The paradox of corporate wellness
ABC 141: On wellness, alienation, and the "cure"
I have a theory about the rise of sourdough baking during quarantine: It gives knowledge workers an opportunity to actually see the fruits of their labor. We’ve become so specialized and removed from the products of our work that these hand hobbies feel like the antidote.
Karl Marx described this alienation of people from aspects of their nature—their communities, their work, their bodies—as one of the greatest threats to our wellbeing. The pandemic has only exacerbated the trend.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has been a boon for the digital wellness industry. Apps like Calm and Headspace have surged, with companies like mine offering subscriptions as a corporate benefit. The apps tout their ability to increase focus and reduce stress even though they exist on the same glowing rectangles that cause the problems they claim to resolve.
I loved this week’s piece because it captures one of the many paradoxes of the moment: We are increasingly looking to screens as the cure for our overreliance on screens.
Curious to hear whether you think these apps can actually make a difference without addressing the root of our affliction.
Here’s the piece: The Rise of the Wellness App
P.S. This week’s song is 2 minutes and 51 seconds of self-care. The full songs of the week playlist is here.
P.P.S. I’ll be hosting a conversation on the craft of writing with some prominent journalists on Clubhouse this Thursday. Let me know if you want an invite.