Accessibility, Privilege, and the Wellness Community

I’ve been thinking a lot the last couple days about privilege, accessibility, and the wellness community.

I think there are two very valid and real sides to this story, and I think the first step to greater understanding is more discussion and openness so that both sides can see the validity of the other side, do what they can to help the other side, and also so we can see each other as HUMAN.

On one hand, I think we as a community have a lot of work to do as far as emphasizing that wellness is not about aesthetics: pretty workout clothes, expensive supplements and fancy superfoods, trendy workout classes, developing a body that looks just so, etc.

Wellness is as simple as eating whatever veggies you have access to and going for a long walk. Self care is as simple as scheduling regular doctors appointments, practicing basic hygiene, and doing what you can for your mental health.

I think the wellness community can often feel exclusive because while yes, it is a HUGE privilege to even have time to worry about your health, it’s often made to seem like if you’re not investing in these luxury goods, you’re not doing health right. And I think that is total crap and that often these exclusive luxury goods can even be a distraction from true health seeking.

But on the other hand, I think we need to be cognizant that workers in the healthcare industry are doing what they can to help people and spread valuable information. I cannot offer personal training or health coaching at $20 a session. I simply cannot make ends meet that way; there has been years of schooling and research that goes into each of my sessions that is implicit in the cost. There is a person behind every service we buy and products made by small businesses too. I would love to be able to go to acupuncture/a massage/therapy etc. every week or even multiple times a week. These things are expensive, yes, but they are priced that way for a reason; they have value, and the practitioners I go to have extensive education and practice. When I cannot afford them, I simply say, this is not for me right now, and I will focus more on foam rolling or meditating etc.

To use another example, there are many jewelers on Instagram whose work I follow, whose jewelry is often completely outside of my budget except in the special-est of special occasions, when I decide that I will make investing in their work that brings me so much joy a priority. I am not angry that their work is often outside of my budget; I am happy that they are creating beauty and that I have the occasional privilege to invest in their hard work. I am not upset that they can’t or won’t make their goods for cheaper so that I can always afford them; I am simply happy that they are able to continue to create quality work and support themselves off of their craft.

I think this problem lies on both sides of the issue, and I think the first solution is just to talk about it more.

Those in the wellness industry need to talk more about the basics and focus less on the flashy luxury goods/services. We need to be more open and honest about the reality that wellness isn’t all just glitz and glam. I try to provide what information I can for free on Instagram, Facebook, and my blog, as well as occasional free workshops etc. I also openly admit that regular personal training and health coaching is not for everyone and try to do what I can to give people useful information in a single session when that is all that will work in their budget.

And I think we all need to realize that there is a PERSON on the other side of an interaction when we complain about the costs or say we wish things were priced differently or we only had to pay if we got results etc.

We all need to be a little better about seeing the reality behind social media and realize that some things just aren’t for us financially, and that is OKAY. It doesn’t mean we are less than or not really dedicated to our health and well-being.

The media can be so good at turning us against each other instead of being happy for each other wherever we happen to be in our respective journeys. We are all humans just doing our best, and it is important to release what is not for us and embrace other humans at whatever stage of their journey they are in.

Thanks for reading, and please, join in the conversation and send me your thoughts!


P.S. Also, while I’m on the subject, we have our last discussion-based BeYOUtiful You meeting of the year (we will be doing a hike and then a workout for the next two) this Saturday the 13th in the acac Albemarle Square Conference Room at 12:15pm. This group is COMPLETELY FREE. We will be talking about rest and recovery, and this group is open to EVERYONE. Shoot me a message if you are interested in coming.

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About Ellen

Every body is a good body, and my goal is to help you feel your best!