On Saturday, June 13th, the world is coming together to celebrate the ninth annual Global Wellness Day. I am honored to have spoken at the first Global Wellness Day in 2012, at the Richmond Nua Spa in Sapanca, Turkey, when it was launched by Global Wellness Day (GWD) founder, Belgin Aksoy.
“We were 150 people celebrating Global Wellness Day back in 2012,” says Aksoy. “It’s a complete joy to see how a simple wish of one person can grow from 150 people to 150 countries. The goal is to keep working until there is not one single person left in the world that does not know about Global Wellness Day,” she continues.
Aksoy came up with the idea to dedicate a day to honor wellness and raise awareness of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle after she recovered from thyroid cancer at age 29. With a seven-step manifesto--walk for an hour, drink more water, don’t use plastic bottles, eat healthy food, do a good deed, have a family dinner with your loved ones, go to sleep at 10 pm--the purpose of the not-for-profit Global Wellness Day, according to Aksoy, is for each of us to ask the question, even if just for one day, “How can I live a healthier and better life?”
In previous years, Global Wellness Day celebrations--workshops, workouts, lectures, nutritional counseling, and more, all complimentary--took place in parks, hotels, spas, hospitals, public and private spaces around the world. Last year, the US celebration was kicked off by Oprah and Gayle King. Megan Markle and Prince Harry chose GWD as one of their supported charities that year.
This year, of course, things are a bit different. Global Wellness Day (GWD) will be celebrated on Saturday, June 13th 2020, via a 24-hour livestream celebration from sunrise to sunset around the globe. The unique, new, 24-hour online GWD celebration will showcase celebrity performances and an ongoing range of presentations--all at no charge--ranging from yoga to dance, astrology to nutrition and Muay Thai exercises to plant forward cooking classes. It will be available through the Global Wellness Day’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
Those featured will include Reba McEntire, Lance Bass, Cristina Ferrare, plant-forward chef, Matthew Kenney, Celebrity Yogi Andrew Sealy, Leading Astrologer Zahara Zimring, Energy Healer Jeannette von Johnsbach, Portuguese Yoga Instructor Emilie Mangoni, Portuguese Nordic Walk Instructor Linda Bettencourt, Turkish writer and motivational speaker Metin Hara, World Champion and Professional Muay Thai athlete Janice Lyn, Thai Traditional Medicine practitioner Dr. Panaran Polkadee, and record holder and base jumper Cengiz Kocak who will perform a live cliff wingsuit jump.
Global Wellness Day has become even more relevant now, in the shadow of the global pandemic. “If we don’t understand the importance of wellness this year, I’m afraid we won’t be able to understand it when the next global pandemic hits,” says Aksoy. “I think what we’ve been trying to underscore–our mission--has never made more sense.
“We’ve probably all gone through the Kubler Ross stages of grief – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance–inside our houses for the last 2.5 months,” she continues. “Now is the time to accept the situation; make a new plan and move on. But, this time, the core of the plan has to be, you must have wellness in your life – physical, mental and spiritual.
"True wellness means having balance in your mind, soul and heart," says Aksoy. "If you love yourself; you take care of yourself.” And that brings us right back to Global Wellness Day.