By Hayley Doyle
According to research by the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness industry is valued at a whopping $4.5 trillion and continues to grow at fast rate. Seeking alternative therapy and welcoming a more holistic approach into our lives is no bad thing.
But what if your idea of wellness doesn’t come under these so-called categories?
What if you don’t wanna do yoga and eat clean?
Are you in danger of being unhealthy? Or, worse…judged?!
It would be a dramatic statement to say I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I really like it. And then, I don’t. It’s more accurate to admit that I have a confusing-kinda-meh feeling towards it. Without sounding too hippy-dippy, I do believe that yoga ebbs and flows (pun totally intended) and comes into your life when you need it, rather than when you chase after it. I’ve gone through yogi periods, attending regular classes or committing to a 30-day program with Adrienne. And remember, Bikram Yoga? I got sucked into that and started to feel terribly guilty if I missed one of my three 90-minute sessions a week. Now called the Original 26 + 2 since claims surrounded its founder, Bikram Choudhury, it’s no surprise that this form of “wellness” has been described as cult-like, with him infamously starting his classes by saying, “Welcome to Bikram’s torture chamber, where you’ll kill yourself for the next 90 minutes.” But all forms of yoga do have incredible benefits, including the baking hot kind.
My problem is how it makes me feel; Inconsistent.
Sometimes I feel wonderful (usually a combination of the perfect teacher, setting and ambience, partnered with my own abdominal bloating being minimal), but sometimes the chatter in my mind can destroy the results I’d been hoping to achieve. I’ll be aware of myself in uncompromising positions, so if my t-shirt rolls up and reveals my tummy, it’s game over. I’m no longer “in the zone”. The instructor might be moving at a pace that seems to suit the rest of the group, but I can’t seem to roll with it. Doubt creeps in. Just before the headstand. And I leave feeling worse than when I arrived. I question why I can’t be zen, like everybody else. Or why I can’t - for the life of me - balance on one leg. Although others will have different or similar insecurities, I see myself and my faults, when I’d rather not be focusing on that. Then again, I’ve been to certain yoga classes and twinkled out on a bouncy cloud when it ended, as if I’d been injected with a wonder drug. Once, after a particularly incredible Yin session, I burst out crying when I got into my car; the fattest, heaviest tears rolling down my cheeks, and honestly, it was such a relief. An outlet. A magical dose of therapy.
However, the idea of typical wellness activities can be isolating for many, despite its purpose to be inclusive. But maybe wellness shouldn’t be so strictly categorised. Surely, it’s whatever makes you feel good? Whatever feeds your soul? It’s how you choose to live well, keeping your mind and body connected. That doesn’t mean following trends or trying to imitate the lifestyle of a fitness guru on Instagram. Unfortunately, so many of us waste precious time scrolling through reels of yogis, watching their impressive poses against a waterfall or sunset, putting a huge strain on our mental health and filling us with unnecessary low self-esteem.
I want to stop feeling bad about myself if something under the umbrella of holistic doesn’t make me happy. Sometimes, I just want to drink a gorgeous red grape with my besties or relax in the bath with a glass of pink fizz! The pressure to be pure can ironically create a toxic vibe if you’re, well, feeling pressured. So here are some alternative therapies that might appeal to you without the splits, the detox or the price tag.
You don’t have to be a good singer to be good at karaoke…EVERYBODY is good at karaoke! Hitting a wrong note; so what?! Fluffing the words; who cares?! Singing is a wonderful way to destress and lower anxiety levels, and what better way to do this than belting out your favourite tunes? Karaoke is a perfect form of therapy. It boosts your confidence, regulates your breathing and allows you to leave your inhibitions at the door. Your brain is stimulated because you’re out of your comfort zone, no longer just singing in the shower or the car. Plus, karaoke also tickles the neurons of your brain, bringing together emotional, physical and psychological activity. It’s the Eye of the Tiger of wellness!
WINE & DINE
This doesn’t mean a fancy restaurant or having to hit it hard and worry about the consequences the following morning. Good food and good grape can be welcomed on your sofa with your favourite person. Sprinkle your favourite cheeses onto a board with some honey, berries and crackers. Find the perfect drink to accompany and relish every bite, every flavour. Eat the damn chocolate! Talk about how good this feels, whilst putting the worlds to right. You’re not only nourishing your belly and your tastebuds, but you’ll be nourishing your soul, too.
READING ON A TRAIN
Or a plane. Or lunch break. Or sun lounger. Or anywhere you used to get the chance to read but now have fallen into phone-scrolling addiction. A train ride is the perfect opportunity to delve into some real pages. Paper. You’re heading to one place, but transporting your brain elsewhere. In this day and age, we do need a hefty nudge to pick up a book and read. All too often, we complain that we never read as much as we used to, followed by, “I miss it.” So get down to the bookshop and see what paperback catches your eye. Put that as a priority over scrolling the socials and feel that buzz of wellness welcome you like a warm hug.
Whatever makes you laugh, fill your day with as much of it as possible! Laughter is proven to be an effective boost to the immune system; in fact, one of the best. According to Naturopath, Rachel Shackleton of Green Key Health, “Laughter affects the heart, thus improving blood circulation, mental functions, sleep, as well as reducing anxiety and uplifting the spirit. It also dispels anxiety and sadness.” So act daft with your siblings. Recall the most ridiculous memories with your pals. And whether its Steve Carrell or Schitt’s Creek, or Mr Gervais bringing down the whole of Hollywood hosting awards ceremonies, use your scroll time for that and give yourself a laugh.
For many, cleaning is therapeutic. You’re keeping busy, while relaxing your mind, perhaps listening to music or having a little hum. Plus, there’s the added bonus of everywhere looking lovely at the end. Instant results are oh, so satisfying. But how about clean cleaning? Did you know that you can clean the oven with baking soda, white vinegar and lemon juice removing the most hostile incrustations without much effort? Try this ecological home remedy for a shiny, odourless oven, without having to buy any chemical detergents. Not only does this method respect the environment, it is also crazy cheap. So take water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, a sponge and a dry rag and have a blast making your home sparkle!