Belgin Aksoy is spreading the wellness word.
In 2004, the Turkish hospitality veteran became interested in wellness when she opened Turkey’s first destination spa, Richmond Nua. Still, she never realized how important healthy living would become to her personally until she later discovered that she had cancer. Suddenly, she saw that a health-conscious lifestyle needed to be a priority for everyone, everywhere.
With that mission in mind, she founded Global Wellness Day, an international movement that encourages healthy diets, exercise, practices like yoga and meditation and emotional well-being throughout the world. This June 11th marks the fourth annual event, which now includes participation in over 100 countries.
Here, Aksoy shares why we should all be living life to the fullest:
Live The Process: How did you discover the value of wellness?
Belgin Aksoy: I am one of the cancer survivors of this world. Ten years ago, when I faced this illness, I never saw it as a burden. Instead, I embraced it as a gift that showed me how to live my life in the proper way, to promote good physical and mental health. That was when I started to understand the significance and importance of wellness and work to provide complimentary educational wellness activities to national and international communities.
LTP: How did your background in hospitality prepare you for launching your spa?
BA: I received my degree from the Institute Hotelier Cesar Ritz in Switzerland in 1995; hotel management has always been the profession in my heart. To gain professional experience, I worked in various departments—from the reservation desk to Food & Beverage—in different hotel industry enterprises worldwide. For the last 20 years, I have been working with my family to carry the Richmond International Hotel Management Company brand into the future.
Ten years ago, my personal life and career coincided and wellness became the core of my life with the opening of Richmond Nua, the first and only destination spa in Turkey. As a spa and wellness property, Nua aims to create experiences to promote well-being in the body and the mind.
Wellness is no longer a trend; it is accepted as a lifestyle. The philosophy is based on harmonizing, balancing and improving physical, spiritual and mental health by recognizing the human as a whole. The peace achieved through mental, physical and spiritual harmony is a way of life at Nua. We want our guests to enjoy their personalized programs (prepared by our experts based on the latest advances) to experience colorful journeys of discovery to unknown horizons.
LTP: When did you first found Global Wellness Day and what does it involve today?
BA: A few years ago—just prior to establishing the Global Wellness Day concept—I asked the question: “Health is one of the most important issues of our lives, so why do we still not have a special day dedicated to living well?” This was the moment that our story began, a project we have been working on day and night for the last four years with the dream of creating a healthier and happier world.
Living well is a simple necessity for every human being on the planet. To overcome global problems such as depression and lead a healthier and happier life, we need an inspiring beginning. The name of that beginning is Global Wellness Day.
To spread Global Wellness Day’s message, so far, we have appointed 83 GWD Ambassadors, 21 Key Supporters from 100 (and counting) countries on seven continents. So far, we have touched the lives of 250 million people worldwide.
GWD Ambassadors, Key Supporters and Advisors work in collaboration with each other and the media in their respective countries to help spread the word worldwide. They organize GWD celebration activities on the second Saturday of June each year (June 11th this year), issuing press releases, participating in wellness-related events to promote Global Wellness Day and garnering the support of international governments and government representatives such as Aruba, Canada, USA, France, Nigeria, India, Turkey, Costa Rica, Cyprus and Thailand.
Open to the public and free of charge, Global Wellness Day brings together exercise, healthy eating and inner health. It is a social movement that will raise awareness about living well throughout the world. The celebration concept includes healthy food, beauty care, yoga, zumba, reiki workshops, Pilates, dance, breathing and art therapies, which span the whole day. Also, several seminars featuring international and local wellness experts are organized.
LTP: What wellness rituals or regimens do you personally practice to keep yourself feeling balanced, healthy and at your best?
BA: Every day, I get up at 5:30am. I open the window and take a deep breath. I drink cold water and put on my workout clothing. My favorite time of the day is my one-hour of cardio.
I have my breakfast and green juice at 7:45am and drink 4 liters of water during the day. My lunch and dinner are protein, vegetables and healthy fat-based. I prefer raw almonds and walnuts as nutritious snacks.
I exercise two hours a day, six days a week.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
BA: For me, happiness can be described as the active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. It is a dynamic process of change and growth. A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness and prosperity; welfare and the conscious development of the whole self.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how can we all do that more each day?
BA: “Live The Process” means living in the moment to me. It means being aware of the present with all your senses. Not focusing on the past or worrying about the future but being in the present. For me, seizing and living every moment in life is the only way to make it significant.