your grateful for.

In the face of the terrible suffering these fires have caused we’ve seen the most resilient people, people losing everything they own and being grateful for their lives and loved ones, communities coming together, businesses offering assistance, people taking time and extending a hand to show love and support to those in need.

So with this horrendous tragedy I have seen that when we need to draw on the basics they are indeed there and as we move into 2020 I am hopeful that we will see a shift from trends back to basics. We’ll see individuals embrace resilience and gratitude and we’ll see organisations stand up and recognise that employees are human beings.

Organisations will understand that it is not possible for people to be completely healthy and happy if they don’t provide healthy, supportive cultures that recognise employees as human beings. This means safety first – way above getting the job done. It means supportive managers who lead by example, it means efficient systems that work, policies that can practically be implemented, environments that are comfortable, it means inclusive cultures, supporting caregivers, balancing stressful tasks, saying thank you, recognising achievements, providing meaning and treating people fairly and with dignity.

Aiming for the same outcome

Health and happiness require individuals and organisations to come together and share the responsibility, it’s not the workplaces sole responsibility nor is it the individuals, they both have a vested interest in getting this right. People ultimately want good health and happiness and organisations require happy, healthy, engaged employees to deliver to their various stakeholders.

Similarly in the face of the bushfire emergency all Australians will need to come together and share responsibility. We cannot leave people in affected communities to take this on themselves. We will need to give time, love and support so these individuals can continue to be grateful and resilient. We must hold our politicians to account to ensure all available resources are deployed to rebuild communities and everything is on the table in regards to future planning so this type of disaster doesn’t become the norm.

We’re in this together. 

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One of my colleagues recently asked me to join her for a quick coffee run and I gave my usual response of “no but can you grab a latte for me”. She asked me why I take so few breaks throughout the day and reminded me that we do promote for wellbeing for a living.

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