In 2020, we conducted a series of external and internal studies to learn more about the state of the health and wellness industry and how it impacts the people that consume from it. What we learned is that over 3 in 5 Americans feel overwhelmed by it. This is not really a surprise as we have seen our industry go into hyper-production mode with products, methods, rituals, and media sources intended to help consumers feel well. However, this explosion of goods, messages and sources has ultimately had an opposite effect, leaving them feeling more stressed than ever before.
The reality is that self-care has become so complicated that at times it doesn’t feel attainable. Between unrealistic body image standards and conflicting information, Americans everywhere are feeling unseen, unheard, and intimated by the idea of “perfectionism” that the industry has upheld.
Here are the words of four people that we interviewed in our study:
- “There are so many different facets to health and wellness that it feels overwhelming. It takes a lot of dedication, research, and diligence – it’s frustrating.” - Jennifer, 34, California
- “I want to see someone that looks like me – not just a white woman who has the time and money to take three yoga classes, Peloton, make all her food and meditate… that is so not me.” - Kaylynn, 30, Texas
- “Instagram has made a ‘good looking body’ or a ‘healthy looking meal’ the currency of wellness. Rather than feeling good, or energized, or empowered, people are fishing for likes and feeling alienated.” - Ethan, 28, North Carolina
- “The wellness industry today focuses on what you have as external things and gratification. I think that’s shortsighted.” - Amina, 46, Indiana
So, if people are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and excluded by an industry that was created to help them feel well, what do they do? A common theme we heard in our research is that when wellness seems too complicated, people turn to plants.
Plants, whether fruits or herbs, are known to be helpful in relieving stress and anxiety, and are always a helpful reminder of the living environments around us that we often take for granted. They re-connect us to the Earth and can be used in ways that are beneficial to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It’s no surprise that these three people felt that leaning on plants was their best option:
- “By tapping into the power of plants we all can become healthier people and better people. And if everyone is becoming healthier and happier then in turn we’ll lift up humanity.” - Jessica, 36, Indiana
- “The power of plants is huge! Plants can heal, provide oxygen, create shelter, and energy. We need to care for and continue to grow plants.” - Kayli, 27, Missouri
- “When I’m out in nature I’m less stressed – I’m in the moment. I’m reminded things are consistent. Things will always recover and come back to life.” Sophia, 28, San Francisco
What we learned in our study is that when wellness feels complicated, people should just stick to plants. They’re older than us. They’re wiser than us. They are wellness personified. Whether it’s going for a run with friends, meditating, indulging in your pizza cravings, or just redefining wellness for yourself, there is one simple truth––wellness is more than an individual journey and it’s not about achieving perfection. Wellness is doing everything we can to support one another and our planet.