“The past year has given us the opportunity to take a step back and really think about life and how we want to live it.” reflects Belgin Aksoy, Founder, Global Wellness Day. “Never has Global Wellness Day’s message of One Day Can Change Your Whole Life been more meaningful.” This year marks a milestone for Belgin and the GWD family of over 130 volunteer Ambassadors, Key Supporters, and Advisors—it’s the 10-year anniversary of Global Wellness Day—and will be celebrated Saturday, June 12th in a 12-hour gratis livestream across six continents.
What is Global Wellness Day’s most significant accomplishment; what are you most proud of?
Working day and night to spread wellness, and in the end, seeing Global Wellness Day embraced by so many people around the world. Having the Global Wellness Day flag reach the Mt. Everest Summit—a climb I will never be able to make—or seeing a bridge built in the “No Man’s Land” border of Thailand and Myanmar—a place I will never have a chance to visit. Having aid missions organized for the disadvantaged, having support from Presidents to mayors, from schools to hospitals, from world-renowned business people to Hollywood stars and Royal Families, and much more. It is because of the extraordinary Global Wellness Day Family of 130, we are touching the hearts of millions, causing a chain reaction in people’s everyday life that probably adds years to their lives.
“The fundamental purpose of Global Wellness Day is to make us aware of the value of our lives . . . “—Belgin Aksoy
How do you believe the consumer perception of wellness has changed in the past 10 years?
I am a strong advocate of the understanding that living well is the simple necessity for every human being on the planet, and I am repeating since a decade that wellness is not a luxury but the inherent right of every individual. In the past “wellness” was perceived more as a pampering trend rather than a necessity but, the pandemic has proved to the entire world that wellness is truly needed and not just a simple trend.
What is your biggest challenge with Global Wellness Day?
The biggest challenge I faced in all GWD celebrating countries was to make certain communities of the societies aware of the “wellness” concept. Yes, today due to the pandemic the concept of wellness has gained more awareness, but is often confused with terms like health, wellbeing, and happiness.
While there are common elements among them, wellness is distinguished by not referring to a static state of being (i.e., being happy, in good health, or a state of wellbeing). Rather, wellness is associated with an active process of being aware and making choices that lead toward an outcome of optimal holistic health and wellbeing. It is important to know that wellness is multidimensional; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental.
Many are well-aware that eating healthy and doing physical activities is a great way to live well, but many people still think that wellness is only for the elite and that it can’t be reached easily. In this context, the fundamental purpose of Global Wellness Day is to make us aware of the value of our lives; even if it’s for one day of the year, to make us stop and think, to get away from the stress of city living and our bad habits, and thereby find peace within ourselves.
How do you stay well?
I love getting up early in the morning. It is now scientifically proven that a good quality sleep is very important, especially sleeping in a dark room between 10.00 pm and 3.00 am; it helps regenerate cells and releases the growth hormone.
Early in the morning, I do 40 minutes of cardio on an empty stomach and then 15 minutes of quiet time for self-reflection—the most precious moments of my day. When we reflect and listen to ourselves, we may be disturbed by the things we hear and we may want to run away, but it is not possible to solve anything without confronting them.
I’ve been feeding myself vegan for four years and 90 percent of the time I do not consume packaged, processed foods or refined sugar. I prefer dates, prunes, or dried figs. After a colorful breakfast, I go to the office which is like my second home, because I truly love what I do.
I love being in nature, I find my balance and peace there. My favorites are hiking, walking, climbing, forest bathing, and lately tandem paragliding. At home, instead of watching TV, I prefer to spend most of my time with my son or reading a book. I use natural and organic products for my skincare routine and drink lots of water and herbal teas.
I have a life in which there is definitely room for exercise and time for myself, and I don’t consider spending time for myself a luxury. If I’m not well then I’m of no use to anyone. I love having time with my family and friends. I stay away from sugar-coated fakers and cherish real, pure hearts and souls.
Mary Bemis is Founder & Editorial Director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a pioneering spa journalist, most recently honored as one of the "Top 30 Influential Voices Transforming Wellness." She is an inaugural recipient of Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and was honored by ISPA with its distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.
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