The word wellness is used by people and businesses around the world, but what do we all mean when we say it? Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a regular basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes. While individual activities can contribute to wellness, it is a longer-term state of being and regular action that helps us achieve wellness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is defined as being “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
At Asheville Wellness Tours, we agree. We believe there are several key lifestyle areas that contribute to overall wellness. They include: exercise, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, and social connectedness. Each one has an individual impact on our physical and mental health and, combined, can affect our overall wellness.
The goal with wellness is that, essentially, rather than just surviving, you’re thriving.
So what does that mean for you & Asheville Wellness Tours?
If you’re looking for wellness tours and retreats in Asheville or from home, you’ll know that every experience on our menu has been carefully selected and curated with wellness in mind. We encourage our guests to lightly push their comfort zones with lighthearted and experiential activities. We work with experts whose mission it is to offer or to support your healing and wellbeing.
Let’s dive deeper into defining what wellness is to us and how we focus on wellness in everything that we do.
Movement & Exercise as Medicine
Movement and exercise are vital for our physical health, but the benefits certainly do not stop there!
Movement — whether through dance, exercise, yoga, walks, play, or athletics — can reset the body-mind connections and improve our mental health. Evidence suggests that exercise not only acts as a preventative measure in maintaining good mental health, but it can also be used as effective treatment for chronic mental illness.
Exercise reduces the likelihood of depression and also maintains mental health as we age. On the treatment side, exercise can be hugely beneficial across a range of conditions, including mild to moderate depression, dementia, and anxiety.
Exercise directly affects the brain. Regular exercise even increases the volume of certain brain regions — in part through better blood supply that improves neuronal health by improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
At Asheville Wellness Tours, our intent is not just to support wellness within the scope of our offerings. We also aim to foster healthy and wellness-oriented lifestyles and routines that our guests can take with them when they return home. Our experiences are aimed at wellness so that you don’t need a vacation from your vacation when you get back.
Many of our wellness tours incorporate movement, such as yoga, hiking, and dance. Our hope is that — once learned and practiced in a session with us — folks feel empowered to continue developing their personal practice, too.
The Impact of Nutrition on Wellness
Wellness is certainly tied to nutrition. What you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood. But, aside from neuroscience, we surely can all agree that the experience of a freshly-prepared meal, made with love and intention — especially when shared with friends or family — is a highly enjoyable experience that nourishes the body & soul. It’s a bonus when new flavors or unexpected twists are incorporated; that’s when it can become exciting and fun!
We feel fortunate that Asheville is known nationally as a “foodie” capital, with healthy and experiential eating with plenty of local, farm-to-table ingredients. Asheville enjoys an incredible concentration of interesting local restaurants and farmers markets galore.
For a small town, it’s even more impressive that you can find virtually any ingredient or any dish desired, and usually for a competitive price, too! We love to highlight this plethora of nutritious and exciting food that Asheville has to offer with private cooking classes, food tours, and wine tours.
Thriving with a Wellness-Focused Life
How do you define “thriving”? While it can’t be overstated that exercise and nutrition are critical to boosting our physical health, that’s not all that living well requires. Focusing on our wellness also means taking care of our mental and emotional health, in addition to our physical fitness.
At Asheville Wellness Tours, we believe that mindfulness and meditation are also helpful tools in practicing wellness throughout our lives. Mindfulness is a state of being that allows you to fully focus on a single task or moment. Practicing mindfulness is a way of centering your thoughts and actions to more purposefully live your life. Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Mindfulness and concentration are sources of happiness.”
Mindfulness offers countless health benefits, including improving physical health, helping relieve stress, treating heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, and improving sleep.
You can explore a mindfulness practice formally or informally through many of our retreat offerings, from guided meditation and forest bathing, to yoga hikes and dance. Any action that takes you out of the “monkey mind” of racing thoughts and into experiencing your present moment is an action of mindfulness. And it is deeply impactful for your overall health and wellness!
Social Connectedness & Community Contribute to Wellness
Feeling socially connected, especially in an increasingly isolated world, is more important than ever. The benefits of social connectedness shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to wellness.
Research shows that social connections:
- Improve our quality of life
- Boost our mental health
- Increase feelings of belonging and purpose
- Increase levels of happiness
- Reduce levels of stress
- Improve self-worth and confidence
- Help us live longer
That same study showed that social connection is a greater determinant to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. And social connection doesn’t necessarily mean physically being present with people in a literal sense. Feeling like a part of a community can describe the experience of feeling understood and connected to others.
In this sense, you can also experience social connectedness even in this time of social distancing. We say distancing, but it really only means physically. Our social connections can stay strong through virtual experiences, too. That’s why we love our virtual wellness offerings, especially right now when everyone is feeling a little more isolated. Connection is vital to our wellness and we cannot overlook it!
For us at Asheville Wellness Tours, this is the most integral component of wellness, and it is truly the heart and soul of what we do. There is no wellness without human connection.
Wellness Is Our Purpose
At Asheville Wellness Tours, we view our role in tourism — and as a business that represents Asheville — as an opportunity to extend and grow our immediate community. And we don’t take that responsibility lightly.
A tour with us is not just a high-energy adventure where we’re pulling out all the stops, quick-paced, and impersonal. Our programs are designed to allow you to become a member of our Asheville community, to make friends, and hopefully, to maintain that connection for years to come.
“The medicine for our hurting world is love, and our loving becomes deeply healing when we see and reflect back the innate goodness of other beings.” Tara Brach
Our most popular offerings encompass all of the components of wellness discussed above. If you’re visiting Asheville, we would love to help you plan the perfect wellness retreat to meet your needs and help you feel like a part of our community. If you’re at home and looking for connection, we would be honored to share space and time with you during a virtual wellness experience. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about our wellness tours…we would be happy to help!