Wellness has sadly become a bit of a dirty word. Much like body positivity, and body confidence, it used to be something that had meaning for all, was inclusive, and was aimed at allowing people to make the best choices aligned with their health and wellbeing – whatever that meant for them.
Sadly, we’ve seen it co-opted into the diet industry and ‘fitspo’ (amongst others), as indicated not only by this fabulous article (which hit a lot of nerves for me), and by Weight Watchers dropping the term ‘Weight’ with the company ‘shifting from a focus on just weight loss to its broader remit looking at “wellness” over the past two years.’
Just a pause while I roll my eyes rather hard.
Thankfully there are those trying to retake the term back and use it in the way it was meant to, and the team behind Manchester’s first wellness festival – Float Festival – were aiming to do just that.
The festival, held just outside the city had a little bit of everything. Yoga, personal training sessions, food and drink (yes there was even wine) as well as the expected protein balls, shakes and lotions and potions. Everything you could need.
The day was split into sections. Not only did you have panels running through the day, but training sessions, yoga sessions, crafts and meditation – four in the morning and four in the afternoon. There was a comprehensive list online which made choosing which to go to both easy and more difficult. On the one hand, you could easily find things that wouldn’t work for you, I struggle with quietening my mind for meditation so for me that was a no, but I rather enjoy yoga and there were a slew of sessions to choose from.
Alongside all of these sessions, the main hall was filled with little market stalls. Plants from Plant Shop provided greenery, coffee and brownies were provided by Pot Kettle Black, and wine was provided by Love and Labour. I must admit to going home loaded down with a new trailing plant for my office and a pile of protein balls from Harvie & Polar (well they were called Charlie, so it would be rude not to).
When it came to the panels and workshops, the ‘Foodies: Eat to Your Heart’s Content was an absolute no brainer, particularly as it included panellists such as Becky Young from the Anti Diet Riot Club, and Harri Rose, a body acceptance coach, it was far more about eating intuitively and taking a step away from the scales.
We’d meet both ladies later in a slightly more intimate setting when we took part in a breast painting workshop – yes, I did it again, and can’t recommend it highly enough. Focusing on desexualising breasts, it’s a freeing experience to just think of them as a part of you and not for someone else’s pleasure.
For all the positives, there were a couple of niggles for me. Boob firming cream didn’t quite feel like the right product to be selling at an event more focused on acceptance and loving yourself, and I have definitely issue with a fitness clothing brand who preach ethical products and supporting others, whilst only going up to a size 14. I think you mean your vision of ethical for thin people.
That said, we had a bloody fabulous day, and yes would do it all again. Even the boob painting with a bunch of strangers.
See you in 2019?