The new dawn of health and wellbeing

As the crisis in the hospitality industry goes deeper and deeper, and the reality of the impact hits us with a force that we have never before experienced, we are starting to lift our gaze to consider what the future may hold for us. 

No one truly knows, but there are certainly facts and figures on the current situation, and social media, articles and news feeds are starting to discuss it.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Jeremy McCarthy, group director of spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, shared a truly interesting essay (very long!) by social philosopher Charles Eisenstein. 

Below are some excerpts:  

  • “The War on Death gives way to the quest to live well and fully, and we see that fear of death is actually fear of life. How much of life will we forego to stay safe?
  • To hold life sacred is not just to live long, it is to live well and right and fully.
  • Last year, according to the FAO, 5 million children worldwide died of hunger. 
  • The measures being instituted to control COVID-19, likewise, may end up causing more suffering and death than they prevent. Minimizing deaths means minimizing the deaths that we know how to predict and measure. It is impossible to measure the added deaths that might come from isolation-induced depression, for instance, or the despair caused by unemployment, or the lowered immunity and deterioration in health that chronic fear can cause. 
  • Of those analyzed, less than 1% were free of serious chronic health conditions. Some 75% suffered from hypertension, 35% from diabetes, 33% from cardiac ischemia, 24% from atrial fibrillation, 18% from low renal function, along with other conditions that I couldn’t decipher from the Italian report. Nearly half the deceased had three or more of these serious pathologies. 
  • Americans, beset by obesity, diabetes, and other chronic ailments, are at least as vulnerable as Italians. Should we blame the virus then (which killed few otherwise healthy people), or shall we blame underlying poor health?”

Definitely provocative statements from Mr. Eisenstein (please read the full essay to understand the correct context), yet I hear more and more conversation around these comments. 

What we know and can see for sure is that if we take care of our health and wellness, we minimize the risk of death if we are below 70 years of age. 

From another angle, we cannot either rely on our medical system to save us and still continue to ignore our personal health and wellness, as many have done up until now. In addition, the current global lockdown will result in severe negative health consequences that will need to be rectified once we are through this immediate crisis. 

The new dawn is that the concept of self-responsibility for one’s health and wellness will have exponential growth, and rapidly, I suspect. Further community responsibility to promote health and wellness will also spiral, and measurement tools will be put in place to provide populations the tools and expertise to remain healthy and well. 

The quest for freedom will explode, as no human wants to be locked in, regardless of the good reason for it. Consequently, the growth in domestic tourism will be huge.  

For the hospitality industry this means that our guests will consider going to places and hotels that provide them with what they need to stay well and healthy, no matter the purpose of their trip. 

Wellness programs and spa treatments is not where the focus should lie right now. Rather, it should be about providing the best possible sleep environment, nutritious food options and mindful activities, as well as environmental care, biophilic design, sustainable practices and so forth. 

To prepare for the future, my strong belief is that we should all take a fresh look at what we need to change in order to keep up with the future wellness demand, whether we work in a 1-, 3- or 5-star facility. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit out there and much that can be implemented quickly, which I will cover in my next post. 

Get prepared for the new dawn!