Once upon a time, bars, malls, and coffee houses were the preferred hangouts of friend groups everywhere. Times are changing, and 2019 will see an increase of friend groups making various wellness spaces their hangout spots of choice.
In fact, some would go so far as to refer to wellness spaces, like yoga studios and similar places, as “third places” where people, especially millennials, go to socialize that isn’t home or work. While more people are focused on health and fitness, there is also a shift to focusing on wellness and spirituality among today’s young adults. There’s also a social aspect to this pursuit that focuses more on personal spiritual journeys and whole living for social activities than bars and churches that have been utilized in the past.
Despite this, socialization is critical for overall wellness and abundance, two things people of all generations seek on some level or another. The ability to make wellness a social pursuit allows entire friend groups the opportunity to explore their journeys as individuals while cementing their journeys as groups as well.
Keep reading to learn more about why your friend group might consider a change of venue for 2019 and beyond, making wellness spaces, or third places, the focus of your social calendar.
What are Third Places?
Third places are the places people go to socialize outside of work and the home. For decades those places have included a laundry list of popular favorites, such as:
- Churches and religious institutions
- Shopping malls
- Nail salons
- Art classes
- Night clubs
- Coffee shops
- Book stores
- Casual dining establishments
Now, people are shifting the focus of their some activities, such as fewer millennials going out to bars and drinking. Instead, they are looking for more uplifting, fulfilling, and/or healthful pursuits in their free time, and they are bringing their friends along for the ride.
Third places have been referred to by many names over the years, but some would define them as “living rooms” for society where all are treated as social equals. The idea has caught on to the point that many communities actively seek to create public spaces to serve as “third places”, and provide opportunities for people to socialize without societal, economic, or “class” constraints interfering.
What are Wellness Spaces?
The first thing you must do is understand what, exactly, a wellness space is. The problem is, it’s something different for different people. For instance, in office settings, a wellness space can be a quiet room set aside where employees can escape the fast-pace high-pressure environment of business.
Most people think of either fitness or non-traditional wellness centers (massage, acupressure treatment, etc.) when thinking of wellness spaces. Wellness spaces can be that, but are evolving into more than that, though. Gone are the days where gyms were simply places where people went to sweat. Today’s wellness spaces are a cut above, and better geared toward socialization.
Obviously, men and women alike continue to socialize in saunas after a nice workout. But, modern wellness spaces have come around to the idea that men and women appreciate opportunities to socialize together as well. For this reason, they’ve evolved the offerings to include public spaces geared for comfortable socializations.
At first, it was the addition of smoothie bars, with seating for guests recovering from intense workouts. Today, fitness studios and wellness centers are kicking their offerings up a few notches to include things like:
- Meditation areas and cushions
- Spirituality classes
- Massage studios
- Gourmet restaurants
Many of them even offer weekend (or longer) retreats that invite friend groups to come along for a themed event designed to promote wellness, health, and spirituality. It’s something the entire group can enjoy without worrying about being hung over or sacrificing productivity when the weekend is over and they return to work.
What it Takes to Make Wellness Spaces Ideal for Meeting Up with Your Friends?
Not all wellness spaces are ideally designed to accommodate friend group meetups. There are a few things wellness spaces need to have in place to accommodate your friend group comfortably as your designated third space. They include:
- The ability of you and your friends to come and go as often or as little as you like, and feel welcome.
- Must treat all comers equally without showing preferred service to some over others.
- Must accommodate conversations. In fact, the most effective third spaces actively promote good conversation among those in attendance.
- Must be accessible. This means they must be available for extended hours, and not require reservations ahead of time to attend.
- Must be accommodating to regulars while accepting to newcomers. Everyone is new at some point, after all.
- Cannot be pretentious or intimidating in design or décor.
- Must actively promote laughter and lively communication. These are supposed to be happy places first and foremost.
What It Doesn’t Take to Make Wellnesses Spaces Ideal for Meeting Up with Your Friends
The one thing you do not want to see when visiting third places is an abundance of people lost in their laptops or mobile phones. These are places devoted to being present and living in the moment, which is why wellness spaces are becoming top leaders for top wellness spaces.
Those are places where you go to engage in yourself and others around you. They aren’t places where you go to plug in and tune out what’s going on with the real people in the room with you.
There are few places that are better to go with your friends in 2019, than places that promote living healthier, more active lifestyles. If you haven’t made wellness spaces your third place yet, perhaps now is the perfect time to explore your options.
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