Updated: May 8
The quest for wellness is uniting women more than ever before!
As women we realise we’re more united as we find distinct similarities in the way we’re coping over a year into a global pandemic. This post on IG has gone viral amongst women who relate to the low emotions and juggling act they’ve faced over the past year.
When Anjali Harjani-Hardasani (founder of Malabar Baby) reached out to her female tribe and asked them to describe their emotional and mental state during 2020, she gained an influx of responses with a similar sentiment of sadness, anxiety, suffocating, stress, helplessness, being lost, fear and being overwhelmed, mixed with emotions of feeling fortunate, grateful, determined, compassionate, loved and connected.
The wellness sector is predicted to be the fastest growing economy as a result of the pandemic, as defined by the Global Wellness Summit. We’ve become a lot more discerning about our physical health, mainly immunity, and are seeking more preventative and holistic solutions. With my work in wellness, it’s evident that a large contributor to physical wellness stems directly from our mental state of mind.
As the clock struck midnight on 1st January 2021 the whole world was so overjoyed and relieved to see the back of 2020, the year that turned our lives upside down on a global level. There was so much optimism as we entered the new year. However, reflecting on the initial months of 2021, we actually experienced yet more of the same with lockdowns, social distancing, homeschooling, working from home, gym closures, etc. We realised we needed more patience and time before the world starts to re-open.
Women from all backgrounds have adapted to new roles, including taking full control of the household, becoming teachers to homeschool our children, providing emotional support for our partners and the whole family, whilst continuing in full time employment.
“Why women and not men….?”, you may ask. Well the simple scientific answer is that women are better leaders during a crisis according to recent research by Harvard Business Review. This is evident in both work and domestic environments and is characterised by women having a significantly more positive outlook on life. We have higher levels of engagement based on our nurturing instincts, we display empathy, and we lead with compassion. These are all the qualities that drive us to take more responsibility and care for our world and the people within it.
Yet this responsibility comes at a price and - more than ever - we're feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. With emotions and mental imprints manifesting themselves, here are some very simple and effective wellness rituals that can be easily integrated into our daily mayhem and when practiced with consistency and intent, can help build resilience. We truly understand that everyone’s situation is unique, but we hope these tips offer strength and guidance.
Make your home your sanctuary. We’re spending so much of our time inside the confines of our home - it has taken on so many additional functions (school/office/yoga studio). Our environment is a direct reflection of the state of our mind, so sorting through and clearing your space - maybe even re-organising or redecorating - can be really cathartic and naturally bring mental clarity to help us make level headed decisions. I always to like to remind myself “If you plan to go to war, clean your room”
Find what makes you shine. Being in a constantly reactive mode (organising the next zoom class for school or work, cooking, cleaning, all on top of your day job) can create chronic stress. The opposite approach would be to take some time to reflect on what truly matters in your life. Whether that’s learning something new, reconnecting with an interest from your past or trying art or music. Make time to fully integrate something that brings joy into your life. Start with once or twice a week until it eventually becomes part of your life. Science has noticed that when the brain is in full concentration and absorption in the act of creativity, it reflects the same characteristics as Tibetan monks' brains during meditation.
Create special moments with your family. When your mind is so consumed with all the things that need to be completed during that day, that week, month or year, we tend to lose sight of the world right in front of us. We’ve not jumped on a plane with the family to an exotic location to spend quality time together . However, so many people during the pandemic lockdowns have noted the beautiful connections they have built with their family. Occasionally drop what you have to do and give your child that spontaneous extra play time. These random acts of mindfulness help stimulate the happy hormones of serotonin and dopamine in our system, which in turn are great for balancing our immunity.
TALK TALK TALK. As women, regardless if we’re introverted or extroverted by personality, it is in our innate nature to be expressive and it's through this expression that we’re able to lighten our load and gain some perspective on our world. As you make more concerted time for your family at home, carve out time to make a special call, or send a text or voice message to friends and loved ones. During a time when we lack physical human connection, a quick check-in with someone close can be so empowering on so many levels. This in turn helps us avoid slipping into isolation.
Be with yourself. Contrary to the last point, it’s so important to take some time for yourself. I mean this in the form of meditation or mindfulness practice. This ancient magic medicine (when practiced regularly) changes the neuroplasticity of the brain, giving us so many profound benefits as advocated by the EOC Institute. Feeling connected to ourselves and our world balances the hemispheres of the brain, managing depression and reducing stress, improving memory & ability to learn. This helps to build our ability to offer compassion & kindness, boosts emotional intelligence and improves sleep. When we take time for ourselves in meditation, we’re able to declutter our inner world to help deal with our outer world with more ease. Only you will know how to create your own balance and there are many apps that can guide you on that journey such as Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer.
Keep moving. Yoga helps us shift our state of consciousness. This can be achieved through a simple seated twist, a short pranayama (breath work) practice, or a full 1hour sweaty session. Equally, in any sports or fitness workout, we bring more oxygen into our bloodstream & the brain, and our body naturally releases endorphins, making us feel great. That’s usually the side effect, with the main goal being weight loss, muscle strengthening & toning, so we can look great too.
Each one of us has our individual concerns and worries. But what unites us so strongly is our collective feeling of uncertainty with a “new norm'' that is yet to evolve and take form. As we lack human interaction and touch, technology has played an immense role in keeping us connected with the ability to lift and empower each other during our lowest moments.
Technology has helped on a global level as East continues to meet West. There is true convergence of practices from India (Ayurveda, Meditation & Yoga) and China (TCM - traditional Chinese medicine remedies & Tai Chi) now complementing the medical science of the west. Now more than ever we have so many tools with which we can make positive life improvements within the current situation.
If, as women, we’re so impacted with multitasking and uncertainty we mustn’t forget this is a universal pandemic and men are experiencing higher levels of anxiety and stress too. By staying open hearted and communicating openly we can't fail to get through this TOGETHER….!
About this article
This piece was written in collaboration with Malabar Baby to celebrate both women and wellness. To create safe spaces that allow expression and empowerment.
Bringing Authentic and Inspiring spiritual experiences through creative collaborations is at the core of what SATTRA stands for. Working alongside esteemed specialists from the wellness world, SATTRA provides tailored retreats that aim to empower and transform. www.sattrayoga.com www.instagram.com/sattrayoga/