The topic of work-life balance has been hot for several years. As technology has transformed the way we work, it’s easy to vilify it for creating our insane levels of burnout. However, can we really blame our increased mental burdens on increased connectivity? Is technology really all bad?
A booming virtual wellness industry begs to differ. A growing sector that saw an enormous spike of popularity during the pandemic, virtual wellness aims to make participating in healthy habits accessible, affordable and available in the comfort your home. From on-demand workout classes to mindfulness and guided meditation apps, family Zooms to virtual health care, there are now hundreds of ways that technology is making us happier, healthier, and more balanced.
Looking to improve your physical and mental health remotely? Here’s everything you need to kick start your new virtual wellness habit. (An easy way to get a jump start on your New Year’s resolution)
What Is A Virtual Wellness Program?
Let’s start at the very beginning: before we get into our favorite virtual wellness practices, it’s worth defining exactly what the term itself means.
Virtual Wellness refers to holistic health programs, initiatives, classes, or activities happening in an online setting. The term encompasses physical health (telehealth appointments, personal trainers, virtual fitness classes), mental health (guided meditation, teletherapy, mindfulness exercises), and workplace health (webinars, remote work). Online wellness programs aim to meet people where they are, providing opportunities to enhance overall well-being anytime, anywhere.
Why is Virtual Wellness Such A Fast Growing Trend?
Virtual wellness has been around since the advent of the internet, but it has gained attention through the accessibility of social media. Programs really began to take off during the pandemic, which forced individuals to take to their computers for any glimpse of the outside world.
An industry supported by a particular niche of people has, within the past few months, welcomed swarms of newcomers. This is particularly true in the workplace health sector. With much of the workforce convening over Zoom as opposed to in the office, businesses have had to get creative, maintaining productivity while also supporting team members’ mental and physical health. Remote employees are now treated to online seminars, yoga classes, icebreakers, and stress management workshops on a large scale, an unheard-of prospect even two years ago.
What is the goal of Virtual Wellness?
While online fitness classes and remote work are certainly perks, online wellness goes beyond just living life through a screen. Virtual wellness promotes community, boosts productivity at work, breaks barriers to access, and gives new and exciting opportunities to those looking to take charge of their health. Ideally, those who are choosing to take advantage of all that virtual wellness has to offer would be able to excel in their careers, engage in physical activity, improve their mental health and make time for self-care on their own schedule, in the comfort of their own home and at a lower price-point than in-person.
Virtual wellness can transform the ways we take care of ourselves, and the ultimate goal is that it does.
What Are Some Barriers To Wellness?
Undoubtedly, virtual wellness has transformed accessibility to health. That said, there are still barriers to ensuring that each person can take advantage of all that is offered.
One of the main issues is pricing. Many fitness classes, mental health programs, and career-boosting initiatives are hidden behind paywalls, making those in lower-income brackets less able to participate. There are also issues when it comes to technology. Most programs need strong WiFi and some type of connected device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) to access, and, even in ideal conditions, this can be tricky.
If you find that you are having trouble getting the virtual wellness programs you need, make sure you are researching any free trials, Groupons, or discount codes that there may be. Many programs offer some sort of no-cost trial period to new subscribers.
What Are Some Wellness Activities?
Basically, all of our favorite wellness activities are now online! From Zumba to cardio-intense HIIT classes, teletherapy to life coaching, we are loving all the ways we can take charge of our health with just a few clicks.
If you are looking to try something new, we recommend loóna for meditation, Gardenuity for gardening classes, obé fitness for workout classes, and trivia for virtual team-building activities.
How Can You Improve Wellness Working From Home
Even with all of the benefits of online wellness, it can still be hard to feel like we are maximizing our health when we are never leaving our houses. However, improving wellness while teleworking is both attainable and accessible.
Wellness Tips for Working From Home
Struggling with feeling healthy while sitting on the couch all day? Here are some of our favorite wellness tips for working from home:
1. Focus on your environment.
Yes, life may be mainly virtual, but it’s important to also focus on the physical. It’s hard to feel maximally productive if your workspace is cluttered or uncomfortable. Add some office-like touches (we love a desk plant!), convert to a standing desk or start working by a window to feel a little bit better in-person while working remotely.
2. Make time for you everyday.
It can be hard to turn off technology when home is also the office. We recommend making a hard schedule to ensure that you are getting the time off you deserve. Sign up for a virtual workout class either directly before or after work so that you commit to your assigned hours. Also, set up telehealth appointments with your healthcare providers (and take sick leave!) on your normal schedule instead of waiting to be able to see someone in person. Your employer should understand that
3. Get a laptop stand.
More than just feng shui, laptop stands take pressure off of your wrists and neck, preventing carpal tunnel and back pain. If you plan on spending more time working from your home laptop, consider investing.
4. Use technology to stay connected.
Humans need other humans to be happy. If you aren’t going to the office each day, be sure that you are finding ways to see other people. Schedule video happy hours, play online games or give friends and family regular calls to be sure that you are staying connected.
How Do You Start A Virtual Wellness Program
If you’re an individual looking to start a virtual wellness program, we recommend making a list of your overall holistic health goals. Then, do some research on which apps, practitioners, and programs will best support you. Once you’re all signed up, it’s up to you to maintain your routine and track your results.
If you are looking to start a virtual wellness initiative as an HR representative at a company, thank you for looking out for the health of your employees! There are lots of things to consider, which is why we recommend sending out a survey to your team. Listen to what matters most to people, whether that be morning meditations, online fitness classes, or even gardening workshops, and start to line up a slate of programs that will help them feel fulfilled.
How Can HR Tailor Virtual Wellness Programs To The Individual?
When it comes to customization within the wellness industry, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. This is especially true when trying to personalize virtual wellness programs to a diverse and widespread company team.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that each employee has something that feels personal to him or her is to get them an at-home garden tailored to their specific weather. Gardenuity’s Garden Kits, along with our GroPro technology, are fun, stimulating ways to get employees to take charge of their health in a way that feels both personal and accessible.
Start Your Virtual Wellness Program
Virtual wellness makes taking charge of your health easier, cheaper, and more flexible than ever. Take full advantage of the industry–have fun, and be well!