What do you think about when you hear the word “wellness”? Maybe you envisage someone jogging along a lush forest path, breathing in clean air and soaking up the serenity. Or maybe you picture someone having a soothing massage while classical music plays in the background. The reality is that wellness can come in a variety of forms – and some will work more effectively for you than others. The trick is to identify what wellness means to you, and how best you can fit it into your life.
But first, why is wellness important? In a world where more and more people are burnt out and anxious, we need to focus on our own well-being – after all, no one else is going to prioritise it for us. Here are five types of wellness to consider bringing into your life in 2020:
1. Tech-free breaks
Maybe you don’t have the funds or time to book a week-long holiday at a glamorous destination that’s completely off the grid. While this is a great option if you can afford it, there are many other ways to get away from technology and soothe your mind in the process.
In her latest book, author Tiffany Shlain writes about the physical and mental benefits that unplugging for one day a week can bring your entire family. If you can’t manage this for a full day, you can take shorter tech breaks and be vigilant about storing your phone out of your bedroom each night, for example, while encouraging your partner and children to do the same.
2. Being physically active
If it’s early in the year, you’ve probably got big exercise plans for yourself. The trouble with lofty tasks like “run a marathon” or “go to the gym for an hour each day” is that they’re a lot harder to achieve if you don’t break them down into smaller, more measurable goals.
If you’re not currently an exercise bunny, why not simply aim for 30 minutes of activity a day – even if that means walking around the block, or a quick gym visit during your lunch break? Smaller goals mean you won’t be put off by what seems an insurmountable task, and you can simply start to make movement a part of your everyday life.
3. Seeking joyful pursuits
We know it isn’t always easy to do work that brings you joy (and if you do, then that’s fabulous!). If work for you is more about earning a living, then it’s up to you to schedule time into your life to do other things that bring you joy. This could mean paddling a canoe on a body of open water, painting a mural on your garden wall, playing a musical instrument in front of others, or sewing an outfit from scratch. The older you get, the more easily you can identify which activities bring you joy. Once you’ve found them, commit to doing them regularly.
4. Focus on your emotional state
Life can be busy and expensive, which means our own emotional wellness often takes a back seat. Seeing a therapist or counsellor is therefore often the last thing on our list of things to do, even though it may be vital to your emotional health.
If you’re anxious, depressed, or have a specific issue bothering you, it’s worth finding a professional near you who you can book a consultation with. Some medical aid companies such as Fedhealth provide free telephonic support and reduced consultation rates as part of their emotional well-being programme. There are also organisations like FAMSA that provide counselling for free to those who need it.
5. Creating human connections
What makes us human is the ability to connect and form relationships with others. And while the internet and social media have given us the gift of being able to connect with others more freely, they have had the unfortunate consequence of making many of us feel lonelier too. So, use social media wisely: cut out those who only share negativity, be selective about how and when you share parts of your own life, and most importantly: be proactive about forming real life relationships with those you truly connect with.
It’s up to us to ensure our own emotional well-being – hopefully some of these wellness ideas will help you get closer to achieving a healthy mental and physical state.
By Belinda Mountain