“As a Rastafari woman, I believe that wellness is about living an Ital life. And when Rastafari say Ital, we’re talking about living a plant-based life. About being self-sustained. About planting and picking and having a front garden and living in alignment with the connection to our food source.

Ultimately, wellness to me is about living harmoniously. I’ve always said: Grow what you eat and eat what you grow. To me, that’s true well-being. It’s about doing whatever you need to do to be able to say: My livelihood and my sustainability is my responsibility. There’s a certain peace of mind that comes when you’re able to take care of yourself without relying on society for your food; it alleviates stress.

Of course, not everyone has a backyard, and if that’s the case, it’s about asking yourself: How can I make what I currently have work for me? How can I turn this space that I’m living in into something that completely serves me and my family? Maybe it’s about putting more windows in to bring the sunlight indoors. More often than not, we already have everything that we need to sustain us. Just think of how Indigenous cultures lived for many centuries in a harmonious state—they’ve done it and they’re a good reminder that we can do it, too. That’s why ‘wellness’ today cannot become a coined word, or just something commercial that we use as a cliché—it has to be a pivotal part of our daily lives without apology. We need to get back in harmonious balance with the planet and all of the dwellings.”

New York City-based author Candice Kumai

Courtesy Candice Kumai

Wellness is…embracing our full selves through the lens of kintsugi

Candice Kumai, New York City-based director, writer, and author of multiple books, including Kintsugi Wellness

“To me, wellness is about embracing kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken objects of desire. Rather than throwing something away because it’s broken, kintsugi focuses on repairing it to make it even more beautiful than it was before, sealing it with lacquer and dusting the cracks with a gold powder. This is a perfect metaphor for our lives in reflection, especially after the pandemic.

Like so many around the world, I lost the majority of my income and work in 2020. I had to move out of my apartment, find a smaller place, and let go of dozens of team members. All I could do was rely on kintsugi and share how it could help others too. I focused on being resilient, on repairing myself through a commitment to better self-care and better financial health for my business. I went inward, prioritizing rest, spirituality, workouts, less caffeine, more sleep, and meditation five times a week for 30 to 40 minutes a day. 

Kintsugi is the self-care we all need and deserve—and we shouldn’t even have to wait until we feel broken to give ourselves this gift. Golden repair teaches us to love and embrace our whole selves, flaws and imperfections included. If anything, now that I’m in my late 30s, I’ve become even more in tune with my full authentic self, with what I really need to feel whole: spirituality, love, a sense of companionship, community, a sense of purpose (ikigai), and as of late, respect. A voice. To be felt, seen, and heard as an equal. To me, well-being is seeking out all of those things—and embracing the cracks that show up along the way.”

Valerie Obaze, founder and CEO of Accra-based R&R Luxury

Courtesy Valerie Obaze

Wellness is…having a sense of purpose

Valerie Obaze, founder and CEO of R&R Luxury, a plant-based African skincare brand based in Accra, Ghana



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