World Wellness Weekend will be celebrated this Saturday and Sunday with a ton of free activities and wellness-related education. Below we detail some of the events happening around the world and where to head if you’re close enough to participate.
If you can’t make it to any of the open houses or retreats, set aside some time to do your own self-care this Saturday or Sunday. We describe a few at-home (or on the road) wellness activities you can do to create your own DIY Wellness Weekend any time of the year. Better yet, grab a few friends and get well together.
September 21st and 22nd will mark the 3rd anniversary of the World Wellness Weekend, a global initiative aimed at “spreading the well.” This campaign brings together retreat hosts, spas, clinics and hospitality groups across over 100 countries. The goal is to encourage wellness professionals to promote education, services, and activities as a part of an overall effort to improve the minds, bodies and souls of their community members.
The event, founded in 2017 by Brussels-based Jean-Guy de Gabriac, is geared toward “inspiring millions to switch to healthier lifestyles.” While this might seem like a lofty mission, de Gabriac’s team managed to bring together some 2,000 organizations to share in his vision. This figure includes the support of more than 40 professional organizations — such as the International Spa Association and the United Nations Global Sustainability Index Institute — as well as worldwide private vendors who specialize in yoga, meditation, aesthetics, dance, barre, pilates and boot camp studios, 1,175 Massage Envy Clinics, and esteemed spas such as the Terranea Resort in Southern California and Guerlain in Paris. It seems like he’ll be on track for even more next year.
The weekend’s events include many free and discounted activities throughout the world. As a condition of participation in the Weekend, de Gabriac’s team required that venues who want to participate in the global initiative host at least one free event at their venue, if not a full weekend’s worth.
Here’s a mini-rundown of some events around the world if you happen to be in the area:
- In the U.S. this weekend, Massage Envy locations will be offering free activities to boost “vitality, serenity, and wellness”, including free skin analyses, product samples, mini massage treatments, stretch demos, raffles and prizes. See more of what’s happening, and where by clicking here.
- Over 1,400 events will be happening around the country. In Athens, Georgia, check out some of the free offerings, such as a yin yoga class at Fuel Hot Yoga and a 60-min hip-hop pilates class at Center City Ballet & Movement Arts; in Pennysylvania the Wholly Happy Festival will host acupuncturists, herbalists, massage practitioners, physical therapists, artists, cooks, coaches, farmers and more.
- If you’ll be near the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, you can look forward to complimentary yoga classes throughout the month and a special “Daycation” package featuring a full day of wellness activities and treatments.
- In Italy, there will be stand-up paddle-board and forest yoga, yoga with Tibetan bells, a decathlon, and a two-day retreat including martial arts, Vedic astrology and education, Ayurveda, art and philosophy teachings, vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and snail slime treatments, among others.
- Melbourne, Australia, will have free HIIT workouts, yoga classes, and nature walks.
- In Paris, there will be 17 events throughout the city (and 117 in the country), including belly and facial massage workshops, yoga, water aerobics, and fitness classes, beauty and relaxation programming, and makeup and olfactory workshops at the Guerlain Spa, even relaxation tutorials through singing.
- Barcelona will offer a combination of yoga and dance flow class, as well as Temazcal spa and chromotherapy at the Mayan Luxury Spa.
- In Greece the Mitsis Blue Domes Resort & Spa will be offering back-to-back fitness classes all day, and wellness cooking workshops.
- Cryotherapy and forest bathing will be happening in Germany.
- Argentina will host a full wellness festival including yoga, meditation, painting workshops, talks about alternative therapies and self-help tools and roller-skating tours of Buenos Aires.
- There will be 153 events in Brazil alone, including mindfulness and conscious eating, psychology, nutrition tutorials and more.
For more events throughout the world, visit World Wellness Weekend’s site to register and explore all the participating venues and their offerings.
If You Can’t Make It, Go DIY-Style
If you won’t be near any of the participating venues this weekend, you can always create your own “World Wellness Weekend” staycation at home. Or, if you will be on the road, do it in your hotel room.
Here are a few practices ideal for creating your own ‘oasis of wellness’ no matter where you are.
Get Adequate Sleep
We hear this message time and time again, but with good reason: sleep is critical to staving off chronic diseases and improving brain function and resilience. The body repairs the heart and blood vessels during sleep, regulates blood sugar and hormone levels, boosts muscle mass and repairs cells, and increases immune functionality. According to NIH, “ Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.”
To maximize your body’s regenerative activity during sleep, aim for 7-8 hours per day as adults, keep your room quiet, cool and dark (and free of electronic devices such as cellphones and TV or computer screens) and avoid shifting your going-to-bed and waking hours by more than one hour daily.
You can also employ natural techniques such as lavender oil to increase restfulness. The essential oil has been shown to curb depression, anxiety, insomnia and migraine pain. It also increases slow-wave sleep.
Dab some on your temples, wrists or neck at bedtime, add to a nightly bath or diffuser, or try a candle with similar scents. Here are two great options for essential oils and candles, which are perfect for taking on trips and having at home. I’m a particular fan of the lavender blend as it has eucalyptus and coconut as well. (P.S. Lavender and vanilla have been shown to up your endorphin production, so apply these scents whenever you can).
Set aside 10 to 15 minutes per day to meditate, and you’ll be amazed at the results. Consistent meditation has been found to shrink the part of the brain that regulates stress and anxiety. This habit also lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, slows the aging process, boosts creativity, increases body satisfaction, improves cognition, and even reduces implicit age and race bias.
I’m a fan of the app, Stop, Breathe and Think, as I’m a big data nerd and need the reinforcement of seeing trends in my personal progress, which it tracks with my feedback. The app also suggests meditations to suit my current state — from rough to great — on any given day, as well as yoga and acupressure videos. It has 34 free guided meditations, and you can choose a male or female voice to accompany your mindfulness journey.
Get The Blood Pumping
My team and I at Travelous spend a lot of time on the road, so we’ve worked hard to hack our wellness routines no matter where we are. On long trips, I pack a travel gym kit, such as the pocket monkii, or a super-thin yoga mat like Jade’s Yoga's, which fits into my luggage and doesn’t add any significant weight.
Try also adding .05mg of peppermint essential oil to your pre-workout drink or water. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that the “oil improved exercise performance, respiratory function, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory gas exchange and reduced resting blood pressure and heart rate. The amount of total work performed by the test subjects was increased by a whopping 51%, including an increase in the time to exhaustion of about 25%.” I like the organic one from Public Goods as well.
Take a hint from the spa professionals and do an herbal steam facial at home. I love adding eucalyptus essential oil to the water to open up my nasal passages and improve respiratory function. I do the steam facial prior to a short meditation, which improves stress reduction by employing deep breathing, setting the tone for a relaxing day.
After the meditation I do an at-home mask about once per week. Cikipedia has two great recipes that you can create on your own with easily-sourced ingredients.
The Bottom Line
Take some time for yourself this weekend, even if it’s only an hour. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you. You can even expect to boost productivity levels at work, increase engagement, and boost morale among your co-workers by instituting your own wellness regiment. Your boss might just show their appreciation by boosting your paycheck.