By: Natalya Anderson
The word “wellness” is splashed around a lot these days. For some of us, the very sight of just the word can evoke a range of emotions—misunderstanding of what wellness actually means for us, concern over the constraints that taking “me time” might put on our jam-packed work weeks, or the sense that self-care is narcissistic. Put most simply, wellness means making room for our best self, and experts everywhere are weighing in on how prioritizing wellness is essential to improving our mental health and our interactions with loved ones. No matter what wellness means to you, we have some simple tips for getting closer to that sense of self-love without becoming overwhelmed.
1. Sip your daily intentions
Even the busiest of us—college students, young professionals, working moms, or all of the above—have to pause for a nourishing morning beverage. Start with pouring yourself your favorite morning tea, cup of hot water, or smoothie—which is the perfect way to catch a Mab moment—and then, with each slow sip, set an intention for your day or week. A recent Forbes article refers to the benefits of setting intentions as a means to success, even if we don’t meet every single goal to the nth degree. In fact, psychologists have been suggesting this practice for years, indicating that the simple act of repeating one’s intention at the same time each day for a period of time can truly bring a person closer to self-actualization.
2. Meditate with a simple swipe
Finding a second to breathe may feel impossible with a schedule as hectic as yours, but stealing a few minutes to check in with yourself and realign your oxygen levels is possible, thanks to a plethora of daily meditation apps. Every time we turn on the television or look at our phones, media of all kinds are touting the healing powers of deep-breathing and meditative repetition. Publications such as Psychology Today frequently list the positive results of this practice, including improving sleep patterns, reversing bad eating habits, and altering the negative course of anxiety disorders. And, as a recent article in Women’s Health suggests, you now have a vast array of apps to help make getting into a calm zone as simple as a few swipes of your phone.
3. Your new best friend is a gal named Fern
Look around your home. Do you have enough foliage gracing your window sills? If the only green leaves you own are in your crisper drawer, it’s time to get your flora on. The pros of interacting with plants as part of your indoor and outdoor décor won’t just bring you peace and tranquility, but they’ll also lower your blood pressure—according to a new feature in Allure and a study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology. Sounds like a trip to the garden centre is definitely on your horizon.
4. Two fragrances are better than one
Do you have a favorite candle you like to burn when you’re finally home from an impossible day? Maybe you have more than one scent that takes you right to your happy place. It’s no secret that our sense of smell is linked to memory. In fact, scientists are still investigating the ways in which scent and memory are so intricately locked that they may open windows to early detection of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It’s no surprise, then, that a recent Into the Gloss piece recommends pairing candle scents for a soothing experience. Choosing two of your favorite home fragrances might just bring you to a more Zen place from the past.
5. Tap (crinkle and whisper) into ASMR
Auto Sensory Meridian Response (or ASMR) videos have evolved over the past several years in various forms all over YouTube. Through whispering gentle words, tapping fingers on surfaces, crinkling paper, and speaking in hushed tones, these ASMR videos are designed to bring you peaceful, relaxing vibes, and to trigger tingly, feel-good sensations down the spine and neck. Several articles in the Atlantic have described the comfort ASMR, bringing this strange but interesting characteristics to a broader audience. If you’re having trouble getting some shut-eye, pop your headphones in and give one a try. These days, you can even have a celebrity whisper you into a blissful sleep.
6. Poop! (There it is)
There’s nothing like being blocked up to make you feel sluggish and off your game. While physicians and scholars alike are constantly reminding us of the physical advantages of gut health, it’s not just an academic topic anymore. Accomplished, mind-blasting artists such as Fariha Roisin are telling us how taking probiotics (such as yummy, probiotic-rich, dairy-free yogurts) are also integral to mindfulness. Taking a satisfying poop may provide another key to mental wellness.
7. Wash away your headache
After your mindful trip to the restroom, proper hand-washing is not only the sanitary thing to do, but a recent article in the Atlantic points to how it’s tied to your overall wellness, too. Using the hand’s pressure points in a specific way can alleviate stress, and contribute to chronic pain management—particularly when it comes to headache relief. Why not mix in some of your go-to aromatherapy scents with essential oils for a luxury hand treatment before bed?
8. Embrace the power of herbs
Taking a more natural path is something Mab & Stoke founder and CEO Christina Mace-Turner was onto years ago when she moved from executive roles at Apple and Flipboard to founding non-toxic beauty startup True Botanicals, and it clearly paid off. The evolution from True Botanicals to the creation of a novel format for herbal supplements was an organic next step, and, aside from Mace-Turner’s personal success, there have been documented physical and psychological transformations linked to introducing herbs into one’s daily life. Although not a single cure for every medical ailment, herbal supplements can provide a stunning amount of relief to our bodies for a plethora of malfunctions.
The evidence is pretty clear, and it cuts through the clouds of uncertainty so many of us might have when approaching the idea of wellness. Whether you have a good span of time to explore all of these suggestions—or just enough time to set some intentions with each sip of your tea—chances are, you’ll be on your way to a greater sense of self, and a stronger view of how capable you are of reaching your goals, in no time.
Natalya Anderson is a writer and award-winning poet based in Toronto, Canada.