It’s National Wellness Month, a time to focus on mental, physical and emotional well-being — or “caring for the whole you,” as the USPS Health and Wellness team defines the term on LiteBlue. Here are six facts about this wraparound concept of health:
1. The idea isn’t new. The Global Wellness Institute dates the idea of wellness to roughly 3,000 B.C. with the introduction of traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture, herbs, tai chi) and India’s ayurveda (based on body type, yoga and meditation), two disciplines that take a holistic view of health.
2. Its focus has evolved over time. The word first shows up in the English language in the 1650s as an antonym for illness. Today the term contains multitudes, evolving to cover almost all aspects of mind, body and spirit. Some expand its boundaries even further, applying it to finances, the environment and more.
3. It’s a big business. The wellness industry was valued at $4.4 trillion worldwide in 2019, and is expected to grow to $6 trillion by 2025. In fact, National Wellness Month was created in 2018 by an industry group, Live Love Spa.
4. And business has embraced it. There were one-off workplace health programs as far back as the 19th century, and gym amenities for executives in the 1950s. But corporate wellness really took root in the 1970s after the establishment of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and grew rapidly in the late 1980s. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about half of all employers offer such programs today.
5. Wellness plans abound on the internet. Do a search for “X days of wellness” — 20, 30 or 90, for example — and you’ll come up with a plan, often in the form of a “challenge,” in any number of areas. These can be general or specific, as in mental, physical, emotional and financial challenges.
6. USPS takes wellness seriously. The Postal Service holds wellness webinars, challenges and topical programs throughout the year. The USPS Wellness LiteBlue page has more information.