By Emily Brittingham
At this moment in time, the idea of ‘wellness’ is being promoted far and wide, the word itself appearing regularly in articles, advertisements, and flooding our social feeds. Although it might seem like the latest buzz word, the idea of wellness is nothing new. In language terms, ‘wellness’ is the opposite of ‘illness’, but in real life, wellness is far more than simply the absence of disease.
So, what exactly is wellness?
Wellness can involve fitness in both the body and mind – having the physical and mental capacity to handle what life throws at us. For some people, wellness involves a connection to spirit, so that our lives have a sense of meaning and purpose. For others, wellness means access to healthcare to treat illness, while certain people simply think of wellness as a state of wellbeing.
In language terms, ‘wellness’ is the opposite of ‘illness’, but in real life, wellness is far more than simply the absence of disease.
For me, it’s a combination of all these things, with a key element that is crucial to achieving and maintaining wellness – prevention.
Many types of wellness focus on treating illness, rather than preventing illness from happening in the first place. In western medicine and health care, prevention is underfunded and undervalued in comparison to treatment.
With the arrival of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the talk of wellness is all around us. In the midst of conditions where viruses thrive, we are suddenly spending more time indoors in close proximity with others, and as a result, instances of illness are rising. Our hospitals are now under enormous strain with the number of children presenting to emergency departments with respiratory illnesses.
While germs and viruses are a part of life and at times unavoidable, there are certain things you can do to help prevent your child from illness, and breastfeeding is one of those. The World Health Organisation recommended exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby’s life, and there’s good evidence for this recommendation.