For Byron Linnell Edwards, Wellness Is Part Of The Creative Process

This story comes as part of our collaboration with On, available from July 6 on the Highsnobiety Shop.

If you want to find out a bit about Byron Linell Edwards, then looking at his social media bios will give you a pretty well-rounded view. Written there is “Conscious Socially Connected Spiritual Gangster,” five words that he tells us over email “defines who I am, my values, and my personality.”

He says that he gained the conscious part while working as a case manager for homeless youth and we assume that being a “Spiritual Gangster” is something you either have in you or don’t. When it comes to being “Socially Connected,” Linell Edwards explains “my journey to art and wellness came after I experienced burnout from working in entertainment PR and social impact, to combat burnout I started running and meshing my worlds together, which has kept me connected to a lot of people.”

Highsnobiety / Richie Davis

Highsnobiety / Richie Davis

Having worked for the likes of Roc Nation, Color of Change, and The Shade Room, Edwards reached the point of complete mental and physical exhaustion, and he’s not alone. 42% of women and 35% of men said that they were burnt out often or almost always in 2021 according to a study by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, a sizeable increase from the previous year.

Going running became a vice for him to deal with the stress of work which snowballed into a full-blown wellness obsession. “I’ve adapted my approach to personal wellness over time, but it began with running,” he explains. “Running helped change my diet and regulated my moods long before I entertained my mental health.”

Drawing from his own battle against burnout, Edwards founded Wellness For Creatives, a group dedicated to promoting balance in our lives and stopping stress before it reaches unbearable levels.

During a two-year hiatus from working in entertainment, the artist and entrepreneur got professional certifications from the Road Runners Club of America and the Academy of Sports Medicine, his first step before forming Wellness For Creatives. Starting as a lunch club to convince executives to eat outside, it’s since developed into a business providing an all-around wellness experience.

“The main barrier that needs to be broken for wellness in creative industries is adequate resources and opportunities for individuals,” he says. “When pursuing higher education and a career there are often a number of resources to assist, but creatives regularly sacrifice their well-being for their art and for their work because of a lack of resources.” The effect of this is something that Edwards and his collective are combatting.

The group’s curated experiences are run with the aim of providing resources to foster a holistic lifestyle, covering everything from sports and eating well to mindset. Targeted directly to an industry where horror stories of exploitation and overworking are commonplace.

Highsnobiety / Richie Davis

Highsnobiety / Richie Davis

Today, wellness and creativity exist in tandem for Edwards and since leaving the entertainment industry he has started creating art. He says, “I began painting during the pandemic as a response to what was happening in the world but couldn’t put into words. Art became another form of wellness for me, which I was drawn to.”

One of his pieces, an abstract painting hung in his apartment, impressed an artist friend which gave him the encouragement to pursue art. Since then, he has found that running is an important part of the creative process: “I come up with my best ideas while running,” he says. “Sometimes a song lyric, a sign, a building or interaction on the street can spark a new piece or influence the colors.”

This has led to him creating two series and having his own solo exhibition titled The Minstrel Show, a commentary on the American media and its representation of Black culture through a nine-piece series.

Much of his work revolves around the internal struggles that led him on his journey of wellness. “In 2020 I was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder, but I believe that everyone has “mental health” so I don’t hide from putting it into my pieces or titling them as such in an effort to remove stigmas,” he says. “The moment I’m left alone with a canvas or paper my first action is to get whatever is in my head onto the canvas so I can then create.”

Highsnobiety / Richie Davis

Highsnobiety / Richie Davis

Take a look (or listen) at Edward’s wellness process through his three favorite running playlists below, presented together with On as part of our collaboration with the footwear brand, available to shop from July 6 at the Highsnobiety Shop.

“No Swet is a groovy 70s/80s mix that I use for long runs. The music is funky, timeless, and the seamless transitions allow for a smooth run. I had a DJ make the mix using some of my favorite old-school tracks, so I use this for long runs often.”

“Two Feet Off The Ground is upbeat for tempo runs. Two Feet Off The Ground is a song within the playlist, but it’s also a mantra to remind myself to keep pace.”

“I stick to this playlist for short runs while the sun is rising. It’s random songs that I don’t mind listening to and a bit mellow so I can hear my thoughts.”

Source: Highsnobiety

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