Wellness is ore than health care

Author gains insight into the town's new Wellness Awaits You brand.

Dear Editor

There has been ongoing discontent over the new brand: Ashcroft, Wellness Awaits You which was chosen to identify and promote our community. On the surface, this brand appears somewhat nebulous, causing many residents to question why this brand was chosen.

This discontent has been expressed for many reasons, which include limited access to medical care, diagnostic testing and speciality therapies; limited access to exercise facilities; no walking trails for seniors; and a swimming pool that is only open three months out of the year.

Knowing people on both sides if the issue, I thought I would do a little research into how the brand was chosen and what wellness means so that I could form my own opinion.

Initially, I thought the brand was chosen after a few months of consultation with a firm specializing in marketing and branding. However, I learned that it was chosen after more than 10 years of conversations between many dedicated volunteers and community organizations, support groups, merchants, Village council, etc. I was also of the impression that a recommendation was made that we not choose a health-related brand. Again, I learned that is not accurate, that such a recommendation was never made by the consulting firm. So that being cleared up for me, I then dug into the concept of wellness.

I was enlightened and pleased with what I learned on the web. Wellness has traditionally been viewed as freedom from disease; thus, if you were not sick, you were considered well. The most recent concept of wellness describes a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being. Far from being a static state, wellness is active process that is oriented toward maximizing an individual’s potential, promoting health, enhancing quality of life and achieving and maintaining optimum levels of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental well-being.

Wellness, viewed as an active process, helps us become aware of and make choices toward a more successful existence and therefore a healthier and happier lifestyle. In this modern view of wellness, each person has a responsibility to provide for his/her personal essentials such as good nutrition, proper weight control, exercise, stress reduction and controlling of risk factors such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

So while access to quality health care is indeed one major factor in our overall wellness, it is just that – one factor. The secret to attaining and maintaining wellness is not in the availability and quality of medical care, but consistent quality self-care. This view shifts us from “what can someone do for me?” to “what can I do for myself?”.

Over my life I have suffered numerous broken bones, muscular injuring and other conditions including a serious heart attack eight years ago, which for a while slowed me down and reduced my overall life satisfaction. Thank goodness, now the ball in back in my court. I use this tennis analogy because taking up tennis, yoga, Nordic walking, gym classes, and swimming are some of the many lifestyle choices I have made since retiring to become well and to maintain an overall state of well-being.

As I have listed above areas of wellness opportunities that we are lacking in Ashcroft, the next logical step would be to develop a comprehensive list of all the health and wellness opportunities we do have. However this pursuit would be folly because we have so many that the list would be too long to print.

Perhaps by now you are getting the picture I am painting here. We have a pretty good life in Ashcroft. Of course I have never said or thought that life in Ashcroft is perfect: it isn’t! (If you know of a place that is perfect please do let me know about it.)

However, after taking a trip to Vancouver for whatever reason, who does not LOVE turning off the highway, seeing Ashcroft come into view, coming around that last corner and going “Aaaahhhh, I’m home.”

Bernadette Rymer

Ashcroft

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