I know, I know. Hearing the word ‘wellness’ can sometimes feel a little daunting or that, somehow, you’re always behind the zeitgeist. It’s easy to think of wellness trends like meme culture – by the time you’ve figured out what the hell this new thing means that you keep seeing on Instagram, it’s gone through about twenty life cycles (creation, use, over-use, fallen out of use, back in use but, like, ironically… it’s exhausting). What I’m saying is, the internet is a bloody jungle and it’s hard to know which pretty butterflies to chase after and which poisonous leaves to avoid, whether we’re talking about memes, men to avoid on twitter, or the latest thing Buzzfeed is trying to convince you ‘everyone’ is ‘obsessed with’.
It becomes overwhelming when you’re faced with a million choices for products, classes, treatments, habits, programmes, retreats, and so on, everyday, all professing to be the latest and greatest life changer. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? The CBD-infused organic drinks from the detox ‘shit-yourself-thin’ teas? The baby goat yoga classes from buying expensive tech to, um, help you track your breathing?
I’m not gonna tell you to go to a yoga class with a bunch of goats because a) unless you live in a super hipster area of London, I’m guessing this isn’t a viable option and b) it does sound a bit nuts (cute, very cute, but nuts nonetheless) and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid here. I’m actually not gonna tell you to do any one thing in particular, because it’s all about finding the simple, non-faddish activities, habits, and products that are not only easy to fit into your crazy life but make you think you know what? This is the thing that’s been missing from my life/routine/bathroom cabinet.
For Your Routine: Slow Fitness
Moving your body literally anyway you can, as much as you can, is great. But, all too often, we’re fed this idea that fitness looks like 6 days a week in an expensive gym, eating nothing but spinach, and dudes with those neck muscles bigger than my bicep.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that our immobile lifestyles (you know the drill: too much screen time, too much hunching in the same chair all day, too much public transport) cannot be counteracted by one hour in the gym a couple of times a week. Slow fitness emphasises the importance of more frequent, low impact movement that makes you more aware of your body and your lifestyle.
Rather than pressuring yourself to go for 10k runs everyday before work, guilting yourself for missing the gym too often, or trying to cram a week’s worth of moving around into one 90 min sesh on a Saturday, try to find ways you can incorporate low-level, low-impact, low-stress movement into your everyday life. Meeting a friend for a walk a couple times a week, signing up to a yoga session or two, or even simply getting into the habit of standing up regularly, stretching, and getting some fresh air and sun on your face are what it’s all about. Hell, if you’re spending your Sunday indoors (or are lucky enough to work somewhere where this is an option) stick a tune on every hour or so and jump up for a three minute boogie with your partner/bestie/dog.
Basically, the less time spent hunching at a desk, the better. You probably can’t do a HIIT session twice a day (and you really don’t need to), but you can stand up from your desk every hour to stretch/grab a glass of water/go for a five minute walk. These habits won’t give you killer abs, but they’ll improve your overall fitness, energy levels, and sense of wellbeing exponentially.
For Your Bathroom Cabinet: CBD Oil
This may sound like a hipster wellness trend that everyone’s gonna forget about in three months, but I assure you it’s not. CBD was the rising star of the wellness movement in 2018 and all signs are pointing towards even more stratospheric popularity for 2019. Yes, CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from the same plant as marijuana, but this stuff isn’t psychoactive. CBD oil is being used by people in the know to treat everything from pain to anxiety to skin problems. And it can be used in myriad ways – think rubbing it onto aches and pains, using it in aromatherapy, mixing it into bath bombs, and even ingesting it (yes, you can make CBD-infused coffee. Gimme gimme gimme).
So, why is CBD is here to stay? Well, our bodies produce their own cannabinoids, which the properties from CBD and hemp extracts help to support and boost. Basically, CBD oil is more compatible with the human body that your morning cup of coffee. So, even though this product might sound a little out-there because of its associated proximity to weed, I’d be willing to bet that, of all the products to come out of the various health trends in the last few years, this is the one that’ll be sticking around.
For Your Personal Life: Talking, Talking, Talking.
Alternative therapies have really been taking off in the last couple of years, bringing counselling services and mindfulness and meditation classes to the masses through apps such as Talkspace and Headspace respectively. We’re seeing the de-stigmatisation of previously taboo topics. Mental health, and the ways in which we deal with it, is probably the single most important thing to consider when trying to give your life a bit of a wellness makeover.
Even if actual therapy isn’t for you, the benefits of talking about any and everything that troubles us cannot be underrated. Take money, which has been a taboo topic in the west forever. The simple act of talking about money – before we even get to the stage of fixing our financial problems – is now considered to have a dramatic effect on our overall well-being.
This may not seem like a ‘wellness trend’ to you – and that’s kind of the point. We’re not talking about anything drastic. That’s where this whole wellness-buzzword business gets a little overwhelming and the whole point of practising wellness gets lost in the noise. There’s a reason Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has been such a big hit. We’re literally watching a woman talk about folding clothes and putting lots of things in boxes and then putting those boxes in bigger boxes. But we bloody love it, because we’re all craving some order and simplicity in our lives. We’re over the stigma around admitting we’re overwhelmed, be it financially, emotionally, organisationally – anything.
We’re over the over-stimulation, basically. The culture of being told we need more stuff, need to consume as much content as possible as fast as possible, need to keep astride of every new trend, meme, and pop-culture news item. Saying no to fast fashion, supporting charity shops, clearing out your physical space as a means of cleansing your mental space, and not contributing anymore to landfill than you have to is not exactly trendy, but it’s wildly liberating.
Just because some trends can become overused buzzwords faster than you can book a hip-hop-yoga-ballet class through a brand-new alternative-workout app, it doesn’t mean we should dismiss them all as fads. Wellness, at its core, is about making you feel great, whether that’s through beauty treatments, sleep, food, exercise, self-care, or even socialising in new, rejuvenating, or creative ways. And I reckon you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who thinks feeling ‘well’ is a bad thing.
Header image courtesy of @jasmine.curtis