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Author Topic: Jewel Creates Affordable Wellness Festival That Will Inspire You  (Read 182 times)

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Jessica

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonisweet/2018/08/30/jewel-creates-affordable-wellness-festival-that-will-inspire-you/#9e8274664b26

With one-of-a-kind fitness classes, inspiring speakers and life-changing workshops, wellness festivals top almost every health-conscious traveler’s bucket list. But these events usually come with a pretty high cost of admission, putting them out of reach for most of us. Should gathering to celebrate health and wellness be reserved for only the elite?

Absolutely not, says award-winning singer-songwriter Jewel. Having been homeless as a young adult, she knows the challenge of trying to manage mental health and stay well when money’s tight.

That’s why Jewel has teamed up with Kroger, America’s largest supermarket chain, to create the Wellness Your Way Festival (Oct. 4-7). With day passes starting at just $15, the wellness festival in Cincinnati keeps things affordable, without sacrificing any of the incredible experiences you might find at other events. Now that’s a wellness win.

Here, Jewel gives the inside scoop the event, shares how she coped with panic attacks and anxiety while living in her car, and explains why coming together as a community is essential for healthy, happy lives.

Tell us about the Wellness Your Way Festival. What can attendees expect to see and experience at the event?

Jewel: People will experience a combination of my passions: health, wellness and music. They’ll hear from the coolest people and experts who have spent a lifetime seeking wisdom on how to live a healthier and happier life.

This festival will deliver meaningful tools and solutions to live mindfully. It’s pretty unique having traditional health and wellness professionals come together with holistic health experts, musicians and artists to make happiness and health more understandable, affordable and inspirational.

Having big businesses come together to use their resources, expertise and assets to make meaningful change in the areas of health and wellness is an incredible step toward solving this important societal challenge. The festival will offer an immersive experience that introduces people to the powerful initiatives Kroger has in place to help them [adopt] a healthy lifestyle, including the store’s Wellness Your Way initiative, the OptUP app (which tells people about better-for-you products) and the impressive Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative.

I also hope to share a song or two from my new album that’s not out yet, which focuses on the pursuit of wisdom and how we can increase connection with ourselves and others.

Why is it notable that a company as large as Kroger is partnering with you on such an influential event?

Jewel: I believe we all have a duty to lift up our fellow man and woman, and large companies can play a tremendous role in making a difference in people’s lives. The companies that will do the best in the coming years will be sonically conscious and transparent with their customer. More than a slogan, they need to walk their talk—and many companies are willing to do this. It shows how far we’ve come as a society and what our next generation of leaders has to offer.

What’s your personal connection to wellness? How did that inspire you to co-found the Wellness Your Way Festival?

Jewel: I grew up on a homestead in Alaska, with no electricity or running water. We had to hunt and grow our own food—all in a short time before the harsh winters. We ate well, carried in clean water from the creek, worked hard, lived close to the land and stayed physically healthy. 

But mentally and emotionally, it was another story. My mom left when I was 8, my dad had post-traumatic stress disorder from an abusive childhood and Vietnam and drank to medicate his trauma. I inherited the emotional language of abuse and neglect that had been passed down for generations. I wanted to break that cycle and I moved out at 15, knowing the odds were against me. 

When a boss fired me at age 18 for not having sex with him, I lived in my car. Then my car was stolen and I was homeless. I was having panic attacks and became agoraphobic. I was also suffering from chronic kidney problems and nearly died of sepsis when a hospital turned me away because I didn't have insurance. Luckily, a doctor found me in the parking lot and gave me lifesaving antibiotics.

I was stealing to survive, and one day I looked in the mirror of a store I was shoplifting from and saw what I looked like: a homeless kid who was just another statistic. I remembered the quote, “Happiness does not depend on who you are or what you have, it depends on what you think.” I decided to turn my life around, one thought at a time. And that was when I began to develop a series of exercises that would change my life and rewire my brain. I now share them for free as part of my nonprofit Never Broken.

I had to learn to advocate for my wellness and learn how to eat, what herbs to take to build health, how to manage anxiety and panic attacks and ultimately which habits would lead to happiness. I didn't want to be a human full of holes, I wanted to be a whole human.

Wow, that’s such an inspiring story. Just like you had experienced, many others today are completely excluded from health and wellness because it can be so expensive. Why did you decide to keep the price of your festival so low?

Jewel: Having been homeless, I know how many people are one paycheck away from being on the street. I had to find tools that worked for me, for free.

Wellness should not be for only the rich—it’s a human right. There is so much in health care that is affordable and doable that can make a huge difference in people’s lives, and I want to share that information with everyone, not just those who can afford it. Everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive and be happy.

So much of wellness culture focuses on the self. Yet, Wellness Your Way will bring people together into community. Why is community important when it comes to self-care?

Jewel: We live in an age that is paradoxical—we seem more connected than ever through our devices, and yet we are more disconnected [from each other]. So in my work, I have made a promise to create opportunities for connection and offer tools to help people have more satisfying relationships with themselves, their families and their communities.

As individuals and as a society, we need to reconnect with ourselves, apart from all the distractions, and by doing so reconnect more deeply with our community. We need opportunities to connect, and what better way than at an event with music and speakers.

I’ve been inspired by the communities we’ve created through the Never Broken program, the Inspiring Children Foundation and through my fan base. The Wellness Your Way Festival is a chance to do even more in person. It’s incredible the way the youth in my foundation share their stories and struggles with one another, give advice and support each other. The number one thing our society needs right now is genuine connection to self, and, in turn, others.

What kind of practices can people expect to take home from the Wellness Your Way Festival and use in their everyday lives?

Jewel: People will learn about nutrition, sleep patterns, how our brains form habits and how to build better habits. They’ll learn what mindfulness is, how to do it (it's easy!) and how to do exercises that can help reduce anxiety.

Attendees will also be inspired by music and connections to their community. I hope they realize we are not alone in our lives—others struggle with the same things, and we can share common ground and tools to overcome them. It’s always a special time when people come together with the intention of improving themselves and helping others to do the same.

The simple wisdom we hope to share can inspire attendees to experience a deeper connection with themselves and others. Happiness is a science, an algorithm you can learn. It’s a lot simpler than you might think