There’s a burgeoning backlash against the wellness industry for the pressure it places on individuals to adopt wellness practices. Anti-ageing is one such practice, as is weight loss. Critics say the wellness drive adds yet more ‘activities’ to one’s to-do list. Another criticism is that it is exclusionary in nature as it is only the privileged who have access to many such activities. Those resisting the expectations to change oneself urge people to focus on self-acceptance instead. Madonna made headlines recently at the Grammys with her face looking like she had had extensive plastic surgery. People criticised her for trying too hard to remain young. But it should also be noted that there was pushback against this view, with supporters saying people who seek out anti-ageing measures should not be judged.
Why is it important?
Critics say there are enough expectations placed on people by society already and that the concept of wellness should be communicated as a nice-to-have rather than being pushed as necessary. There’s also a danger of such practices constituting a semi-obligatory work task and this has the potential to cause undue stress. According to the World Health Organization, globally, an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety and approximately 280 million people in the world have depression. ‘Pro-ageing’ is an alternative approach to ageing: it encourages individuals to view the ageing process in a positive manner, allowing people to be more at ease with themselves.
What can businesses do about it?
Companies are widely advised to offer wellness benefits to their employees. This is seen as advantageous as supporting the health of staff – mental or otherwise – is beneficial both to staff and the business itself. However it should be executed in a considered way that doesn’t oblige employees to participate. An example of this is the recent pushback against mandatory fun activities in the workplace. Many employees want to spend their out-of-office time with their family and friends instead of engaging in after-hours wellness or recreational activities.
By Faeeza Khan
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