Charlie Learman-Wood BSc (Hons) International Spa Management, University of Derby, UK.
On the 9th June, the 6th annual Global Wellness Day took place in over 100 different countries at over 5000 different locations. As the University of Derby Buxton is a forerunner in the provision of spa and wellness education, it was only fitting that we celebrate such a day, and so a fantastic event was organised by two 3rd year students from the International Spa Management degree course. The event took place in the university’s’ historical Devonshire Dome campus – adorned in the iconic magenta colour of the Global Wellness Day brand, the Dome was the perfect setting to host such an event. The aim of the day was to the statement “One day can change your whole life” by bringing awareness to a wellness lifestyle. The Global Wellness Day manifest for 2018 was comprised of 7 elements: walk for an hour each day, drink more water, don’t use plastic bottles, eat healthy food, do a good deed, have a family dinner and sleep at 10pm each night.
With this in mind, the event was organised to reflect these ideals and create awareness in an engaging manner. The day was filled with an ample amount of activities, some of which ran throughout the whole day, and some that were delivered in allocated time slots. This helped to create a fun atmosphere that was also structured enough so that no one got confused by the itinerary – this was a day centred on wellness after all! The team came up with a great idea to design passport-style itineraries so that guests could keep a visual record of which activities they had participated in throughout the day. With this, guests could collect stickers as an incentive to increase participation; each sticker was worth one entry to a prize draw. The event attracted guests of all ages – both adults and children – all of which appeared to enjoy the day in equal amounts. The event also fell on the same date as a university open day, so there were many additional guests that chose to join in the fun.
The scheduled activities included the following:
- Wellness Walk. Equipped with Global Wellness Day display paddles, a party of around 20 people took part in this activity. We were led on a route past the historic St Anne’s Well – where famous Buxton mineral water is pumped from the ground – and to the scenic Pavilion Gardens. Buxton is a bustling town during the summer months and the weather was perfect, so this was certainly a highlight of the day. The walk demonstrated that the aim of walking for one hour each day is an achievable step to a healthier lifestyle.
- Tai Chi workshop. There were two Tai Chi workshops on the day. The first one took place inside the Dome and introduced participants to a few simple movements, followed by a 5 minute demonstration from the instructor. After people had processed these simple moves, it was time to move onto something slightly more advanced, so later on in the day we gathered again, this time on the lawn outside of the building. It can’t be said that everyone mastered the moves, but it was definitely great fun!
- Healthy Food workshop and Healthy Lunch. Delivered by a professional doctor, guests were shown a presentation which introduced the concepts of healthy eating and mental techniques that can be used to switch cravings from junk food to vibrant, nutritious and healthy food. This was the ideal precursor to the healthy lunch, which was presented in a social, ‘family style’ setting with two long tables rather than many separate ones. We were treated to a wonderful array of rainbow foods which left us feeling full and satisfied, and the general consensus was that the food actually beat quick fixes such as pizza or pasta (not to say treating yourself isn’t a part of wellness too!).
- Mindfulness workshop. This pressure-free, informal workshop included an introduction into what mindfulness means, followed by a 10-minute guided mindfulness session. During this, we were taught to acknowledge our breathing and centre our thoughts to the present moment. The benefits of mindfulness for the mind, body and spirit were explained, leaving people eager to learn more. Feedback from the participants was very positive and there was a relaxed vibe in the room.
Additionally, there was a Children’s Reading Room, Plastic Awareness information stand and spa treatment demonstration stand that guests could visit throughout the day. There was also an Affirmation Board – people had the opportunity to write something that they were grateful for or happy about, and display it on a board for all to see. By the end of the day, the board was covered with over 40 affirmations, which conveyed a powerful, positive message that fittingly reflected the principles of wellness.
The impacts the day had for me personally were profound in terms of insight – I went away from the day feeling super reflective. As for the “One day can change your life” claim? After being armed with knowledge surrounding the dangers of plastic, I have converted to bamboo cups, I haven’t bought a plastic bag in weeks, I am eating healthier and my water intake is certainly up (however, the recommendation to sleep at 10pm may take some time to implement!). But that’s the great thing about the wellness movement – it doesn’t demand a drastic overnight change, it encourages small, achievable lifestyle alterations that can have a subtle positive impact on overall wellness. With annual events set to follow, this is just the beginning!