There’s no denying it: 2020 has been a LOT. And if the prospect of emerging from a pandemic and its associated stresses with a list of goals to chase is a tad daunting, fear not, for there is a solution.
As anxiety-inducing as 2020 may be, now is actually the perfect time to get in the right frame of mind for emerging into a whole new world. We’ve listed some of the new and popular ways people are finding zen – and boosting their mental health.
Listening to a great Podcast
We love a great podcast, which you can listen to wherever you may be. Waiting for an appointment? Podcast. Sitting on the train? Podcast. Lazy afternoon? Podcast. The problem is navigating the huge range of podcasts actually out there, but right now we’re looking for inspirational ones that give us a boost when we need it most.
If you want honest conversations about life’s challenges, try Unlocking Us, which is the work of author, researcher and vulnerability expert Brené Brown. She describes it as “conversations that unlock the deeply human part of who we are, so that we can live, love, parent, and lead with more courage and heart.”
If you want to hear from leading thinkers and experts, they don’t get much better than TED Talks Daily. Brought to you by the famous TED Talks series, it features everyone from actress Jane Fonda to entrepreneur Dan Gilbert. The wide range of topics – like understanding loneliness, tackling climate change, and improving social media – are guaranteed to get your thought processes moving.
If you need real answers to your wellness questions try That’s So Retrograde, hosted by comedian Stephanie Simbari and fashion expert Elizabeth Kott. The podcast is an upbeat mix of pop culture and conversations on wellness, and is a great (and funny!) listen if you need a little extra motivation to stick to your goals.
Head for the Hills
We can’t travel internationally right now, but here in New Zealand we have some great hikes for all abilities all over the country. Some of New Zealand’s best day hikes let you embark on an adventure in some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, and many are within easy driving distance of some of our major cities. You can hike through lush native bush and ancient forests, climb volcanic slopes, walk past glaciers, lakes and along rugged coastlines – all without going through customs.
Make sure you know where you’re going and have looked at a map of the track, and ensure you have enough time to complete in the daylight. A wrong turn can create an unexpected night out! Take sufficient supplies and always stick to the marked track. New Zealand’s weather can also be highly changeable so check the forecast – and have fun.
Vacationing simply to relax or explore a new destination is almost never a bad idea, but lately travellers are all about infusing their vacation with a bit—or maybe a lot—of wellness. Wellness travellers are drawn toward trips that combine fitness and mindfulness, like yoga retreats in stunning locations in Uruguay, Tanzania, and Bali, but that’s just not an option now. Lucky for us there are world-class retreats here in New Zealand, like Aro Ha’s wellness adventure retreats in dreamy Queenstown. Sattva Soul holds a retreat in faraway spots like Los Angeles and Bali, but also in Auckland as that’s where their founder was born. They are usually a day long and surprisingly affordable given the great speakers who appear at each one. Auckland-based yogini Nikki Ralston of Urban Ashram also holds regular day and weekend-long retreats, as well as longer wellness retreats in spots like Queenstown and Mount Maunganui.
Nuture your Soul
As we have learnt more about active recovery, it’s pretty clear that treating our bodies with kindness will be a popular practice in the second half of 2020. From guided sound bath meditations to breathing classes, workouts are no longer limited to physical activity, and can be as simple as a regular mindfulness practice or forest bathing. As we all look for tools to manage stress and anxiety, many of us are increasingly prioritising spiritual wellbeing through classes devoted to meditation, breathing, and stretching, and taking our practices home with headspace, Insight Timer, and other apps available at our fingertips.
Group Therapy with friends
As the coronavirus pandemic causes widespread orders to practice social distancing, millions of people are now spending days confined to their homes. On top of the anxiety around the illness itself, staying inside and isolated from support networks can have a serious impact on mental health.
Whether it’s via Facetime or IRL, now more than ever it’s vital that we communicate with friends. Check-in on them regularly to see how they are dealing with constant change in their lives, and if you’re that way inclined, grab them one weekend morning and head out for a hiking or forest bathing adventure as mentioned above.
One of the best extrovert tweets of the pandemic thus far came from actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who posted a selfie-and underneath the words, “Look, I’m just gonna say it. I’m sick of myself.” (She included an expletive.) Yes, many of us thought. Thank you. Exactly.