At a time when increasing rates of stress, anxiety and depression – especially among women – has become somewhat of a normalised social phenomenon, self-care practices are thankfully, also on the rise. Self-care that’s truly going to upgrade your life is about making conscious, daily choices that will support your nervous system and nourish your mental, emotional and physical health at the deepest level, gifting you ongoing benefits and allowing you to enjoy all life has to offer in the most expansive and uplifting way.
By Steph Watson, Vedic Meditation Teacher and Certified Health Coach
Sometimes self-care takes persistence but when you start to cultivate a mindset of prioritising your own wellbeing, and putting that into action each day, you’ll create a life for yourself that more importantly, feels good, is truly fulfilling and has you moving through the world more grounded, with greater calm, confidence and capability.
Here are the wellness trends set to raise the bar for self-care in 2020:
Sleeping more and sleeping sounder
New research shows that more than half of Australians struggle to get to sleep, stay asleep or wake up too early, so they’re simply not getting enough sleep or the sleep they’re getting isn’t efficient and they’re waking up tired and with low levels of energy. Good sleep shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury though, it’s a necessity for living, and thriving in life. Regularly experiencing symptoms of insomnia can also have a more far-reaching impact, beyond feeling flat, foggy and grumpy. It can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Over exposure to blue light (think electronic devices and screens), especially in the evenings, can inhibit the production of melatonin, which is a hormone in the body that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Getting into a routine of powering down the laptop before dinner, making sure your phone is on ‘night mode’ once the sun sets and switching it to aeroplane mode each evening to minimise it’s use, as well as using the glow of candles to light up a room instead of bright and blue lights, can all help you to fall asleep more easily and rest more deeply at night, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and re-energised for the day ahead.
It might be a new (or forgotten) idea for many people, that we are naturally creative, compassionate, calm, loving, happy, intelligent and capable. These innate qualities aren’t normal experiences of everyday life at the moment though, because of the accumulation of stress in the body. These days we’ve normalised the stressed state, but it’s actually not natural. With a daily meditation practice, we begin to refine our nervous system to allow these natural capabilities to take place, as the number one benefit of meditation is stress release and stress relief. It can also help to relieve anxiety, depression, insomnia, and improve and support your overall wellbeing.
Meditation falls into a few categories and the best technique is one that you love, because that’s the one you’re going to do everyday and that’s how all the benefits will come to you. Vedic meditation is a unique transcending style of meditation, where you use a personal mantra to allow the mind to settle and the body to relax so that stress can dissolve from the system naturally. It’s becoming an increasingly popular practice around the world, and this trend is set to continue because the practice is so easy – effortless in fact – and people can fit it into their routine no matter where they are or what they’re doing (no chanting or crystals needed) and get immediate results – it’s simple yet profoundly powerful.
Many celebrities, like Meghan Markle, Lena Dunham, Jennifer Aniston, Miranda Kerr, Rachael Finch and Naomi Watts already practice the transcending technique. A daily practice like Vedic meditation is so important because it allows you to dissolve the layers of stress inside the body that prevent you from being fully happy and healthy, and slows you down to find your natural state again.
With technology today having created inescapable rates of stimulation and connectivity, it was only a matter of time before the pendulum started to swing the other way and society began to opt for greater peace and quiet, more time offline and more opportunities to enjoy life in the real world, sans some sort of screen. More than ever, people are trying to at least moderate, if not limit their digital consumption in some way, and the digital detox is set to be a growing trend in 2020.
To give it a go you can set reminders on social media, so you’re alerted when you’ve reached your scrolling quota for the day. You can turn off notifications on apps and use ‘Downtime’ on the iPhone to schedule time away from the screen. Another way to take that much needed technology cleanse would be to simply leave your phone in another room or at home when you know you’re not going to need it. Take some time out to just let go, relax and enjoy.
Accepting and being yourself
Social media has created a world where everyone seems to be happy and achieving great things, all the time. While sometimes online platforms can be inspiring, and the cause for positive change, research shows that increased rates of scrolling and self-comparison (albeit against filtered and photo-shopped highlight reels), will leave many feeling inadequate, just as they are. Accepting and being yourself in a world that is constantly persuading you to think that is, well simply, not enough, is one of the biggest growing challenges human beings face, and one of the most powerful self-care practices we could potentially all do with adopting this year.
The planet would be a very boring place without each individual’s unique personality, qualities, habits and behaviours. We can still aspire for more or something different but remembering that everyone is faced with their own challenges, disappointments, learning curves as well as good and not-so-good days and continuing to show up for ourselves with authenticity, understanding and compassion, rather than self-pressure and a sense of lack, will go a long way in allowing you to create a more fulfilling and rewarding life for yourself, one that you really enjoy and no doubt one that any idolised influencer would want for themselves too.
Steph Watson is a Vedic meditation Teacher and Certified Health Coach. Find out more about Vedic meditation and her courses by visiting her website www.stephwatson.com.au and Instagram @stephkatewatson.
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