Everyone is talking about wellness right now, and it looks like there’s no end in sight. The word wellness resonates with all of us: who doesn’t want to be happy, healthy and well? And we can be, one step at a time! The Japanese have a word, kaizen, which means baby steps, and that’s the way to go.
As the late E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” This has always served me not only for writing, but as a road map to life.
Real wellness is my take on what wellness and well-being really means, along with small attainable ways to shift your mindset, create pockets of happiness and joy for yourself, stay happy, healthy and well. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tips, along with great resources and insight gleaned from individuals, organizations and websites to help you connect.
Maybe real wellness means paying attention to just one thing that you can do each day, to help you feel good, or to do good–for yourself or something larger than yourself, like the health of the planet.
And speaking of good, a while back I spoke with Ryland Engelhart, owner of the renowned Cafe Gratitude in LA and SF, and co-founder of Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading the word about how climate change starts with our soil. They made a short film (10 minutes or less), thesoilstory.com, with the same the director as The Story of Stuff, and thesoilstory.com is a call to action. It explains how important healthy soil is for reducing greenhouse gasses and what we need to do to help get there. The Soil Story was nominated in the Environmental Media Awards’ Best Digital Short category and a full-length documentary is now in production.
With petitions, Ryland and friends were urging the California legislature to allocate $160 million from California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, for regenerative agriculture, composting, and other land management practices that help sequester carbon. The UN declared 2016 the Year of Soil, so this will be big!
But real wellness could be something as simple as walking away from your desk and looking out the window to center yourself when stress gets the best of you. Even better, get out into the world take a short walk. The exercise will kick in your endorphins and the change of scene will do your mind and spirit a world of good.
It is a great time for spas to step into the global wellness conversation, and they have, with wellness offerings that integrate nature, health, spirituality, technology and a mindful message that says: Be. Here. Now.
When you are sitting at your desk, faced with deadlines, overwhelmed with anxiety and stress, make yourself aware of how you feel and how you want to change it. Sit up straight. Close your eyes. And take a deep breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth (a loud exhalation). Try it now. And then do it four more times. You will see how such a small thing will make you feel a lot better. Remember: Baby steps.
It will be a journey, but, as Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher and poet, said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
I always like to say, “Begin where you are.” And here we are. So let’s begin.