According to the National Wellness Institute, wellness is “An active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more prosperous existence”. This definition has three parts:
- Wellness is considered a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving full potential.
- Wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment.
- It is positive and affirming.
Sherando Feffil, CEO of Yaad Bridge, hosted the last segment of the Open University series during Reggae Month. The conversation focused on spiritual, physical, and emotional wellness for creatives.
Recording artist Sevana, Social Impact Strategist Tavia Benjamin, Lifestyle Transformation Consultant Tehuti Maat, and Kenrese Carter, a clinical nutritionist, were guests.
Mental Wellness & the Impact of COVID
“Wellness is what it means to an individual,” began Kenrese. Thus, the phrase has multiple meanings.
Like other artists, Sevana described the negative impact COVID-19 had on her mental wellness. In part, this resulted from the restrictions imposed throughout COVID-19. She spoke to feelings of loneliness and dread at not freely working like she used to before COVID.
Strategies for Creatives Maintaining Wellness
Tavia used different coping mechanisms like gardening and farming to cope with challenges during COVID-19. “During that time, I found it was more important what I fed myself [mind] since there was so much information out there”, she added. Tavia, also a poet, used her time to write additional poems.
Nutrition plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining a state of wellness. Tehuti, a naturalist, guides his clients to achieve holistic health by addressing and establishing balance in all areas of their lives. Tehuti describes his passion for nature as “having a very intense attraction and appreciation for nature”.
Supporting Your Way to Staying Fit
Kenrese described a Jamaican culture where individuals are fearful to admit mental unwellness. Statements such as “walk it off” or “you’re gonna be ok” may sometimes be the response provided.
Sevana noted that she found that sometimes it is not acceptable to share your state of wellness with event organizers. The artist receives payment, therefore, show up. No matter what! She related a personal experience of feeling burnt out three-quarters of the way while preparing for a show overseas. She did not think that the organizers would welcome her state of being. Other panel members agreed. Expectations are for the artist to “do it anyway” regardless of their lack of ‘fitness’.
Importantly, Tehuti noted that most of the clients he serves battle with a lack of self-love. He thinks people will start taking better care of themselves once they start loving themselves.
Based on previous work with creatives, Kenrese shares that she recommends two things creatives can do to change their state outside of nutrition. They should play the correct type of music and get their body moving. Kenrese pointed out that especially for creatives, “No matter how you feel; facts over feelings. Make the time to move your body”. Individuals need to have an overall healthy mindset. Someone can be super fit, however, lack of sleep or unhealthy eating practices, result in unwellness. Tavia agreed that physical movement affects her mental state. The mind changes with exercise.
Tehuti engages his clients in a holistic wellness approach towards achieving health in the whole person. His practice considers their body, mind and spirit. He believes the human body isn’t designed to be sedentary, but for movement.