Saturday, June 8, 2019 will mark the eight annual Global Wellness Day (GWD) celebration and the fifth time the special day is being celebrated internationally.
This year the focus of the event will be building communities of wellness. Surviving a life-threating illness inspired Turkish businesswoman and destination spa owner, Belgin Aksoy, to start GWD. It is her irresistible passion for the cause that has motivated over 100 volunteer ambassadors, advisors and supporters to help make her dream a reality across the globe. The caveat: the annual events organized each year need to be three things: educational, non-commercial and complementary since Aksoy’s motivating belief is that wellness is not a luxury but the inherit right of every individual.
Growing from a celebration at one Turkish spa eight years ago to events in over 150 countries in over 5,000 locations or “communities” — such as hotel/spa chains, fitness centers, yoga studios, associations, foundations, hospitals, schools, senior centers, and entire towns — GWD’s overarching motto is: “One day, can change your whole life!” Aksoy also never waivers from her focus on the importance of educating people from youth up about the importance of wellness – which clearly includes mental health as well as giving back through simple but important good deeds.
New to the roster of countries this year are: China, Kenya, Cayman Islands, Peru, Zimbabwe, and Dominican Republic. Countries celebrating GWD over 20 locations each: France, Spain, Cyprus, Canada, Hungary, etc. Aksoy even received a letter of endorsement from Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Republic of Maldives, since promoting healthy, active and positive lifestyles is an important initiative for the island nation’s new president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Standout U.S. GWD locations include Los Angeles & La Jolla, California; Cleveland, Ohio, NYC, South Florida and Whitefish, Montana. In the company category: Gym Source — America’s largest commercial distributor of fitness equipment — will convert all 35 of their stores to gyms open to the public on GWD and skincare companies Biologique Recherche and Kerstin Florian are contributing to events. Members of 60 different hotel companies such as Marriott Vacation Club, Four Seasons, Fairmont and Mandarin Oriental are organizing events and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is making GWD part of its corporate-wide wellness campaign.
Hyatt will be honoring GWD and Hyatt’s landmarks of wellbeing – Feel, Fuel and Function – by educating and encouraging colleagues and guests to celebrate the day around the world. Over 250 properties, including Hyatt’s Miraval and Exhale brands and the company’s regional and corporate offices are expected to host health and wellness-related events reflecting their specific destination and local communities— from Delhi to Chicago and Zurich to Tokyo.
Look for the hashtag #globalwellnessday and #GWD2019 to follow what happens from sunrise to sunset around the globe on June 8.
“We go to school from the age of two, hoping that the education system is going to help prepare us for our future,” says Aksoy, “but nobody is teaching us how to live, how to breathe, how to be mindful and how to love ourselves as these are things that are essential to be a happy adult in the future. In an era where global consumer kids are ending up unhappy and unsatisfied,” Aksoy continues. “A key goal of GWD is to teach children and families how to integrate wellness practices into their daily lives and then to carry on those practices throughout their lives.”
Below are a sample of celebrations planned for GWD 2019, which range from entire cities joining together with family friendly wellness events to hotels and community centers offering complimentary activities ranging from hiking to ethno dance; Tai Chi to digital detox seminars.
The Netherlands – A series of events for kids and the community are being planned including visits to elder care facilities, 5K Walk for children in primary schools, “wellness for everyone” activities in hotel spas and seminars on workplace wellness with the GWD 7 Step Manifesto carried on for 7 days.
Costa Rica – Having the support of San José Municipality and Curridaba Municipality along with many other associations and foundations; seminars on nutrition, mental health, eco-awareness, the Ayurvedic lifestyle, and wellness will be organized in the city of San Ramon. Activities such as forest therapy, yoga, breathing exercises, aromatherapy, walks along the beach, beach cleaning, bike rides with children, planting trees and mindfulness will take place throughout Costa Rica.
Kenya — GWD Kenya has partnered with The Wellness Project Africa to run free wellness checks throughout the event for all participants. Two panel discussions on “Physical Health & Inner Health” will be held as well as yoga and Zumba to illustrate that working out can be enjoyable and relaxing for everyone. The event will act as a wellness information hub where all participants will have access to wellness experts
Hungary – GWD celebration activities will take place in 12 cities and 30 locations, focusing on wellness lifestyle, healthy dining and healing waters. The main celebration will take place in Budapest City Park with an aim to set the Guinness World Record for number of people participating in an all-day wellness event. Activities: senior citizen fitness classes, aerobics and yoga classes supported by the International Wellness Institute (IWI), seminars on: the wellness movement, benefits of thermal baths, fitness trends, aromatherapy, active ingredients in beauty and kids’ nutrition. Other GWD celebrations in Hungary are scheduled at Four Seasons Hotel Budapest, Aria Hotel Budapest, InterContinental Hotel Budapest, Kempinski Spa Budapest, Gellert Bath Budapest, Mandala day Spa Budapest and Mandala Spiritual Bath Budapest, among many others.
Cayman Islands – This year will be the first time GWD is celebrated in the Cayman Islands. The event will start with a community wide beach clean-up the Seven Mile beach located on the Grand Cayman Island and continue with activities such as Pilates, balance and breathing exercises and a mental wellness awareness seminar. Hotel brands such as Kempton SeaFire Resort & Spa, Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and The Westin Grand Cayman Beach Resort & Spa will be supporting Global Wellness Day on the island.
South Africa – Rated the unhealthiest and most stressed country in the world, South Africa GWD team is working towards changing these statistics. This year GWD will be focusing on community and will be collecting clothes, food, toys and much more for those in need. The team will be attending schools to speak about wellness, mindfulness, nutrition and good deeds and visiting elderly people’s homes to pamper them with special massages. Supporting spa groups: Camelot, Gingko, Amani, Guvon, Spa & Wellness Association South Africa, Isa Castens Academy, The Westin Cape Town, the Taj Hotel Cape Town, Fancourt Hotel and Spa in George. And, Johannesburg based tech exec, Maureen Grosvernor, will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in August and taking the GWD logo to the summit!
France – For the first time this year, the City Hall of Paris’ 10 municipal arrondissement and its Mayor will be supporting Global Wellness Day with an opening speech and a kickoff point for the day’s celebrations. Events across France will be held in the cities of Belfort and Enghien Les Bains; there will be a “Born to Ride” race starting from Bréhat to San Sebastian; public yoga classes by Le Tigre Yoga Club in all their locations; and a range of wellness activities in all Thalassa properties, Accor Headquarters and all LUXE brands. Meanwhile, Conquer Your Day will organize a boot camp in Paris with seminars on healthy habits and beauty treatments by Biologique Recherche. L’hôtel Cures Marines Trouville Hotel Thalasso & Spa – MGallery by Sofitel, Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, Le Spa Marie de Bourgogne – Beaune, CYD Playgrounds, Cinq Mondes skincare and l’Ecole Internationale du Spa and Sandra Kennou, will also show their support on June 8th.
Thailand – GWD is once again organizing a Medical Mission with Chiva-Som to the village between Thailand and Myanmar board to support the disadvantaged community with efforts to educate, develop and encourage local sustainability. GWD’s mission will be to provide medical aid, education, support and micro-business opportunities to people living in remote locations. A Pre-GWD Event “1000K for Wellness” where hotel guests are invited to log all kilometers they run, cycle or row within the Anantara properties. The main GWD celebration will be taking place at Sattahip Beach, Chonburi with yoga, swimming, paddling activities, and health checks and kids art exhibition. GOCO Hospitality, will be celebrating GWD with a company-wide wellness event.
Turkey – This year the event will take place outside of Istanbul and in the Aegean coast of Turkey at Kusadasi, Love Beach. A celebration at the beach featuring yoga, Pilates, Zumba, CrossFit, kids’ fitness and all-day fun activities such as kite making workshops will be on the forefront. GWD will also team up with local elementary schools to organize a “Kids’ Wellness Art Exhibition.” The three days leading up to GWD a 50K marathon will be organized where different celebrities, athletes and Paralympic runners will participate. At the same time, smaller GWD celebrations will be organized in various cities with the support of brands such as Park Hyatt, Radisson Blu Tuzla, Hilton Istanbul, Swissotel The Bosphorus, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Richmond Hotels, St. Regis and many more.
Dominican Republic – This year GWD will take place at Los Establos with complimentary activities such as a 5K community race starting from Eden Roc, a painting corner for kids, “Adopt a Tree” event for families, meditation, yoga, stretching and mindfulness classes, fitness trainings, dancing, nutrition and beauty workshops as well as a community wide football tournament.
China – GWD will be organizing their first events in China, incorporating the Chinese culture and traditional healing rituals in Wuyishan, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Various activities planned are a Tea Ceremony Kids Club, where kids will learn to unwind and relax themselves, seminars on healthy diets and Chinese herbal medicine, traditional Chinese brush handwriting workshop to help calm the mind, Kids Choir to bring the community together, football games, Chinese square dancing and yoga classes.
Azerbaijan – This year the GWD team has planned a celebration focusing on community and family wellness with activities such as 5K Family Marathon, spinning classes, morning meditation, Zumba as well as healthy nutrition, slow food, ketogenic diet and detox workshops along with fitness and dance classes for kids. In Baku, Bilgah Beach Hotel & Resort and in Gusar, Shahdag Mountain Resort along with other five hotels will be also celebrating Global Wellness Day.
United Kingdom – GWD will be hosting community wide outdoor yoga event in Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall. Creating awareness on the importance of mindfulness “Celebrity Guided Meditation” recordings with UK celebrities such as actor Danny John-Jule, singer and presenter Rachel Stevens, actress Tamsin Greig and radio presenter Gideon Coe will be made available on June 8th with free access. The students of the University of Derby in the UK will be celebrating with walking, Tai Chi and yoga activities on campus.
Cyprus – The main event of GWD Cyprus will be taking place at the Limassol Marina square, with fun activities such as Zumba, health and nutrition workshops, meditation and much more. Cyprus in general will be celebrating GWD on a grand scale with over 20 individual spas and fitness clubs taking part with the support of local authorities and are aiming to have over 3000 people attending the activities.