Taking a Deeper Look at How We Define 'Wellness'
Viv for your v is a sustainable feminine products company founded by Katie Diasti, BC alum and panelist at WIN’s 2020 Female Founders Panel. On October 13th, viv hosted a webinar "How to Incorporate Wellness in 2020", featuring three women that join the ranks with Katie as incredible female founders: Alexandra Bonetti of TalentHack, Sadie Kurzban of 305 Fitness, and Sadie Lincoln of Barre3.
To learn more about viv, visit their website at vivforyourv.com or check them out on instagram at @vivforyourv
‘Wellness’ may be the trendy buzzword tied to your favorite boutique fitness studio or cleansing green juice. But what does it actually mean to 'be well'? Three female founders working in the health & wellness industry got real with us at viv’s webinar: How to Incorporate Wellness in 2020, sharing their stories and ultimately tackling the question of what it means to pursue and live in wellness.
Many women are socially or culturally raised to believe that maintaining a certain physical appearance is “the answer” to just about everything, as Sadie Lincoln, co-founder of Barre 3, put it. She explained how she’s had countless encounters with women who have chased ideal appearances in an attempt to become worthy or successful or deemed “enough”, only to arrive at their goal and realize that it actually wasn’t the answer to any of those things. Further, upon reaching these goals, the women failed to actually feel “well”.
Physical appearances tend to focus on the judgements passed by others who see you; I think wellness, on the other hand, focuses on how you see yourself. When we practice wellness we are in tune with our own needs, regardless of how others may perceive them. It is not an act of judgement at all, but an act of acceptance -- as put by Sadie Lincoln, it’s a recognition that “we are enough as we are in our bodies in this very moment” (for anyone who needs that reminder more often: write that quote on a post-it note and hang it on your wall rn!!)
"We are enough as we are in our bodies in this very moment."
- Sadie Lincoln, Co-Founder of Barre3
Sadie Lincoln’s words were echoed by her co-panelist Alexandra Bonetti, founder of TalentHack, who explained how fitness (a common mechanism towards achieving ideal appearances) is only one of many levers into wellness -- others levers may include mental health and nutrition. Likewise, panelist Sadie Kurzban reflected on the fact that just because you are “fit” doesn’t necessarily mean you are “well”.
Sadie Kurzban is the founder of 305 Fitness, a cardio dance workout studio featuring live DJs at every class. I loved loved loved how Sadie explained the strategic messaging 305 uses around their workouts: they’re not about changing bodies, but celebrating them; not transforming people, but accepting them. She reminded us: "There are so many more interesting things about you than what you look like" (another post-it worthy quote!).
"There are so many more interesting things about you than what you look like."
-Sadie Kurzban, Founder of 305 Fitness
I think this same philosophy that Sadie applies to workouts at 305 Fitness can be applied to wellness. Practicing wellness is not about “fixing” ourselves - it’s about honoring, accepting, and loving ourselves.
Alexandra Bonetti clearly adopts the mindset that wellness isn't about looking perfect or being perfect. When asked how she incorporates wellness into her own life, she shared one simple practice she engages with regularly. At the beginning of a week or a month, Alexandra will make a list of all the things that make her feel good, then prioritize the list, then only focus on the top three things. When she first shared this, the perfectionist in me felt a bit shocked - Only focus on the top three things?! What about all the other things on the list! But, quite radically I believe, Alexandra asserted that focusing on only these three things, and not worrying about the rest, set herself up to practice wellness in a few small ways while not feeling bad for not practicing it in some other ways. It transformed wellness into a way of honoring and loving herself, rather than a way of stressing herself out even more by feeling that she “had” to hold herself accountable to doing a million different things.
Hearing these reflections from accomplished women in the wellness industry was huge for me. Wellness should be something that makes us feel good, but I think it’s easy to use it as another way of berating and judging ourselves by not doing “enough”. This webinar led me to take a step back and reconsider how I define and practice wellness in my own life. Instead of looking at myself as someone who needs wellness in order to be “fixed”, I’m making a commitment to seeing myself as someone who deserves to incorporate wellness in her life.
I challenge you to reflect on your own definition of wellness. Could it use some reframing? What will your new wellness commitments be?
- Cara Condodina, WIN Director of Communications and Boston College Class of 2022