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The 2020 Wellness Revolution

Are you fed up of the old ‘new year, new you’ mantra? Making resolutions that you only manage to stick to for a few weeks, which then leaves you feeling depressed and reaching for the nearest chocolate? We are too! So why not make a change this year, and make 2020 less about resolutions and more about revolutions.

Revolutionise your wellbeing and mindset by making time for yourself, and with just a few simple changes, you can make 2020 your year. Feel better, happier, more grateful, and less stressed – all of which will have a positive impact on your family, friends, work, and social life. And we are not talking radical changes, just some small adjustments will bring significant results.

In this special wellness edition of insideKENT, we will be sharing with you professional advice, tips and ideas about health and wellbeing, digital detoxing, how to make your career work for you, improving the health of your finances, preparing for climate change and how to declutter your mind and home; all with the purpose of making this year all about your wellbeing.

So forget the resolutions this year, and make 2020 your year of revolution!

We all know how important it is to look after our own health and wellbeing, but in our busy lives we often forget to focus on ourselves. Why? Well there is a whole host of reasons – we just don’t have the time, we spend on other things first, we are not sure where to start, we lack the motivation, and we feel can’t take any time off to disappear for a quick holiday.

But how about if there were some quick and easy changes we could make to our daily life, simple steps that won’t take up too much time, but would make all the difference in the world? Well the good news there is! We have rounded up some of the best ways to improve your wellbeing in 2020 – from a simple gratitude diary and decluttering your home, through to digital detoxes and mindfulness retreats.

So, start now by stopping, sit back and take a few minutes to read through the options open to you – and start 2020 off in the right frame of mind!

Meditation is a simple, effortless and natural way to destress. It works for everyone, regardless of age, background, belief or ability, and it is a practice that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.

As the charity, The Meditation Trust, explains: “Meditation allows the mind the freedom to be still, so that they body gains a very deep rest, and releases accumulated stress.” The benefits are huge and it is a great way to spend some quality time on yourself and truly take a step back from your busy life, helping you gain perspective and feel refreshed.

Search for meditation and you will find countless videos and articles on how to get started. There are also a great array of books and DVDs that you can buy to help you on your meditation journey. Perhaps the best way though, is through a charity like The Meditation Trust who offer meditation courses for individuals and businesses. Why not download a copy of their free ebook, Transcendental Meditation Explained at www.meditationtrust.com and see where meditation takes you in 2020.

Being grateful is a fantastic way to boost your mood and wellbeing, reminding you of all the positive things in your life. Banishing negative outlooks and appreciating what you have can have a profound effect. Of course this can be done at any time – you can say it out loud, say it in your head, or write it down. Gratitude diaries are increasingly popular lately, allowing you to jot down a few things every day that you feel grateful for – simple but effective, it really can change your outlook on life. Some studies have even shown that those who are habitually grateful are happier than those who are not, and that keeping a gratitude diary can relieve depressive symptoms.

Breathing is something we do every day – 20,000 times a day in fact. Yet how you breathe can have a significant impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Breathwork is the term given to any type of therapy that uses breathing, such as yoga. Whether it is deep breathing, the 4-7-8 breathing technique, or even the alternative nostril breathing technique, they all pretty much follow the same basic rules: Breathe in through your nose, exhaling strongly through your mouth for a long time (think blowing out birthday cake candles), then pausing before taking another deep breath through your nose.  

And the result? You will feel more relaxed, your mood will be boosted, and some even claim it can improve your flexibility and lower your blood pressure. So next time you are feeling stressed, angry or upset, or simply to start your day in the right way, breathe yourself calm and see how much better your mind and body will feel.

Smartphones, sat navs, laptops, tablets…we live in a world full of screens, and they are always nearby.  Whether in your pocket, by your bed, in your car, at work, we never switch off from the screens. Studies show that the average person checks their phone 200 times a day – that’s once every six and a half minutes! So it is perhaps unsurprising that experts keep warning us that this constant exposure could be damaging our health.  So what can you do to give yourself a break from the screens? Lots of people undergo a digital detox.  

Taking a complete break from all gadgets and screens, will mean that you gain back hours of time to do things that you will find more meaningful and rewarding. In reality though, we can’t just turn all of our screens off at once. Technology is useful and many of us have to use it for work or to communicate, so another way to improve your wellbeing is to give yourself an allowance of time. Not only does this mean you aren’t going cold turkey, it also means you are more likely to stick to your detox. Restricting the time you spend on technology will open your eyes to the ‘real world’ more, allowing you to focus your attention on things that are important to you.  You will be able to give people and activities 100% of your attention, rather than 70% and one eye on your phone!  

If you are struggling with self discipline and doing the detox alone, why not get a detox buddy? Having someone to support you when you are trying to break the habit can help you be more successful. If that doesn’t work, then there are companies out there that offer detoxing holidays – specifically designed breaks to help you break free of screens (you can read about insideKENT’s own Digital Detox escape on p.61). So why not revolutionise your time this year and see what you can achieve? With some experts estimating that an individual can spend the equivalent of three weeks every year on social media and checking emails, it’s got to be worth a go!

And it’s not just screens that we need to take a break from. Decluttering our home is proven to have strong positive effects on our mental wellbeing and mood. It is why Marie Kondo, aka KonMari, is the famous Japanese decluttering guru. Her book, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising’ is a worldwide best seller, she has a reality TV show on Netflix and people are coining the phrase the ‘KonMari effect’. So how can you apply it to your home? Well it is more than a spring clean, it is about looking at your possessions in your home and consciously deciding whether you need them. As KonMari would say, ‘do they spark joy?’ If they don’t, then you should discard them. 

Not everyone can declutter to the extent of KonMari, but taking the time to sort out your home and declutter rooms has been proven to improve your wellbeing and happiness. So after the influx of Christmas presents, take time to sort out what you really need in 2020 and start to declutter your home and your mind.  You could even go one step further and donate the items you don’t want to charity, further boosting the feel good factor.

If you need a complete break from it all after the stress of Christmas and New Year, there is no better way to beat the January blues than by going on a mindfulness retreat. Time to yourself to nourish your soul and reconnect with nature could be just what the doctor ordered. You don’t need to go far either, as Mays Al-Ali (HealthyMays) has launched a brand new retreat for 2020 in the beautiful Kent countryside.  This weekend mini-treat on the 22nd-23rd February promises to renew, rejoice and revitalise with forest bathing, fire ceremonies and a strong nutritional and yoga focus. As Mays Al-Ali, the founder of HealthyMays says: “The Nourished Soul retreat has been specifically created to centre around unwinding and relaxing in the beauty of Mother Nature. Our main focus is on feeling a sense of achievement at a time in the year when energy levels can be low and it is suitable for everyone – it’s the perfect girl’s weekend away trip, or a much-needed break for a couple looking to connect with each other.”

There are so many things that you can do to improve your mood, health and wellbeing. Wellbeing is such a vast topic, covering everything that can make us feel positive or negative about our lives. From our physical health, mental health, emotional wellbeing, our finances, family, social life, love life, work, the list just goes on and on.  

Whatever you choose to do, it is always helpful to be able to acknowledge when we are feeling OK and when we are not. If we aren’t feeling great, we must take action to prevent negative wellbeing building up – and there is always someone there to help.  Such as Live Well, a website full of great wellbeing information and resources designed to promote better wellbeing and mental health in Kent. Check it out at livewellkent.org.uk, where you can even take a self-assessment test online to determine your current state of wellbeing.  

So whether you are going to ditch the screen, reach for your gratitude diary or just take some long, calming breaths, make sure you look after yourself a little bit better this year.

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