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The wellness industry has largely been defined by phrases that invoke a sense of assurance, but not much meaning – well-being, health and inner peace are just a few that spring to mind. Here to break down the buzzwords is wellness expert and founder of the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy (ASWA), Angela Derks.

The Gold Coast’s own Angela Derks started her career in wellness with massage and beauty therapy courses 25 years ago. Since then, she’s earned qualifications in naturopathy, built Australia’s first medispa, set up a wellness spa for a fitness and health giant in Bangkok, and created programs for international five-star spas – just to name a few. Now, Angela is expanding into the education side of things, launching ASWA this month and the first ever Australian Accredited Diploma of Wellness later this year.

‘Wellness’ is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, with a staggering $3.7 trillion market – three times larger than the global pharmaceutical industry. But what on earth is wellness? And why should you care? “To me, wellness is about having the energy and drive to do things that are important to you,” says Angela. “Before that, it’s about identifying what is most important to you and aligning your life with those values.”

ASWA’s online 8-week programs are directed towards individuals as well as organisations. With a different topic each week focusing on the eight principles of wellness, participants finish with a certificate and an all-round understanding of everything from mindfulness to nutrition.

“The thing about wellness is that when you look at it as a whole, it’s huge and overwhelming,” says Angela. “But when you start to break it down, you realise that there are some incredible benefits that come from simply being aware of what wellness has to offer. That’s what the step-by-step programs we offer aim to do – cut through to the bare facts so that people can pick and choose what works for them.”

Learning about the little things like reducing your toxic load by identifying the nasties in supermarket products, or the benefits of a few minutes of yoga throughout the working day can help you find mental clarity, time for reflection or even just the energy to play with your kids.

“When you break down the many elements, you start to see all of the ways wellness can benefit your everyday life,” Angela says.

Tips for achieving wellness every day:

Pause and reflect. Make a habit of checking in with yourself a few times a day and seeing how you can slow things down a bit.
Be able to celebrate. A great way to practice gratitude in your home is to set a timer and spent the time to talk with your kids about everything you loved about your day and things you could improve on tomorrow.
See how you can grow from sadness. In trying times, like divorce or career change, wellness can take a backseat, so keep your values at the front of your mind and use the time to realign yourself to your values.

Visit www.aswa.net.au

Words // Anastasia White

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