What is Wellness
The definition of Wellness has evolved, or some might say morphed, over the last thirty years. Whether you define it as the mind, body, & spirit's integration with our natural environment or taking responsibility for your own health (active participation), the wellness movement is here to stay.
Taking responsibility for your health means paying attention to all healthy lifestyle components. To do that, you must know what they are. Here is a list that most agree should be included.
· Physical: Taking care of your body includes exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
· Mental: Engaging the world through learning, problem-solving, creativity, etc.
Over the past ten years, scientists have uncovered many of the brain's secrets. Some of the long-held beliefs have fallen by the wayside. For example, it was long thought that brain cells, and neurons, couldn't be increased. The assumption was that you had a finite number, and you experienced a net loss when they died. The discovery of neural elasticity has replaced that belief. Scientists have found that the nervous system can change its activity in response to trauma and stimulation by reorganizing its structure, functions, or connections. Neurons are like the body's other cells. They replicate themselves. And, even more exciting, you can help the process. Physical exercise is one of your best protections and tools for brain health and growth. And using your brain by reading and staying socially active helps as well. Getting enough sleep and eating well helps immensely.
· Emotional: Being aware of, accepting, expressing our feelings, and understanding the feelings of others. Emotional well-being is a vital part of Wellness. In the mental section, we defined homeostasis. Remaining mentally balanced and grounded contributes massively to a happy life. It is crucial to develop a strong self-image and the self-worth that comes with it. The world can be challenging, and we all live through our highs and lows. Psychologists have tried to understand and recommend the best methods to become emotionally secure for more than a century. Rather than attempt a comprehensive evaluation in this article, I encourage you to seek and read some of the many good books on the subject. A good starting place is my book, The Hero Inside You, available on Amazon in print, kindle, and audiobook forms.
· Spiritual: Searching for meaning and a higher purpose in human existence. Finding your place in the world is something we all must do. Whether you pursue one of the organized religions or find peace and purpose in your solitude, finding your comfortable relationship with nature, society, and your greater environment will bring you comfort. As the Greek philosopher, Socrates said so many centuries ago, know yourself. Be strong in your efforts to discover your likes and dislikes. Don't follow a path you hate because it is expected of you. Learn who you are and what you like. Then, listen to that little voice inside you and follow your path.
· Social: Connecting and engaging with others and our communities in meaningful ways is an essential component of Wellness. Humans are social creatures. We are wired to rely on each other. Science has discovered that socializing will stave off loneliness, improve cognitive abilities, strengthen memory, and combat depression. Besides those quantifiable effects, socializing add joy to life. Life is better when shared with friends and family.
· Environmental: Fostering positive interrelationships between planetary health and human actions, choices and wellbeing relate directly to one another. Learning to live in unison with the environment will give you comfort. What does this mean? Some people like the heat while others like the cold. Find what suits your best and put down stakes. Remember, your preferences can change as you age. Keep an open mind, find what works for you, and immerse yourself in it. The new science of epigenetics documents that your environment can turn specific genes on and off. That means the environment you place yourself in affects you on a cellular level. We've all felt we fit in some places better than others. Now science has quantified the feeling. The more scientists learn, the more they discover the environmental effect on your health.
Weight control is a primary concern for healthy living.
One in three Americans have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. Over half of Americans are considered obese and spend 30 billion dollars annually pursuing weight loss. And Americans spend 2.5 trillion dollars on healthcare per year—more than any country in the world. Only 13% of Americans exercise. Diet advice is everywhere. Research what works for you and commit to staying at a healthy weight. Here are a few books that might help you:
Wellness has also been defined as practicing healthy habits daily to attain better physical and mental health outcomes so that instead of just surviving, you're thriving.
No matter what the definition of Wellness is today, the trend is toward every individual taking personal responsibility for their health. The Wellness movement has picked up momentum over the last twenty years. As seen above, statistics bear this out. The advent of the age of the Internet has given people the power to instantly research medical conditions as well as discover the myriad of studies describing healthy ways of taking control over their health.
Spas and Resorts Retail Opportunities
Spas and Resorts have not been considered retail dynamos. Why? The most obvious reason is their focus on delivering services and not selling products. Service providers target excellence in their services rather than any retail products they offer. The second, less apparent reason is that there aren't enough people circulating through their business to support retail. This statement might catch some off guard since it seems they are busy handling the people processing through the day. While it is true that service providers stay busy, the volume of people they serve doesn't compare with retail operations. The reason is that service providers sell their time and book their services in one-half or hourly blocks. They have a finite number of hours to sell. Once they are fully booked, there's no room for more people. The same is true for a Resort. There are a limited number of room nights to sell. Once they are occupied, more can't be sold. Contrast the number of people spas and resorts process to the number walking into retail stores in malls or big box stores. Retail typically depends on volume. Though the focus on services and lack of volume are impediments, there are still opportunities to increase revenues with retail.
Spas have an excellent opportunity to add to their bottom line with retail sales. Since spas deliver intimate, quasi-medical services, their massage therapists, skin care professionals, nail techs, and cosmetologists develop strong bonds with their clients/guests. Trust is a significant factor in the relationship between the two. Therefore recommendations for products go a long way with their customers. But these professionals resist selling products because they don't want to be seen as pushy. They don't consider themselves salespeople. They fear alienating their clients with sales pitches. In addition to fear of seeming pushy, they resist suggesting products that might not live up to the manufacturer's claims. They fear their clients seeing their recommendations as ill-informed, thus breaking the trust bond between them. An aesthetician who recommends an anti-aging skin cream has to face a potential confrontation with that client at their next appointment about the product's poor performance. Spa professionals often avoid making recommendations rather than risk their clients' disappointment. So, how do you overcome these obstacles?
You can create additional spa traffic by creating spa-scented in-room amenities. Choosing a scent native to the resort/spa's location is the best bet. For example, a magnolia-scented fragrance might work if you are in Atlanta. Or, if you have multiple locations, choose something like honeysuckle, which grows throughout the United States. Some resort guests will love the product and the scent and want to purchase it. That leads them to the spa. The next step is to have a mix of products in the spa's retail area that makes sense for your location. For example, you may want wool scarves, gloves for northern states, and flip-flops for warmer climates. Logo’d shirts and hats are always winners. They are great souvenirs for visitors. Also, offer a range of prices for the guests to choose from in your retail selection. Always have a twenty to twenty-five dollar selection for your guests. Jewelry is another solid option to offer. Offer a carefully chosen selection of fine and costume jewelry. Chains and necklaces, and bracelets will be your best choices. Of course, you will always have your skincare line available for purchase. Encourage our aesthetic professionals to write prescriptions for their clients. Also, place the suggested items in a small basket ready at checkout for the guest. No more than three products so as not to overwhelm the guest.
Your front desk staff is usually busy when guests check in and out with time on their hands between. So, they are perfect team members to explain the products and answer questions. You can also place QR Codes on each product so the guests can scan them and learn more. Be creative.
Select products for your resort’s store that fit your location. Hats, shirts, sunglasses, sun protection are a few items that you should offer. The selection depends on the type of guests that visit your property.
Creativity is the key to success. Test products and see what works.
Wellness, Hospitality, and the Traveling Public
Expectations for the traveling public have changed. According to the McKinsey Global Institute's 2021 report, consumers' priorities altered due to the Covid pandemic. Though consumer products remain a critical element of the wellness market, services are on the rise. Non-invasive cosmetic procedures and products, nutrition, mindfulness, and prioritizing health considerations have changed consumers buying decisions. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the travel future looks bright. PwC surveyed thirteen thousand US travelers in mid-2021, compared the results to previous surveys, and reached several conclusions.
1. While price remains a factor, health and safety figure prominently in travelers' decisions. PwC found that consumers are willing to spend more on travel for more excellent accommodations and stay longer.
2. The survey revealed that travelers believe brand-name hotels are safer than short-term rental properties. Safety concerns make them more likely to stay at higher-end properties.
3. Travelers want more options and greater flexibility in their travel decisions. Creating a unique experience matters. Travelers prefer personalized travel experiences to provide the right combination of rest and adventure. Rest means peace of mind that their hotel is providing for their safety.
4. Travelers are reassessing which brands they will remain loyal to.
As you can see, the study reveals the traveling public's ever-increasing focus on safety when making travel decisions. Hotels and resorts that offer wellness options have a distinct advantage in consumers' eyes. Spas and well-equipped fitness centers are essential to attract these savvy travelers.
These are some major trends to look for during 2022 and beyond.
• increased interest in immune health - One out of three global consumers reported they were more concerned about immune health than before the pandemic started.
• Intellectual wellness - Intellectual wellness encourages one to explore new concepts, enhance skills, and challenge the mind through continuous learning. Fun ways to exercise this dimension of wellness include mentally stimulating activities
• Mental wellness is a top priority - Half of America (49%) agreed that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental well-being—with women more likely to feel this than men. The pandemic appears to have had a more significant impact on Gen Z and millennials than older generations—as 57% of Gen Z, and 53% of millennials reported the pandemic negatively affected their mental health versus 37% of younger boomers.
• Stress Reduction – Stress remained a significant health concern for Americans and was only heightened by the pandemic. Many consider stress as the primary health crisis they face.
• Fitness – More than 70% of people surveyed stated fitness levels were high priority in the coming years.
Spas offer various services tailored for travelers seeking wellness—one of the primary factors compromising health. Stress affects everyone contributing to a large number of problems. Here is a partial list:
· Heart Disease – Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which studies have found to increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. These are common risk factors for heart disease.
· A 2019 study discovered that stress hormones increase the number of cells in tumors. That could mean that stress not only wakes dormant tumor cells but also provides the right environment for them to grow.
· Stress increases the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from microglia in the brain and macrophages in the blood. Inflammation contributes to aging and compromised immune systems.
This list could go on and on. But, it's not necessary since most people know how stress affects them. They lose sleep, experience brain fog, and fight constant fatigue. Spas provide a sanctuary from stress allowing a traveler to regroup away from stressful interruptions and demands.
Spas also administer life-supporting treatments, approaching the body holistically. Massage slows heart rate, calms nerves, and removes toxins from the body. Facials are not only relaxing, but they also improve skin health. When most people think of wellness, they don't automatically include hair and nail care in the picture, not so with spa professionals. They know that self-image's vital role in mental wellness is crucial. Surely we'd all like to look like movie stars, but that's not the role spa/salons play. Instead, they help you put your best foot forward, looking the way you want. Perfectly manicured nails and hairstyles suitable for each help everyone be more comfortable in their skin. Confidence oozes from the presenter when they know they look their best at a group meeting.
When meeting, planners choose a property to host events, spas, and salon access figures at the top of their decision-making process. Even the casual traveler wants convenient access to these services.
Spas and Salons' focus on wellness and self-image also benefits the Resort's other staff members. Healthy habits filter from the spa into the general staff of the Resort. The effect is a more professional look and attitude of all who work at the Resort.
Wellness hits the bottom line. A survey by the World Tourism Association found that over 24% of travelers would be "extremely likely to book a wellness vacation when considering their traveling plans." Not only did those travelers acknowledge their preference for properties with a wellness component, but 78% indicated they had already included wellness-specific activities in their travel itineraries.
This trend toward wellness was growing every year before Covid hit the world. Now it's a significant factor in traveling consumers' choice of where to book and how long to stay.
Wellness and Self Image
Shoring up self-image is essential to complete holistic wellness. While knowing who you are and where you fit in the world's bigger picture has always been important, in today's world of social media, it's easy to get lost.
Humans have always lived in a social hierarchy. In the early days, the pecking order of the tribe was clear, and everyone knew their place. Roles were clearly laid out. Survival day to day drove people's daily thoughts and actions. Everyone had a job to do to bring value to the tribe. Hunter-gatherers depended on each other as they scratched out a living fighting the vagaries of the weather and natural disasters. Once people began farming and raising animals, the family became the center of purpose. Families grew in size as children provided the labor necessary to work the farm and raise the animals. The industrial revolution, which began in England in the mid-1800s, lured people off the farm and into cities to pursue a better life. Hierarchies changed due to the city dwellers' diverse backgrounds. Finding your place in the hierarchy became more difficult. Personal appearance occupies a more significant role in daily life. Socially acceptable clothing sent signals as to which class a person belonged to. Fashion, from hairstyles to footwear, sent powerful messages to other members of the hierarchy. Though the pool of people was large, it was a finite group. The citizens of each city judged a person.
Then, movies hit the scene. Now people compare themselves to actors on the big screen. This development puts more pressure on enhancing appearance. Now a person was judged by how they reacted to the stars. Television followed, increasing the pressure. Then, magazines with airbrushed images of models and movie stars were added to the mix. But the advent of the internet technology linking the world together ramped up the pressure on everyone. Cell phone pics and videos taken from the perfect angle seem mandatory on Instagram and Facebook. The pressure to look red carpet ready at all times screams at us from screens large and small. There appears to be no end to the increased desire to look "beautiful."
This pressure triggers the fear of not fitting in or being good enough. Fear creates stress igniting the fight or flight survival mechanism in all of us. Stress contributes to a litany of organ malfunctions and disease processes. Managing a healthy self-image is a vital part of the mental aspect of wellness.
Where does beauty fit in the spa industry? Wellness and beauty converge where self-image intersects with self-esteem. In today's world, you are clearly judged by how you look. And there are real-world effects. Studies have shown that attractive people are usually hired sooner, get promotions more quickly, and are paid more than their less-attractive coworkers. They are more confident, which translates into more tremendous success in life. Attractive people earn an average of 3 or 4 percent more than people with below-average looks, according to Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin and author of the book "Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful."
Tending to your appearance leads to more emotional security and makes you more comfortable living inside your skin. Attractiveness is the appearance quality that has received the most attention in research on impressions from faces. Dubbed the 'attractiveness halo,' people with more attractive faces are judged more positively on various dimensions. They are perceived as more outgoing, socially competent and powerful, sexually responsive, intelligent, and healthy (Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani, & Longo, 1991; Feingold, 1992; Langlois et al., 2000; Zebrowitz, Hall, Murphy, & Rhodes, 2002; Zebrowitz & Rhodes, 2004). Moreover, these trait impressions are accompanied by preferential treatment of attractive people in a variety of domains, including interpersonal relations, occupational settings, and the judicial system. (Citation, Zebrowitz, L. A., & Montepare, J. M. (2008). Social Psychological Face Perception: Why Appearance Matters. Social and personality psychology compass, 2(3), 1497. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2008.00109.x) Self-image goes well beyond how people perceive you in business. It also affects your daily interactions. So, no matter where you go, the reaction you get from people depends on how you look. We can all agree that the best strategy is to look your best.
The mental and emotional facet of wellness is as important as the physical. Paying attention to your appearance is an integral part of a total wellness approach to life. Spas offer the perfect outlet for professional advice and services to enhance your appearance. The trained staff have chosen their profession for their passion for making their clients the best versions of themselves. They see hundreds of people keeping them in touch with the latest trends and techniques. These trained professionals also regularly attend training sessions to stay current on the best products and therapies to employ in their daily work life.
Going to a spa to seek advice and treatment is one of the wisest choices you can make for your mental wellness. Not only can you recenter yourself, but you can also improve your self-image and confidence
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