With the past year certainly been the most eventful year possible, it taught us all many lessons – be it about the environment and the community or just about ourselves. Having spent most of our time at home, we were presented with a chance to introspect our lifestyle, health, and well-being, even though our routines became quite upended. And as we rallied through, we started to invest in the food we eat, how we stay active, and even our basic mental health needs while looking for solace and hope through varied creative and non-creative outlets. Like cooking, painting, meditation, spending time with pets, creating digital content, and more. It consequently reformed the ideals of wellness culture to be more accessible, adaptable, and inclusive.
Wellness culture isn’t anymore based on rigorous diets or weight loss programs and is neither all about green juices and scented candles. Rather, it’s about you, your heart, your mind, and how they communicate and connect with each other. So, as we move ahead into the second half of 2021 with hopes of an upbeat future, we have four wellness connoisseurs share how their wellness rituals have evolved in the past year to help us recalibrate the ideals of wellness culture for 2021.
And yes, you don’t always have to be positive or look for the positive. Recognize the negative. It’s okay to feel and not push through it all.
“Wellness is listening to our body’s innate wisdom. Over the last couple of years, what it is not has become more important to me: it isn’t elaborate diet plans, or cutting out gluten, or a slew of consumer products designed to ‘fix’ things that aren’t broken. It is obnoxiously simple: eating nourishing food. Sleeping soundly. Moving and sweating. Finding time to sit in stillness and make sense of our thoughts.
My current focus areas are getting grounded and getting more sleep. But a big one for me at the moment is establishing boundaries and tackling my anxiety which really went into overdrive the last couple of months, thanks to moving cross-country mid-pandemic. Some people are born with that grace under fire; I am not. I’m prone to quick reactions and actions, so a lot of my rituals, at the moment, are designed to help me ground: walks outdoors with my dogs, showers when I need a reset, and meditation before bed using headphones to really help me ‘drop in’ and sleep deeper.
Plus, given all the upheaval in my routine, I’ve really dropped the ball in the movement and exercise department lately, but nothing changes my mood more than exercise – so I’m hoping to resume more regular activity (5 times a week) soon. Exercise also lengthens telomeres, the protective caps on chromosomes that shorten as we age, so there is no downside to clearing space in your schedule for movement.”
“To me, wellness is vitality. It’s having a feeling of well-being and satisfaction mentally as well as physically. It’s also about having a sense of agency, a sense of optimism, and a sense of peace in your life.
The last year has definitely been a transformative year for me, especially in terms of my perspective on wellness. Something that I have started to leave a lot of time for is self-care. Before this, I didn’t really leave anytime for myself. And since the start of WFH and having a lot of free time, I have started to invest my time in myself and in doing things like taking showers with essential oils, self-massages, deep breathing, yoga, and even taking time out to just do nothing. Previously, I think my weekends were always busy. I would be meeting a lot of people and doing many errands. And now, I try to keep one day a week where I switch my phone off for the whole day and don’t meet anyone. I just try to spend time at home with my family, take time to meditate, and just sort of reset my mind and my body for the week ahead.”
Jhelum Biswas Bose, Author, Entrepreneur & Healer
“Wellness is a way of life that includes what you eat, how you work out, how you live, and what are your beauty, fashion, and lifestyle choices. Also, being a flower psychometrist, wellness for me has a lot to do with flowers as well. I introduce them in my wellness ritual by meditating with flowers, taking Bach flower remedies, or using floral aromatherapy oils. Then natural fragrances also play a role in my regime to create a state of wellness – whether it’s the essential oils I use, fragrant flowers kept in my room, or aromas from my kitchen.
I think a lot of changes have happened over the lockdown since we have had a chance to be able to go within and figure out what works for us after all, wellness happens to be a very personal space. Meditation has become a natural way of life over the last year and a half. Then, working and interacting with fresh flowers and gardening has been very therapeutic for me. And over the last few months, I have gotten over my writing slump and started to write again. I also continue to conduct courses on Bach flower remedies, aromatherapy, and chakra healing. And while you are teaching someone, your own life also starts changing with every lecture that you give. So, teaching also has had a very positive impact on me.
From 6th May 2021, I have started writing a poem every day and intend to do 111 poems by 24th August. So, the reason I started this was that with the second wave coming in, the three words ‘How Are You’ became very loaded. You couldn’t just pick up the phone and ask someone that because you didn’t know what you would hear from the other end. And every morning when I woke up and wanted to inquire how a few very close friends/relatives were doing, it would take a lot of courage to do so. So, I started writing a prayer or a wish for them and sending it out and later realized that that prayer had started to look like a poem. Since then, I have started to write a poem every day and send it to all the contacts I have on my phone. This has transformed my life in my ways, especially with the kind of response I have received from everyone. When they tell me that they look forward to what I would be writing about every morning when they wake up – it gives me a lot of positivity that I have managed to touch people’s lives in some little way. And that I think is the biggest form of well-being. Plus, as a practicing Buddhist, I chant every morning and evening which helps keep my rhythm of the day going. I guess that’s what my core is. And everything else that I have spoken about kind of radiates through that core of being in a routine and being in rhythm with the universal law and my spiritual beliefs.”
Megha Kapoor, Fitness Coach & Nutrition Expert
“Wellness has always been a balance of my professional, personal and mental state. I strive to make these three aspects of my life better every day and keep them balanced as much as possible.
Professionally, COVID or no COVID, we live in an uncertain world full of stress. I used to plan everything in my life to the T. But with the pandemic and lockdowns since the last year, I have learned to not be so obsessive about controlling everything and to just go with the flow. In today’s world, you have to be flexible so you can adapt to anything that comes your way – good or bad. The last year has taught me to hold my loved ones close and prioritize them. I used to be hell-bent on balancing my career more than my personal life. That has drastically changed for me, and I am better for it! As far as my mental health is concerned, doing what I love every day makes me feel elated. Working out, adding more members to Megha’s Squad, seeing them happy with how healthy and fit they are getting makes it all worth it. I also completely switch off on Sundays, which I am very strict about.
Wellness isn’t about one thing. There is no mantra or formula. You won’t be well if you just work out every day or work hard at your desk. It is a balance of how you feel, what you eat, and what you do every day to benefit your mind and body.”
Karishma is a science nerd turned fashion and beauty writer who loves talking about trends as much as eating desserts. Gucci, salted caramel ice-cream, jewels, and Simba (her dog) make up four chambers of her heart. Like Karishma’s story? Drop her a line in the comments section below.