January is a month notorious for resetting, recharging and feeling like the best version of yourself. As the blur of the holidays has passed, we have yet another year to look forward to (and be grateful for).
There is no "one size fits all" rule for well-being, of course, so we have provided some interesting takes on wellness in the hopes of encouraging you to open your mind to the ever-expanding world of mental, emotional and physical health.
Kathleen Kweskin founded Grow Wellness Center in Ridgefield after traveling and exploring a variety of modalities in the Far East. Her vision for Grow Wellness is to be a place for all ages to experience magic and connection.
Kathleen's advice for achieving optimal wellness is to embrace your authenticity. "Instead of trying to control and force aspects of our lives to fit the ego, we are invited to surrender to the flow of life and create our realities through wisdom," Kweskin states.
"How do you create your reality through ease? Nurture your well-being and explore the resources of the earth that are always at your fingertips—foods, massage, yoga, meditation, time spent with those you love and so many avenues of following your bliss in life."
Another wellness expert, Lauren Henkin, has worked in wellness for over 20 years. She founded her company, The Humane Space, to help people find greater well-being through a daily practice of curiosity, lifelong learning and reflection.
She has shared three areas we can focus on in the new year in order to cultivate curiosity for greater well-being:
Awe Walks: "Taking an Awe Walk is one of the best ways to decompress, connect with nature and inject mindful activity into your day," Henkin says. "The mental and physical benefits of walking are well-documented, especially for easing stress."
Guided Visualization: "Guided visualization is a fantastic way to relieve anxiety and strengthen your imagination. "I like to think of guided visualization as a spa treatment for your mind," Henkin says. For example, Henkin and her team create guided imagery for cancer patients and nurses to help them feel more connected to nature, keep the mind relaxed but engaged, and stay optimistic.
Slow Looking: "Finally, I recommend practicing slow looking, a mindfulness practice that can be an excellent way to decompress and cultivate present-moment awareness." Slow looking is easy, Henkin encourages. "All it requires is finding something beautiful or visually interesting (a piece of artwork for example, a scene in nature or even an interesting building), then slowing down and taking anywhere from one to 20 minutes to drink in all of its details with intention."
Another area of wellness we may be seeing more of in the new year is the importance of social connection, gaining even more popularity from the Netflix show, Live To 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, a show following five unique communities where people live "extraordinarily long and vibrant lives."
At the core of living long and vibrant lives lie four specific lifestyle habits:
- Family is the highest priority in life.
- Nutrition comes from plant-based diets (especially legumes).
- People are constantly in motion and physically active.
- People are socially engaged with their community.
The one that got people talking was the importance of social connection. Perhaps you've heard the analogy: "Loneliness is as toxic as smoking 15 cigarettes a day." Let that be your motivation to keep having weekly date nights with your partner, put regular lunches with friends on the calendar and engage yourself in your community as much as possible.
Think of it this way: Your health (literally) depends on having fun.