The Responsibility of Wellness Professionals During COVID-19

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has created major shifts for nearly everyone across the globe. And for those of us in the wellness space, specifically in client facing roles, this can prove challenging to navigate. We’re moving from face to face to virtual meetings…gyms to home based workouts…and stores are running out of product quicker than they can stock the shelves.


That being said, it is our responsibility to be mindful how we present information in this trying time.


It’s so easy to point out what the problems are with our country’s handling of general wellness. We need access to healthcare for all, regardless of occupation or income. Our food system is broken. We are in a volatile time where social media and news outlets alike offer information and misinformation that can drive us crazy. And it’s a lot for everyone to take in. It can almost feel like too much.


I’ve been having a hard time with social media as of late. The messages some of my fellow wellness folks are presenting, the lack of compassion from so many others….it can feel like too much.


My commitment as a wellness professional is simple: to make wellness education and awareness accessible to all. 


And in that, it is necessary to understand that the wellness disparities in this country are systemic. And in desperate times like this where people may or may not have access to “healthy” food options or a gym or equipment…people may be out of work or downtrodden with bills and how to pay them after the tragic tornadoes just mere weeks ago, I can’t beat people up while they’re down.


I empathize with and have compassion for those who are doing what they need to do to survive at this time. The focus needs to be on how we can move through this quickly as a country first. Pointing out problems with no solutions in mind is problematic in itself.


Let’s take some time to think about what we can do to alleviate the current state of affairs and also, what we can do to make an impact on the future so this does not repeat itself again.


Here’s some thoughts:


    1. Take heed to the advice of the professionals. I get it, it’s really hard to quarantine and create social distance. However, in a situation like this, it is imperative that we do so quickly. The sooner we do this, the sooner we can get back to a sense of normalcy. 
    2. Understand that people are likely doing the best they can with what they have. Now is not the time to point out the problems in the wellness system. We know, it’s broken. But kicking people while they are down only makes matters worse. For the people buying all the processed foods, the “junk” foods…maybe that’s what they can do for right now to keep their families fed. They have children who are at home and out of school they need to feed. Let’s make sure we check our privilege before we jump to conclusions about how others are handling this time of social distancing and uncertainty.
    3. Create content that is empowering. This is a golden opportunity to show how wellness is unique to the individual. Instead of imposing our own ideals of wellness on others, let’s take the time to create compelling content with a message of universal wellness. For example, we should encourage people to discover their unique needs. This is a big reset button for all of us right now. It is a chance to educate about how to slow down, establish routines and create wellness habits that are sustainable and relevant. Maybe for one person, see 10 do 10 isn’t feasible but for others, it makes sense. Reaching out to our audiences and understanding their needs, empowering them to have autonomy in their choices and making ourselves available as resources are key to making it through these times.
    4. Now is not the time to fat shame. I have seen so many posts about “weight gain” during the social distancing period. That is a form of fat shaming. If you fear that you will get “fat” during this time, check your fat phobia at the door. Not much more to say here. Don’t induce additional fear by shaming or judging others. And don’t promote self starvation or overexertion to combat “negative” results like weight gain. STOP!





The bottom line of all this is we are all in a dire situation. This is new territory for everyone. We are all navigating this in the best ways we know how. If you’re not going to be part of the solution…don’t add to the problems.


There is a great opportunity here to pivot how we tackle wellness. We can create programs, content, and resources that are accessible for a broader audience. We have their attention now.


I know my responsibility as a wellness pro…do you?

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