In this age of wellness, the mainstream focus is turning away from “powering through” until inevitable burnout, then slapping a prescription on whatever symptoms result. Now comes the age of self-care, of taking preventive measures… of facial oils with crystals in the bottle to infuse your skincare with sprightly energy.
Somewhere between those cosmetic marketing techniques and your new awareness of the lymphatic system, there are simple steps to embracing well-being. A little goes a long way—and doubly so when attempting to make travel healthy.
BEI San Francisco is one of the properties looking to make self-care seamless. Wellness-inspired programming ranges from on-site acupuncture and yoga sessions to breakfast sessions where guests and locals alike can merge in the coworking floor space to hear speakers on a range of topics. The re-flagged and newly renovated hotel seeks to bring its “Stay, Work, Play” motto to visitors as well as the surrounding community.
Here are three everyday takeaways inspired by BEI Hotel’s outlook.
Take Time to Breathe
Often, self-care practices such as fitness or meditation are regarded as extracurricular, to be indulged if the to-do list is finished. But wellness initiatives need to be prioritized to have an effect. Begin with what’s free, easy and can be done anywhere—breathing.
At the BEI Breakfast Series, Magali Mathieu, co-founder of AtlasGo, asked listeners to put down their parfaits and begin with three deep breaths. She spoke about how integrating wellness practices into her startup began with developing her personal attention to them—as she did when she devoted months of weekends to completing her yoga teacher training.
During that time, her co-founders said they were initially concerned that she wouldn’t have much energy for running the business while pursuing yoga, but they ended up seeing the exact opposite—she had better energy, presence and focus.
A few deep breaths make a difference; deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, the reparative “rest and digest” mode that slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Take the space between these paragraphs to practice.
There’s Always Time for Movement
An article last year in The Guardian about health initiatives at the office mentions the work of Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist whose research helped prompt the surge of standing desks. While a standing desk can be a good alternative, the issue is not standing over sitting: It is moving over not moving. The lack of motion is what leads to the ill effects noted in Levine’s research.
Whether this immobility takes place at the office or from sitting in the airport for one hour, on a plane for three hours, in an Uber, or at meetings and meals, the effect is the same. An hour at the gym won’t undo 12 hours of sitting.
Some hotels are looking beyond the standard treadmill-stuffed gym to provide guests with opportunities to combat this sedentary set-up. At BEI San Francisco, guest rooms are equipped with stability balls and yoga classes are offered on site. Future programming will include other fitness classes, as well as workouts accessible from in-room televisions.
Wellness is also about human connection. Integrating hotel spaces and amenities with the local community is a trend that’s not slowing down. This can be done via inviting the community in to shared coworking spaces and programming (as BEI San Francisco does) as well as by showcasing the surrounding area through local art, music, history, and curated food and beverage. This makes travelers feel more engaged with the place they visit. It also prevents cities and communities from feeling like they’re overrun by hotels and tourists, with no benefits gleaned from the exchange.
The same principles can be applied at events, where local collaboration makes everyone more invested in the outcomes and wanting to continue them.
Making It Easy
Fortunately, attunement to holistic health is center stage, ranging from social initiatives such as the Dry January sobriety pledge to Hyatt partnering with Headspace to offer meditation tech. So, take a deep breath, or 10, and walk up and down the stairs a few times. It’s only going to get easier.