As if the new year couldn’t come soon enough, we finally find ourselves celebrating the first week — and first Wellness Wednesday — of what we all hope is a better year. To ease your mind into 2021, we’ve found some interesting health and wellness tips from around the web with a dual focus on mental wellness and continued COVID-19 protection. First, allow us into your head …
WELLNESS AROUND THE WEB
Go to Sleep (and Dream)
According to CNN, mental health is one of the largest issues that we will grapple with this year. While some of us may struggle more than others, we have all been tested by the changes imposed by COVID-19 pandemic. The popularity of mindfulness and meditation is on the rise, but it might be time to try something out of the ordinary. An article by Betsy Morris of The Wall Street Journal details the surprising benefits of hypnosis. You may have heard of hypnosis as a cure for addictions, but research done over the past two years has also found this technique to be helpful in alleviating anxiety, pain and fear, especially as an alternative to prescription medications. Hypnosis is making its way into the digital world with apps such as Hypnobox and Mindset Health. Experts even say that for those looking to meet synchronously with a hypnotist, Zoom hypnosis works just as well as in-person appointments.
For those looking to deepen their journey into the mind and body connection, consider REM-sleep, which is defined as sleep occurring “at intervals during the night and is characterized by rapid eye movements, more dreaming and bodily movement, and faster pulse and breathing.” This article by Rubin Naiman describes the history and science behind REM sleep as well as its extensive benefits.
“The mind seems to grow fidgety and uncomfortable cooped up in a body 24/7,” Naiman writes. “Mentally, dreaming is like taking off a pair of tight shoes at the end of the day: the liberated mind is no longer constrained by somatic sensory and motor processes … dreaming unfetters the mind from the world of matter; and, having vacated the body, consciousness is free to pandiculate, ponder and play.”
Stay Mindful of the Mental
Keeping on with our focus on mental health, a recent report from the University of Otago argues that the three pillars of mental health are three things we may already be familiar with: getting a good night’s sleep, exercising regularly and eating raw fruits and vegetables. Interestingly, research found that quantity of sleep is not always better than quality. So while you focus on getting your eight hours, try and make sure that you’re sleeping good. Perhaps, hypnosis?
Although it may seem wrong to look into the past to alleviate present feelings of depression and anxiety (especially when our past now includes the tumultuous year 2020) another study from University of California Berkeley found that focusing on one’s past successes is beneficial in combating these negative feelings.
Continuing to Fight COVID-19
Although it is important to carry hope into this new year, we did not leave COVID-19 behind in 2020. Recent news reports have detailed the appearance of a new strand of COVID, however, continuing to follow CDC recommendations is the best ways to protect both yourself and your loved ones. We must continue to follow social distancing protocols in public, avoid attending large gatherings and please, please wear a mask.
Front-line workers have faced some of the most difficult obstacles of their careers since the beginning of this pandemic, so it is safe to say that they are in need of a little extra self-care this winter. This article by Aine Greaney is here to help, offering five important self-care tips for health care workers. These tips include unique choices such as journaling and getting some vitamin D. Feel free to try out these methods, or to share with all of the front-line workers you know.
Good News: Streaming Services to The Rescue
For uplifting news this week, I’m sharing a recent discovery that I made out of pure boredom while surfing the array of streaming services. I may be a little late to this news, but over the weekend I found that streaming services are joining the mindfulness movement in ways beneficial for the whole family.
Disney + offers short videos called “zenimations.” Described as an “animated soundscape experience” this series offers ten five to six minute episodes, plus a bonus 50-minute “longform edition” that encourage you to take a mindful, calming journey with some of your favorite Disney characters. This looks like a great way to introduce your young relatives to mindfulness.
Netflix kicked off its Meditation Movement on Jan. 1 with the release of Headspace Guide to Meditation, a series of episodes that detail the science behind meditation, its benefits and how to start. More videos from the service will feature guided meditations from stars of Netflix hit series including “Queer Eye” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”