When it comes to celebrations, one naturally reaches for a bottle of something sparkly. But Global Wellness Day demands a different approach.
No doubt many people around the world will be ‘raising awareness’ in leotards – in 2018 over 4,000 locations in more than 100 countries are taking part - but you don’t have to make a loud gesture.
It’s more about taking time to think what you need to do to improve your well-being and setting intentions.
“One day can change your whole life,” is the GWD motto.
Sounds great, but how?
1 - Go to a spa
Yes, we are the Good Spa Guide and we love any excuse to spa. But spas are the epicentre of wellness: they pretty much created it. Indeed, the woman who founded Global Wellness Day, Belgin Aksoy Berkin, did so back in 2012 at the Richmond Nua Wellness Spa in Turkey. So, if you want to kill all your wellness birds with one stone, it makes perfect sense to book in for a spa day. Not just any spa day, but one with a wellness ethos; then you can tick off the main tenets of wellness without too much effort.
Environment – look for a spa with nice views and a sustainability policy.
Nutrition - healthy spa lunches are a must; go for nutritional food rather than low-calorie options.
Mental wellbeing – have a calming aromatherapy massage or facial; add a meditation class to your day; make sure your spa is the epitome of Zen calm, not a hive of hen parties.
Physical health - have a swim as well as a bubble in the Jacuzzi; book an exercise class or a gym session then reward yourself with a treatment; or take a mindful stroll around the grounds.
Relationships – take a friend or best beloved; or if spa-ing solo, be kind to yourself.
Intellectual and spiritual – take a spiritually nourishing read along with you, such as Self Care for the Real World written by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips, who have been called ‘the Helmsleys for the Soul’.
2 - Slow down
Stress and anxiety are major health issues, so avoiding triggers that increase your heart-rate as well as actively slowing down your pace can only be a good thing, right?
Try taking deep breaths, filling up your lungs until you can feel your stomach sticking out, then breathing out slowly, slowly, until all the breath has been expunged.
Leave your house at least ten minutes early to get to work, or your spa day, if not longer. If you can, get out in the fresh air by taking a walk, even from the car to the door. There’s no need to rush today.
Pay attention to what is in front of you. Stop multi-tasking, or scrolling through your phone, and bring your complete focus onto what you can see, what music you are listening to, or the food you are eating. Every so often remind yourself to stop and be aware, ticking off each of the senses.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
3 - Do a 10-minute meditation
We know, you’re busy, but ten minutes isn’t much to ask. You can find a quiet place to sit or park. If you can, head outdoors to your garden or a park that isn’t too busy and get comfy. Then set a little chime timer on your phone. Close your eyes or make them go blurry by staring into the middle distance.
Try and notice as many different sounds as you can: separate each one out and focus on them one at a time.
Then pay attention to your breath: follow the breath from your nose, down your throat and to your lungs then back again. Notice the quality of each breath. Count if it helps you focus. If your mind wanders off and starts thinking random thoughts, gently bring your focus back to the breath.
As the bell chimes; take a moment to notice how you feel after your meditation. Open your eyes and look around you: notice what captures your focus, whether it’s an object, colour or emotion.
4 - Have a laugh
Studies have shown that a good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes later. It triggers feel-good endorphins, shifts your perspective on a stressful situation and brings people together. Contact a friend who makes you chuckle at most things and get together for a giggle, ideally without lashings of rose. Even better, meet her for a spa day.
5 - Practise gratitude
As you lie in your bed ready for sleep, think of three positive things that happened today. They might be acts of kindness by you or someone else, a piece of luck, a delicious meal or a moment when you felt totally content. Now think of the three things in life you feel most grateful for: there could be more than three things, and they could change every day. Now set your intention for the next day, anything from, ‘I will perform an act of kindness to myself and others’, to ‘I will focus on my project in the morning.’