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August is National Wellness Month.

This little-known holiday, established by Live Love Spa in 2018, was created to inspire us to focus on our wellness and self-care daily.

When we prioritize wellness, we commit to becoming the very best version of ourselves.

It is the non-negotiable foundation for a full and fulfilling life.

What Is Wellness?

The World Health Organization defines wellness as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Wellness is a way of living. It’s a lifestyle responsive to all the dimensions of body, mind, and spirit and an approach to life designed to achieve our highest potential for well-being.

Wellness is not just about getting a massage or a facial every once in a while. Instead, think of wellness as a full circle that touches all aspects of your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being—from plant-based eating and physical movement to meditation and deep breathing.

Wellness: A Centuries-Old Tradition

Since ancient times, scientists and philosophers have discussed wellness and the importance of balancing the body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurveda, which dates back 5000 years to ancient India, is a doctrine that believes a wide range of subjects (health, spirituality, politics, and art) influence our health. The Ayurvedic treatment is therefore based on various approaches, including a balanced diet, herbal medicine, massage, yoga, meditation, and regular exercise.

Similarly, traditional Chinese medicine (3000-2000 BC) uses many therapies, including acupuncture and herbal medicine. With its roots in Taoism, traditional Chinese medicine’s comprehensive goal is to restore the proper flow of the life energy “Qi” to bring the body back into balance.

The ancient Greeks also talked about wellness in a larger context. In 500 BC, Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician, was one of the first to focus on preventing illness (rather than its treatment), arguing that disease results from diet, lifestyle, and the environment.

The Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato echoed this theme, writing frequently about the importance of self-care and self-reflection for a rich and healthy life.

Later in the 3rd century, the Roman baths were first introduced, the world’s original wellness spas that fostered health and social connection.

During the 19th century in the US and Europe, an impressive tapestry of intellectual movements, spiritual philosophies, and medical practices such as homeopathy, chiropractic, osteopathy, and naturopathy laid the groundwork for today’s wellness movement.

Here’s How You Can Celebrate National Wellness Month

Here are 12 specific ways you can celebrate National Wellness Month:

  1. Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is a simple and powerful way to improve your overall well-being. Water intake affects cognitive function, energy levels, skin health, and weight management.
  2. Sleep. When you sleep, the body restores itself, promoting tissue and cellular repair, boosting your immune system, and regulating hormones. A good night’s sleep also improves your mental focus and reduces stress.
  3. Spend time outside. Spending time in nature can improve your memory, lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost your mood.
  4. Unplug for an hour. Anne Lamott once said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Taking a break from social media, turning off the phone and computers, and simply “being” is a wonderful way to restore balance.
  5. Relax with essential oils. Relaxation with essential oils reduces stress, relaxes muscles, decreases anxiety, and improves sleep quality.
  6. Try a new fitness activity. Celebrate National Wellness Month by taking a new class at the gym or experimenting with a new outdoor activity like paddle boarding or kayaking.
  7. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness activities (meditation, mindful breathing, body scanning) focus on the present and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness lowers stress, improves sleep, enhances mental clarity, and boosts concentration.
  8. Say three things you love about yourself. Since acknowledging your positive qualities builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, this simple practice is an excellent way to boost your overall wellness.
  9. Laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It strengthens your immune system, releases endorphins, and diminishes pain. Laughter is also the universal language that connects people. And social connection is crucial for your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
  10. Organize a closet or space. Organizing a messy room or a drawer is a great way to reduce stress and enhance mental clarity.
  11. Write in a gratitude journal. Never underestimate the power of gratitude! Expressing and cultivating gratitude has been linked with higher self-esteem, improved physical health, stronger mental clarity, and increased happiness.
  12. Cook a new plant-based recipe. What better way to celebrate National Wellness Month than by preparing some new plant-based dishes?

These recipes can inspire you to get started:

 Here’s An Easy Way to Embrace Wellness All Year Long

Wellness is at the heart of the Plant-Based Life Foundation. We are dedicated to empowering people to live happier and healthier lives through positive habit change, including adopting a plant-centered diet and developing daily wellness practices.

We understand that wellness goes “beyond the plate.” While eating plant-based foods is incredibly powerful, it is essential to embrace the entire “wellness circle” and develop healthy habits related to all aspects of your life: diet, physical activity, stress management, restorative sleep, and healthy relationships.

Our Life Lab 360 program is designed to help you achieve all that, combining emotional mastery, positive habit change, and nutritional know-how. If you want to know more, you can join the waitlist here.

In the end, wellness isn’t just a one-month national holiday.

It is a philosophy and way of life.

 We would love to help you on that journey.

Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD

President & CEO, Plant-Based Life Foundation | Dr. Rosane Oliveira combines a lifelong passion for nutrition with 25 years of genetics research to create programs that help people develop healthy habits on their journey towards a more plant-based lifestyle. She is a Visiting Clinical Professor in Public Health Sciences and was the founding director of the first Integrative Medicine program at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She completed her postgraduate studies in Brazil and did her postdoctoral training in immunogenetics and functional genomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.