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Meditation for Beginners – Tips to Help You Get Started
It seems like everyone is talking about meditation these days. Maybe you’re a long time meditator, and you’re all about the apps and the retreats. Awesome! But maybe you’ve tried it a few times and just couldn’t get the hang of it? If that sounds familiar, don’t despair! Meditation is just like any other skill – it takes time and effort to get better, and when you do start to feel improvement, it’s like a breakthrough that brings tears to the third eye. You might get a little addicted to the feeling of being in quiet, calm, alert but restful awareness. Some say it’s like being in a vast, peaceful plane that keeps expanding, like you’re floating above yourself, or like you feel weightless and heavy at the same time. However you experience meditation – and perhaps you’re experiencing frustration at having a monkey mind, amarite? – there are little things we can do to help the process along, and cultivate the optimal environment for practicing meditation. TIP 1 – De-clutter There’s nothing worse when you’re trying to de-clutter your mind than a room full of clutter. Create a calm area, even just a wee corner of the room, that allows for maximum relaxation and minimum distractions. Use a focal point to help you become grounded, like a statue or candle upon which you can set your worldly gaze. Ohhmmm… TIP 2 – Get Comfortable Ok sure, we’ve all seen the pictures of meditating sages of yore, with their legs twisted into pretzel shapes, 12 hours on the clock and still counting. For us regular folk, though, sitting down in the lotus pose for just 10 minutes may indeed pose some ‘dead-leg’ problems, to name just one. Find a comfortable position that works for you. Bring in cushions or a chair, yoga mat, blanket etc. Get comfortable, and settled, and get ready to breathe. NB: remember to keep the spine straight but not stiff. TIP 3 – Get Personal It always helps to remember why you’re trying to meditate in the first place. If you have no why, you won’t try. Create a mantra or an affirmation that you associate with your cozy little meditation space, and say it each time you sit down to meditate. Why are you here? Why are you taking time to connect with the breath and the self? Something simple like “I’m here to learn, grow and care for myself” or “This is my space to be at peace” will remind you why you’re there, and why you care. TIP 4 – Go Green! Plants are good for our health for a variety of reasons. Having a living, breathing plant in your meditation space allows you to connect with nature, a reminder that it’s you and all the other living beings of the world in it together. Perhaps you’re not feeling that connection yet but trust me; get a little plant with you in your meditation space, talk to it, nurture it and be amazed as you watch it grow with you. Celebrating life, in all forms, brings you closer to who we are deep down. TIP 5 – Have some fun Meditation can seem tough at first, there’s no doubt about it. It’s frustrating, it can be disappointing, and it takes patience and compassion for yourself to get better. Getting through the first few weeks, therefore, needs a resilience that can be helped along with a healthy dose of humor. When you inevitably become distracted, instead of feeling defeated, smile, have a little giggle and be amused at the nature of the brain to pull you into thought. Laugh at yourself, at your brain, at the process. Life becomes lighter when we smile. I hope these tips can help you along in your meditation journey! Let us know what you think, and if you have any tips to share let us know!
5 Simple Tips for Boosting the Immune System at Home
First published for My B B Bounce A fun, energetic health & wellness website with a range of products that are effective, good for you & our planet. Given our global situation, the buzzword of 2020 surely has to be ‘home’. Everything has become home-centric thanks to you-know-what, so I’ve been turning my thoughts to how we can stay healthy and happy without setting foot outside. Not always easy when things seem back-to-front and upside-down, right? The world is in a state of panic, and if there was ever a time to get to the chopper, this would be it. Have faith, friends. I find that a giant dose of pragmatic optimism is important - the mindset that no matter what happens, we can handle it, we can get through it, overcome the difficulties we’re facing and come out the other side stronger and smarter, ready to face the next challenge. Sure, things are bad. But they will be good again. Weathering this storm is not something we can do alone, however. We are stronger together. So here’s 5 simple tips you can try to help boost your immune system and keep you feeling good, all from the comfort of your home. Try one or try them all, and push those positive vibes. You got this. Eat the Rainbow Self-isolation has bestowed upon me a few extra kilos. Super, thanks! It’s easy to lose track of how many calories we’re getting never mind if we’re getting enough essential micro and macro nutrients. To make sure I stay on top of my vitamin and mineral intake I like to ‘eat the rainbow’ - I don’t mean skittles (way too tempting) - I’m talking about the rainbow of fruits and veg! We know that eating a healthy balanced diet is the first step to maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle, and that means eating a variety of foods to help us grow and repair and thrive. Try to get a variety of colors into every mealtime - broccoli, carrots, pineapple, aubergine etc. We’re way closer to getting a decent dose of immunity boosting vitamins and minerals essential to our health. Add to that, it’s just more fun to eat colorful foods, and great if you have kids, too. Stock up on leafy greens especially, that stuff is like magic! Stay Mindfully Connected A few weeks ago, while South Korea was experiencing the worst we’ve seen of the pandemic, I had friends and clients reaching out to me for advice, comfort or simply a kind word. So many were feeling overwhelmed, anxious and out of control. My first answer; get off social media!! Scrolling for days with all the negative news and hyperbolic headlines…Bad news indeed. Prolonged activation of the body’s stress response can wreak havoc on our immune system. But studies have also seen a connection between chronic disease and loneliness, with social isolation linked to increased stress. We need to stay connected, and for many, SNS is the only way to do so. SO…stay connected, but do so mindfully. Before you go online, make sure you have a specific plan of action. Who will you reach out to? How long will you connect for? Set an alarm to prevent mindless scrolling, and utilize your device’s ‘digital wellbeing’ function. There are lots of apps out there too, so have a look on the app store and find one that fits you. Get moving Numerous studies have shown that being active on a regular basis is a sure fire way to feel great and stay healthy. When we exercise the body releases feel-good hormones, known as endorphins, which make us feel happier while simultaneously reducing the stress-related hormones that directly affect the body’s ability to fight off nasty bugs. Exercise it is also said to accelerate the circulation of white blood cells, needed to fight off disease. Set aside a time every day, 10 to 30 minutes would be perfect, and stick on a YouTube home workout video. Exercising in the morning is my favorite, as it sets you up for a great day and makes you feel accomplished before you’ve even had breakfast (and will help you get a better nights sleep)! The best thing about a home workout; at home you can exercise in your pajamas…or naked!! (but please, don’t send us those photos). Wind Down and Catch some Zzzs I don’t know about you, but I never feel I like I get enough sleep. Whether it’s 5 hours when I’m on a deadline or 9 hours when my son’s at his Grandparents for the weekend, I could always do with 10 more minutes. Sleep is essential to maintaining a strong immune system, as well as being the time when the body repairs, grows and the brain consolidates memories. So developing a solid wind down routine is essential, and one of the most important parts of my day. Usually, we turn off devices around 60 minutes before bed, drink a warm caffeine-free cuppa (I love Madame Flavour Lemongrass Lime & Ginger Tisane), brush teeth and wash faces, MOISTURIZE like there’s no tomorrow, then snuggle down and read a book before snoozing off. And if you do feel tired during the day, take a little disco nap! TOP TIP: Many of us like a wee nightcap before bed, and while this might make you fall asleep faster, it will actually inhibit the quality of sleep you get. Stay off the booze for a quality snooze. Soak up the Sun! Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system, and sunlight directly onto the skin is the best way to synthesize a good dose of it. But getting outside to the ‘fun-in-the-sun’ spots during a pandemic is simply just too dangerous, so soaking up all those delicious rays of sunlight might seem like a long distant luxury of the past. It won’t help to simply sit next to a window or in your car. Provided its safe to do so, go and open your front or back door, take a seat and enjoy some sunshine. If you have wide-opening windows crack a few and bask like a cat, or if you’re blessed with a garden jump out there and enjoy. If this isn’t possible, you can boost your vitamin D levels through foods; the best dietary source being cod liver oil. Vitamin D supplements are also available, but you should always speak with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement. Even if your aunt Janet’s best friend Jeannie says ‘such-and-such’ supplement is really great, speak with a professional. Jeannie can’t be trusted. Whatever this global pandemic means for you and your wellbeing journey, one thing is certain; we need to do all we can with what we have at our disposal. Staying healthy in body and mind sets us up to more effectively deal with difficult situations, which means we can show up for ourselves and for those who need us. Stay healthy and stay calm, friends, and we’ll get through this together!
[Social Media Diet - Why counting SNS calories is essential to your wellbeing.]
#SocialMediaDiet Counting calories isn't for everyone, but it's a well-known fact that a well-balanced diet helps us maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. When we eat, we consume energy stored in the foods we choose, which then provides the energy needed to keep our bodies working in tip-top shape. Simplified explanation, sure, but we know it well (even if we choose to ignore it sometimes). Here's the thing. Our diet doesn't only consist of what we eat and drink. What we allow into our body - what we consume; whether calories, conversations or social media content - transforms the conditions of our internal environment, and can have lasting negative effects on our wellbeing if we're not mindful of maintaining good balance. We've been on an SNS binge for years, (can't get enough of those goat yoga videos!!) but how exactly does it affect our wellbeing? There are a plethora of related articles that cite social isolation, fear of missing out (FOMO), jealousy, lower self-esteem etc. etc. as byproducts of (mis)using social media. Just type 'social media negative impact' into google and you'll be hit with over 800 million results. These past few weeks have seen us clutching our devices with more intensity (and seemingly compromised powers of discernment) which has left many fearful, misinformed and in a state of panic. Misinformation is rife. Trolls are going viral. Hysteria is impacting significantly higher numbers of people than the coronavirus itself, as we lose ourselves down rabbit holes of opinion posts and pseudoscience. It's not surprising that in the midst of the COVID19 crisis, many people find themselves stuck in a cycle, glued to their screens, unable to stop scrolling for the latest update, diving into one sensationalist clickbait article after another, checking our phones every.five.minutes. It's like opening the freezer each time you 'find' yourself in the kitchen, and end up eating an entire tub of chocolate cheesecake ice-cream spoonful-by-spoonful. We keep coming back, like a moth to a flame. In one Forbes article, Alice G. Walton writes, "Part of the unhealthy cycle is that we keep coming back to social media, even though it doesn’t make us feel very good. This is probably because of what’s known as a forecasting error: Like a drug, we think getting a fix will help, but it actually makes us feel worse, which comes down to an error in our ability to predict our own response." We think getting a fix will help. That just one more spoonful will do it. But it doesn't. In fact, it has the opposite effect. Relentless scrolling for the next COVID19 update, the newest fatality statistic, images of church doorways and figures in hazmat suits…it causes unnecessary stress, anxiety, fear and feelings of distress and hopelessness; ultimately making us ill. And perhaps even more worryingly, we may not notice that it's having any effect at all. But, why? Our brain is predisposed to latch on to negativity, which can stimulate an in-house response to produce cortisol - the body's main stress hormone. It's an essential part of the body's natural 'fight or flight' response, kind of like an in-built red alert system. But what if the body can't move from red alert back to a state of rest and recover? If the body is in a constant state of stress, perhaps triggered by fear-posting and propaganda *cough cough*, this could lead to some serious damage to our health; emotional, mental and physiological. According to mayoclinic.org, 'The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including: Anxiety Depression Digestive problems Headaches Heart disease Sleep problems Weight gain Memory and concentration impairment That's why it's so important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stressors". Sound familiar? Too many stress-inducing SNS posts can lead to a real, negative impact on our health. So what can we do to say NO to this unbalanced social media diet? Take time away from those newsfeeds. Turn off alerts for certain groups. Only watch things that give you a boost (goat yoga). Maybe just turn off your phone for a while, and do something else. There's a great feature on many phones called digital wellbeing. It allows you to set timers for certain apps, records your overall use and where you're spending your time, and how many 'unlocks' and notifications that occur throughout the day. You'll find it in 'settings'. This was my phone from yesterday. Pretty shocking to think I spent 5 hours on my phone. 5 hours. And how much of that was useful? Sure I studied an online course, I used my YouTube playlist, but still. I was totally unaware of how much time I spent on Facebook and Kakaotalk. We ( I ) need to set some healthy boundaries for ourselves. Every time you reach for your phone, ask yourself this, 'What is my purpose for checking my phone?' If you can't give yourself a rational, reasonable answer (no BS excuses) then put your phone back down and go do something else. Tango in your living room. Make a paper plane. Making a mindful decision to stop checking our phones (as often) can break the patterns of behavior we've settled into, allowing us to move outside of harmful 'consumer' habits and move into something that will have a positive impact on our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. We are creatures of habit, so cultivating healthy habits that compliment our lives makes perfect sense. "SO WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO THEN??" I dunno. Other stuff. Engage your brain in some kind of rainy day activities; Take a walk outside (where appropriate). Enjoy time with the family. Enjoy time away from the family. Call a friend. Be a friend. Do a puzzle. Drink some tea. Learn to foxtrot. Tango. Waltz. Twerk. What makes you feel chilled? Do that. Nobody says you have to quit your phone! COVID19 is without doubt a very serious issue, and we should stay up to date and informed, there's no doubt about it. However, the relentless spread of toxic misinformation, or bad content calories, is dangerous, insidious and causing harm to a lot of already anxious people. Make an informed decision to COUNT YOUR CALORIES and take time away from your screen. Remember that app timer? Set a timer or an alarm once or twice a day to check for the latest updates... And stick to it! Here in Korea, for Non-Korean (and Korean) speakers, the following links can provide you with updates of the COVID19 situation in English. 한국 코로나19 발생 관련 업데이트된 정보를 영어로 보시려면 아래 링크를 참조하세요. ▶️ Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC): ▶️ Ministry of Health and Welfare : ▶️ BeFM English Radio: ▶️ TBS eFM Radio: ▶️ LIST OF OTHER GREAT RESOURCES: Below* Nobody says you have to quit social media. But you owe it to yourself, and those around you, to maintain a healthy, well-balanced social media diet. Look after yourself and your families, and stay safe both off and online. <3 Lots of love, WellMi. FROM ANOTHER EXPAT IN KOREA : Here’s a list of useful links for information on dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in South Korea and globally. Some links are in Korean, so it’s best if you add a translation extension such as Google Translate to your browser.
If you have more useful links, please mention them in the comments! We hope to keep this list updated.
Emergency Ready App
Korean government app that provides emergency alerts in English.
Itaewon Global Village Center
Doing a heroic job of translating government alerts.
Korean Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus-19 page
Korean-only (for useful info, anyway), but with links to daily briefings in English and possibly with more coming.
KCDC latest stats
Updated twice daily, at 10 am and 6 pm, as far as I know. (So you don’t sit there hitting Refresh all day.)
KCDC FAQ (Korean)
Helpful if you can translate it.
You should know this one if you’re a foreigner living here, but they have press releases on issues like the visa extension due to the coronavirus.
World Health Organization Coronavirus website
Generally straightforward information from the global organization.
Yonhap News English
Lots of news outlets in Korea, but everyone seems to copy from Yonhap. They seem mainstream and legit, without any obvious partisan bias.
For those who like their English-language Korea news televised.
New York Times Coronavirus
The Gray Lady has been providing clear, detailed coverage, with reporters on the ground in a lot of places. Scroll down for their feed of the latest updates.
Global travel restrictions from IATA
Tip: Run a browser search for your relevant country.
Corona Map (Korean)
Popular local map that lets you zoom in and get pretty granular.
Johns Hopkins global map
Fear-inducing UX design, but a quality global map.
A poorly named site with a ton of statistics. I haven’t checked the sources, but it seems solid.
Good stats and news feed, available in English.
[Workplace Wellness] Mindfulness for Turning off 'Autopilot'
Hello WellMi Family! As promised, here is the mindfulness exercise for turning off 'Autopilot' that we didn't get to last week at our Weekly Wellness Meet-up! If you have any questions or comments let us know! Workplace stress may seem like an inevitable downside of joining any organization, but there are ways we can battle it from the inside. Of course, we often can't make waves, let alone changes, in our workplace - even less so in our culture. But what we can do is build our own defenses by becoming more resilient, poised, mindful and ultimately less stressed in the workplace (even if it feels like an impossible dream at the moment). Turning off autopilot - the brain's natural tendency to drift off or tune out, while the body continues to respond - is the first step in becoming more mindful, to help manage our emotional responses. Here we've broken down one of our exercises to help you intercept autopilot and take control of your wellbeing. Mindfulness for turning off autopilot (at work, and in life) -Write down 1 thing that stresses you about work (there may be a few, repeat as needed) -Be specific, details details details -Think about how you react in those situations, emotions, reactions, words, feelings -Write them down, too -Close your eyes and visualize the stressful situation. See faces, colors, furniture, and see yourself reacting as you normally would. This is your AWARENESS phase. Now you've brought awareness to that particular situation. That's the first important step! Good job! -Now think of how we can interrupt that automatic pilot/automatic reaction. - We know the situation, and how we normally react, so now we need to include an intervention to the situation. How can we intervene here, before we blow up/cry/panic etc? BY: Deep Breathing, simply recognizing the situation out loud, a big wide smile, mantra (I am calm, I'm remaining calm), physical action (tapping the fingers etc)…Or something else that might work for you. Choose one thing. Let's use 5 deep breaths, for now. NOW: -Visualize the moments before the stressful situation. You're there, taking 5 deep breaths, in full awareness of the situation you're about to move into. You're calm, breathing deeply, anticipating. But you're not worried about the situation. You're prepared to face it. -Now actually take those 5 deep breaths, and visualize the situation again. - See yourself in the situation, but this time you’re unaffected. You're totally in control. Utilizing your intervention to block the autopilot reaction. Inhaling, and exhaling. This is your REHEARSAL phase. Here's the tough part…EXECUTION DON'T PANIC. -Get into work, sit down for 3 minutes, go through the visualization. If you need to do this before you get into work, do it on the subway, or in the car. Visualize yourself in the stressful situation, but calm, cool as a cucumber, and in control. - Next time you anticipate finding yourself in that situation, go through your intervention (AWARENESS. REHEARSAL. EXECUTION - A.R.E) and you’ll be in a space to practice turning off the autopilot reaction when you encounter the stressful situation for real. NB. When this situation arises as per your anticipation, you've already gone through the steps to prepare yourself. If this stressful situ arises unexpectedly, we'll say it again; DON'T PANIC. You weren't prepared, but you DO have an intervention, and you can deploy it anytime! - Take those 5 deep breaths, say the mantra in your head, tap your fingers. You might be caught off guard, but you've prepared for this. Life is keeping you on your toes! You're gonna get through it. Getting it spot on the first time would be great, right!? But remember, this is a process of progress, so give yourself Kudos for the little wins! Practice makes progress ;)
Lunar New Year Survival: 3 Minute Meditation for Busy People
Perhaps many of us can agree; life is busy, fast and complicated, with little bits of napping and eating in between. For some of us, it can get even busier over the holidays; Family, travel, cooking, cleaning…It's the perfect recipe for excitement, fun, and stress. If this sounds like you - holidays or otherwise - here's a quick fix mindfulness meditation that can be done in 3 minutes (or longer if you have the time!) no matter where you are. EMERGENCY TOOL KIT MEDITATION Step 1. Five Deep Breaths Go somewhere quiet (if possible, if not, no worries) Take 5 deep breaths On the inhale, think 'peace'. Exhale, think 'calm' 2. Pay Attention Relax into your space and sit (or stand) with every sensation; every sound, smell, emotion or anything else that comes up. Let it exist without your interference. It is as it is. Without judgement. Without criticism. Without attaching meaning. For 1 minute, just be. 3. Breathe Head to Toe Close your eyes if it's safe to do so. Breathe in and out slowly. Imagine the breath soothing and relaxing you, melting away stress. As you inhale, imagine the breath rising to your head. On the exhale, imagine the breath reaching all the way down to your toes. Back up to the head. Down again, all the way to the toes. Your breath is clearing the way for relaxation, for non-judgement, and for calm. With each breath you're more relaxed, with each meditation you're training your mind! Win win. We all deserve a win. It's the holidays, after all. Breathe Deeply Friends~ #breathe #mindfulness #meditation #lunarnewyear #stress #설날 #스트레스 #호흡 #마인드풀니스 #명상 #웰미 #웰니스 #웰미웰니스솔루션 #wellmiwellnesssolutions
WellFEST Vol.2! Tickets on sale now!
After a long, sweaty summer of typhoons and air-conditioned cafes, we're ready for something to refresh the mind and body! Our full day wellness workshop WellFEST Vol.2 is back and we're excited to share what's in store for you! The WellMi family is always getting bigger, and we're very grateful to be part of your journey towards health, wellness and feeling great. In that spirit, let us share some of what we do best and meet us at the WellFEST Vol. 2 this September 29th!
More details to be confirmed later, but for now check out what's going on below~ And whatever you do, feel great about it! WellMi x
Wellness On The Water, 요트 선상에서 명상 요가 시간을 가져 보았습니다!(웰미 웰빙 투어 WellMi Wellbeing Tour)
Written by Heewon Kim 김희원
저번 주 목요일 WellMi wellbeing tour에서 선상 명상 요가 시간을 가졌습니다! Sea1 요트 클럽 함께했는데요. 미국인, 러시아인, 영국인, 호주인, 이란인, 스코틀랜드인 그리고 우리나라 분까지 다양한 국적의 참가자 분들이 함께 하셨습니다! 친절하신 선장님 덕분에 안전하고 편한 요가 시간을 가질 수 있었어요. Thank you captain! 해운대 요트 선착장을 떠나 동백섬 부터 광안리까지 돌아보며 마린시티와 광안리의 멋진 야경을 배경으로 멋진 사진들을 찍었습니다! 저도 오랫만에 제 카톡 프로필 사진을 바꿀 인생샷을 얻었어요~ ㅎㅎ 무더운 여름을 시원한 바닷 바람 그리고 마음이 편해지는 음악과 함께 하는 명상을 떨쳐 버려요! 함께해요 웰미 웰빙 투어! WellMi Wellbeing Tour! I had a mindfulness meditation session at the Wellmi wellbeing yacht tour. We sailed with Sea1 yacht club together. American, Russian, Brits, Australians, Iranians, and a Scot all together with our countrymen enjoyed fun, safe and comfortable meditation time thanks to the kind captain and the WellMi team! Thank you~ Leaving Haeundae yacht marina, I looked around from Dongbaek Island to Gwangalli and took great pictures against the backdrop of wonderful night views of Marine City and Gwangalli! It's been a while since I got a life shot to change my Kakao Talk profile picture. Haha~ Let's shake off the hot summer with the cool ocean breeze and relaxing music! Let's do it together. Welcome to the Well-being Tour!
Stave off the Winter Blues!
As the seasons change and the nights draw in, we’re greeted with the end of another year. While many look forward to the festivities of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, others start to struggle with the change of seasons, becoming more isolated in the colder, darker months. Some people call it the ‘winter blues’, but for others, the change of seasons can affect dramatic change in the body and mind. Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD, is a type of depression that appearsin a seasonal pattern. Symptoms of SAD can be more severe during the winter months, which is why many people call it ‘winter depression’ although others do feel symptoms in summer months, too. The causes of SAD still aren’t fully understood, but its theorized that lack of sunlight exposure during the long, dark winter months may affect the hypothalamus - a part of our brain - from functioning properly. This could affect the production of the hormone melatonin (related to wakefulness) and serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. It could also affect the body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) as our bodies rely on sunlight to help us time certain functions, such as waking up. A lack of sunlight could disrupt our body’s natural rhythm causing us to feel lethargic and low. It can be hard to tell if what we feel on a daily basis is ‘normal’ (and what does ‘normal’ mean, anyway?) So some symptoms to look out for include: Loss of interest in daily activities, low mood and self esteem, feeling irritated or lethargic, finding extreme difficulty in getting up in the morning, food cravings and weight gain. So to help you prepare for the dark nights and the winter ahead, here are some tips to help stave off those winter blues before the cold sets in. Light Therapy There are many light therapy treatments available these days, devices and technology that can lighten your mood by helping to regulate melatonin and other affected hormones. Whether you’re visiting a professional establishment or simply buying a light box for your home, it is always advisable to consult with a medical professional before beginning any treatment. There are a number of affordable light boxes, dawn simulators or blue light devices available online. Stay Active One surefire way to get the heart pumping and the mood lifted is to get active. Exercise transforms low mood and lethargy by flooding the brain with BDNF and endorphins. These chemicals make us feel great, and actually have a very addictive trait similar to morphine or nicotine. Getting outside for a run, brisk walk or even just a gentle stroll will make you feel better. Staying active is a great way to alleviate symptoms of SAD and other mood related symptoms. Take a Window Seat Sit next to a window whenever you are indoors, whether that means moving your desk next to the window at work or choosing a window seat when you go for coffee after lunchtime. Being next to the window will help you get some sunlight exposure to help the body produce Vitamin D, giving you a boost and benefitting your bones, blood cells and immune system. Eat Well Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential to helping maintain a healthy mind (and body). Why? In order for our brains to function at top speed, we need to fuel up properly. There are certain nutrients that have a huge impact on our cognitive function, even helping to combat depression and anxiety. Great mood-boosting nutrients include calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Eat up! Talk About It Acknowledging your symptoms and letting yourself ‘feel’ whats going on in your body is an important part of your overall wellbeing. Talking to someone out loud can help you work through your symptoms and care for yourself at the core. Sharing your thoughts with a trained professional can be helpful, and experts can help you develop and implement coping strategies for your healing process. Slowly, step by step. Socialize Perhaps talking to a professional seems a little daunting, or you’re not quite ‘there’ yet. Get outside and get into your supportive social circles to have fun. You don’t need to regale your best friends with all the grizzly details, simply boosting your social connections will increase your mood and increase your levels of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, often referred to as ‘happiness hormones’. Avoid toxic people at all costs! Build a Fort Sometimes the last thing we want to do is be next to other people, and that’s completely fine. Self preservation and self care are not selfish. Why not try building yourself a little fort in your bedroom - aromatherapy candle, favorite movies, throw away that phone, stock up on some non-greasy snacks and take a lot of naps. Keeping a relaxed atmosphere and a clear head can help you tune in and chill out. While there are many healthy things we can do to help alleviate feelings of low mood, lethargy or hopelessness, sometimes we just don’t have the energy or the desire to try. That’s ok. Feeling down now and again is completely ‘normal’, however if you suffer prolonged symptoms and find it hard to cope, you may be experiencing more than just the winter blues. Just make sure that you have some tools in your toolbox for when you feel ready to take action and reach out to someone who can be there for you, because you’re never alone. If you feel you or someone you know are showing symptoms of SAD or are suffering from any other kind of depression, please contact your GP as soon as possible, as these wellbeing tips are not a replacement for professional medical treatment. Stay warm and well this winter. A small list of local mental health and wellness resources can be found here.
Shin-Rin Yoku - The Art of Forest Bathing
Forest bathing, at first glance, could simply look like a walk in the woods. However the main objective is not the walking itself, but the ‘being’ in nature, connection, immersion, it’s about absorbing the atmosphere, paying attention to the experience and allowing the forest to work it’s natural ‘magic’ so to speak. When autumn rolls around each year, Busanites dash outdoors to bask in the beauty of the fall foliage and snap that essential Insta-worthy selfie. It’s really no wonder; Nationwide, Busan boasts some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes and hotspots for ‘당풍놀이’ — enjoying the beautiful changing colors of autumn leaves. The colors of fall soothe us; the change from a hot, sticky summer into a cool, vibrant autumn refreshes us as the winds blow stronger and the deep blue nights become chilly. It’s magic. Colorful, natural magic. But the magic of getting out into nature runs much deeper than any #nofilter shot could ever hope to convey. Spending time in nature, and amongst the majesty of tall, silent trees in particular, actually makes you healthier. A concept born in Japan named ‘Shinrin-Yoku’, or quite simply ‘forest bathing’, is nature therapy in its most beautiful and simple form. Forest bathing, at first glance, could simply look like a walk in the woods. However the main objective is not the walking itself, but the ‘being’ in nature, connection, immersion, it’s about absorbing the atmosphere, paying attention to the experience and allowing the forest to work it’s natural ‘magic’ so to speak. The therapeutic benefits are credited largely to phytoncides – antimicrobial essential oils with natural healing properties – but the whole experience of Shinrin-Yoku is transformative. Click here to find out our Five Great Spots to Heal Your Mind, Body, and Soul in Busan So what’s so great about it? There have been scores of scientific studies conducted on the effects of Shinrin-yoku since the term was coined in 1982 when Japan made ‘forest bathing’ part of its national health program. The documented results (and ongoing studies) show that forest bathing is scientifically proven to: Reduce Stress Studies have shown a significant decrease in the levels of cortisol in those who take a leisurely forest walk compared to a leisurely urban walk. Boost Your Mood By spending some time in nature we detach from the high-speed dot com insta-world and connect to our roots. Studies have shown that from simply spending time in nature, feelings of contentment increase and feelings of confusion and urgency are reduced. Increase Creativity & Cognitive Function Time in nature boosts our creative juices and enhances our mental performance. In one study participants were found to perform 50% better on creative problem-solving tasks after wilderness backpacking compared to their urban-based counterparts. Decrease Inflammation (including better skin, relief for sore muscles and improvement in respiratory conditions) Inflammation can cause a multitude of unpleasantries in the body, as we well know. This can range from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema to respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD, to inflammation in the liver and brain. Forest air is naturally fresher and cleaner than city air, and the trees release natural compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body, reducing symptoms of inflammation and increasing wellbeing. Create Natural (born) Killers The body has a natural cell, called NK, that actively seeks out and destroys cancer cells and bacterial infections in the body. Pretty badass. One particular Japanese study showed that after just 3 nights in the forest, participants’ average increase in NK cells was a staggering 50% compared to those participants who encountered a normal working environment during the study. Additionally, a simple leisurely stroll into the forest can help to reduce blood pressure, improve the health of the nervous system and accelerate recovery from illness. It allows us a mini-vacation from our hectic daily lives, its FREE of charge, and benefits everyone. So how do we do it? Simply head out to your favorite wooded area, forest, mountain or tree-filled neighborhood park.Walk leisurely with ease, calmly and without any particular direction. The aim is to enjoy the forest, not to get hot and sweaty, running like a hog up Halla San.Engage all your senses to notice everything around you – the colors of the leaves, the motion created by the wind, the smells and sounds of the forest, branches cracking below and above you, the taste of the air, the touch of the ground beneath your feet.Lather. Rinse. Repeat. And that’s it! Simple, effective, fun and free. And what better way to check out Busan in autumn than a leisurely, healing walk under the golden boughs of the ever-changing city. Wherever you go to for your Shinrin-yoku practice, make sure to indulge your senses in the delights of the city, and savor the colorful changing palette of nature right here in our dynamic Busan! #lifestyle #healthtips #forestbathing #foresthealing
A Spot to Relax, Right in the City…
Busan has it all – the ocean, the mountains, a high-tech metropolis of business and brands; it’s no wonder Busan was named Lonely Planet’s “Best Place to Visit in Asia for 2018”. But just when you thought you’d explored every part of the city, you take a left turn and end up somewhere completely new. Right in the heart of the city, nestled near the peak of Geumnyeonsan mountain, lies the Geumnyeonsan Youth Training Institute (부산광역시 금련산청소년수련원). At first glance, the name of the venue seems to suggest you’ll be sleeping in barracks and doing push ups before breakfast, however the GYTI houses a number of wonderful facilities whilst simultaneously being set in the middle of Busan’s breathtaking natural landscape. The GYTI runs as a youth training centre, managed by Busan Metropolitan City, and boasts numerous facilities including a youth campground, dormitories, an astronomy observatory, an auditorium, and a fitness center. The centre and grounds are open to the public, and are frequented by locals and tourists alike. There is also an outdoor stage area with plenty of seating, Other facilities include a planetarium, physical training facilities and Haeoreum artificial rock climbing wall which, although I didn’t scale it, looked pretty awesome. The training centre grounds are spread comfortably across the mountain, with healing paths and promenades manicured and maintained beautifully, and the roads wide enough for coaches full of would-be astrologers. Look out from the pagoda at the top of the grounds for a real treat; spectacular views sprawling across the city, with the iconic Gwangan ‘Diamond’ Bridge right there below you like a Lego model city, constructed with brick-by-brick precision. There are a number of public toilets within the grounds, and you’ll see nature-lovers of all ages enjoying the mountain air on any given day. However, given the recent weather, check the air quality before you head out, and invest in a high quality KF mask, available in any pharmacy in the city. The GYTI is pretty far up the mountain, access to the grounds is easiest by car or taxi, and parking is available for just 2,000won (pay on entry). If you think you’d manage the hike to the top, you’ll be met with refreshment-stocked outdoor vending machines as well as a beautiful, calming place to lay down and catch your breath (read: regain consciousness). Directions below. The GYTI runs programs including physical fitness activities, emotional cultivation activities, and natural science activities, and the facilities can also be rented privately or by groups for a very small fee, and you can stay over in the log cabin or the dormitory. It was great to walk around, taking in views of Busan from above, soaking in the sound of birds in the trees and branches cracking underfoot. We spent around an hour and a half walking through wisteria-lined paths, picking up pine cones and spotting mountain tabbies. We played on the equipment and really enjoyed the calming atmosphere of the area, despite the winter chill nipping at the fingers. If you’re looking for a place to relax, invigorate, learn and play all at the same time, Geumnyeonsan Youth Training Institute offers all of the above and more. Programs run year-round for all ages. If you want more information, you can call the Busan Travel Hotline 1330 and +82-2-1330 from abroad. Assistance in Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese is available. Alternatively, call the Centre directly on +82-51-625-0709 or visit the website (Korean only). Getting there on foot: Take the subway to Geumnyeonsan Station (subway Line 2) and exit through gate number six.
Go straight and take a right at the first alley. Continue straight until you see the Nam Busan Post Office Distribution Center. Take a left and continue for around 32 meters then take a right at the three-way intersection.
When you see Busan Joongang Presbyterian Church (부산중앙교회), keep walking along the trail until you reach the venue. The distance is around 1.3km but might feel longer with the incline and especially on a hot day! Don’t forget to bring water! MAP Follow me @scottishajumma on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube #program #hapskorea #healingenglish #thinkthinktalk #kindness #history #tourism #scottishajumma #wellnesstourism #wellness #mentalhealth #foresteducation #wellbeingtourism #southkorea #sleep #self #livewellness #therapy #healinghacks #mantra #forgiveness #wellbeing #lauramcluckie #socialmedia #southkorea #livewell #2019 #mentalhealth #citytour #woods #help #ocean #blog #education #facebook #forestbathing #love #shinrinyoku #sunrise #lifewellness #laura #mindfulness #foresttourprogram #resources #positive #foresttour #mountain #buddhism #ecotourism #listening #tour #forest #stressrelief #learning #healing #busan #lifestyle
Mindful Health Hacks for 2019
Volume 1: SLEEP Getting a good nights sleep sometimes seems impossible; work deadlines, noisy neighbors, your best friend insomnia outstaying their party season welcome… But good sleep is essential to the upkeep of our mental and physical health and wellbeing. Sleep is the body’s natural healer, and is involved in the growth and repair of our heart and blood vessels. Lack of sleep has been linked to cardiovascular disease, high levels of stress, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. While you sleep you consolidate memories from your short term into your long term memory, kind of like a computer program backs up data, the brain uses sleep to update and download. Your sleep provides the body much needed rest so that we function better throughout the day, it improves brain function, relieves stress, increases focus…we could go on and on. Also, sleeping is just really, pretty great. Snuggling down between clean sheets, blanket yanked up to the chin, pillow soft as a cloud…let the ZZZ’s commence! But if this seems more like a pipe dream than a waking reality, here are 3 ways to promote healthy, deep sleep. Solar Power Charge Especially in winter, a lot of us wake in the dark, go to work in the dark, sit in starkly lit offices then come home after the sun has long set. Buzzkill. Getting enough light might not seem like it would make a difference to our sleep patterns, right? But it affects us in lots of weird and wonderful ways, including having a huge effect on our sleep. Light is essential to help regulate our circadian rhythm, otherwise known as our natural body clock, which influences our sleep patterns. To make sure we’re getting enough of those delicious rays, go outside during daytime to boost your vitamin D and to help regulate your circadian rhythm, which will allow you to feel awake and tired when you’re ‘supposed’ to. TIP: Best places to get outside in Busan? Well, honestly, there are so many places to step outside and enjoy the rays, and simply walking down any side street, alley or park lane will have benefit and charm. But if you’re looking for inspiration, check out the top 15 sightseeing spots for 2019 and take your pick! No Tech 60 Tech is cool. And convenient. And did we say cool? But as we know it has its cons as well. These convenient-cool devices emit blue light, which disrupts the production of melatonin in the pineal gland. Melatonin helps control your daily wake and sleep cycles, so using smart phones, tablets and other devices before bedtime suppresses melatonin production causing the brain to stay switched on. According to sleep.org: “Typically, melatonin levels start to rise in the mid-to-late evening, after the sun has set. They stay elevated for most of the night while you’re in the dark. Then, they drop in the early morning as the sun rises, causing you to awaken.” In light of this (pun intended) put your phone far, far away at least 60 mins before you sleep to allow the natural production of melatonin to occur, encouraging a better nights sleep. In fact make that all tech. Read a book, meditate, take a warm shower, go for a stroll etc. Just stay off that screen! TIP: In Busan we’re lucky enough to have safe streets with parks, mountains and trees around every turn. Why not take a before-bedtime stroll around your local neighborhood and discover something new about the city. 5am EXERCISE!! Ok, ok – maybe not 5am, but getting up out of bed and exercising in the morning has been found to be more effective than at any other time of the day. How about 7? By getting in a mini workout in the morning you can kill it while everyone else slams the snooze button. Suckers! If we kickstart our metabolism and the Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) process early doors, we continue to burn calories long after our workout ends, we improve sleep rhythms, we jumpstart the brain and produce lots of good hormones, too. This all together leads us to a better sleep at night, when the body naturally starts to produce melatonin earlier in the evening and we ‘cool down’ from the hustle and bustle of the day. Keep in mind that EPOC is influenced by workout intensity rather than duration, which means your workout doesn’t need to be a 2 hour session, rather the minimum effective dose – aka the smallest amount required to produce a desired outcome – will kickstart your metabolism and will keep you burning calories well into the day as well as leading to a better sleep at night. No slogging away for hours on the dreadmill; a morning quickie does the trick. Btw, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been found most effective in stimulating the EPOC effect. Plus getting up early to workout builds self discipline, self esteem and means that once you’re done with your workout, you’ve already won the day. Add to that all the other benefits of exercise, you’ve got 2019 in the bag. Basically…get some sunlight, don’t play Anipang until 1am, and do 4 minutes of Tabata on Youtube in the morning, and you’ll be on your way to better sleep and better overall wellbeing long into 2019. #wellness #mentalhealth #sleep #self #therapy #healinghacks #wellbeing #southkorea #2019 #motivation #help #blog #education #love #sunrise #mindfulness #resources #media #positive #learning #healing #lifestyle
How to Battle the Winter Blues
As the seasons change and the nights draw in, we’re greeted with the end of another year. While many look forward to the festivities of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, others start to struggle with the change of seasons, becoming more isolated in the colder, darker months. Some people call it the ‘winter blues’, but for others, the change of seasons can affect dramatic change in the body and mind. Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD, is a type of depression that appears in a seasonal pattern. Symptoms of SAD can be more severe during the winter months, which is why many people call it ‘winter depression’ although others do feel symptoms in summer months, too. The causes of SAD still aren’t fully understood, but its theorized that lack of sunlight exposure during the long, dark winter months may affect the hypothalamus – a part of our brain – from functioning properly. This could affect the production of the hormone melatonin (related to wakefulness) and serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. It could also affect the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) as our bodies rely on sunlight to help us time certain functions, such as waking up. A lack of sunlight could disrupt our body’s natural rhythm causing us to feel lethargic and low. It can be hard to tell if what we feel on a daily basis is ‘normal’ (and what does ‘normal’ mean, anyway?) So some symptoms to look out for include: Loss of interest in daily activities, low mood and self esteem, feeling irritated or lethargic, finding extreme difficulty in getting up in the morning, food cravings and weight gain. So to help you prepare for the dark nights and the winter ahead, here are some tips to help stave off those winter blues before the cold sets in. Light Therapy There are many light therapy treatments available these days, devices and technology that can lighten your mood by helping to regulate melatonin and other affected hormones. Whether you’re visiting a professional establishment or simply buying a light box for your home, it is always advisable to consult with a medical professional before beginning any treatment. There are a number of affordable light boxes, dawn simulators or blue light devices available online. Stay Active One surefire way to get the heart pumping and the mood lifted is to get active. Exercise transforms low mood and lethargy by flooding the brain with BDNF and endorphins. These chemicals make us feel great, and actually have a very addictive trait similar to morphine or nicotine. Getting outside for a run, brisk walk or even just a gentle stroll will make you feel better. Staying active is a great way to alleviate symptoms of SAD and other mood related symptoms. Take a Window Seat Sit next to a window whenever you are indoors, whether that means moving your desk next to the window at work or choosing a window seat when you go for coffee after lunchtime. Being next to the window will help you get some sunlight exposure to help the body produce Vitamin D, giving you a boost and benefitting your bones, blood cells and immune system. Eat Well Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential to helping maintain a healthy mind (and body). Why? In order for our brains to function at top speed, we need to fuel up properly. There are certain nutrients that have a huge impact on our cognitive function, even helping to combat depression and anxiety. Great mood-boosting nutrients include calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Eat up! Talk About It Acknowledging your symptoms and letting yourself ‘feel’ whats going on in your body is an important part of your overall wellbeing. Talking to someone out loud can help you work through your symptoms and care for yourself at the core. Sharing your thoughts with a trained professional can be helpful, and experts can help you develop and implement coping strategies for your healing process. Slowly, step by step. Socialize Perhaps talking to a professional seems a little daunting, or you’re not quite ‘there’ yet. Get outside and get into your supportive social circles to have fun. You don’t need to regale your best friends with all the grizzly details, simply boosting your social connections will increase your mood and increase your levels of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, often referred to as ‘happiness hormones’. Avoid toxic people at all costs! Build a Fort Sometimes the last thing we want to do is be next to other people, and that’s completely fine. Self preservation and self care are not selfish. Why not try building yourself a little fort in your bedroom – aromatherapy candle, favorite movies, throw away that phone, stock up on some non-greasy snacks and take a lot of naps. Keeping a relaxed atmosphere and a clear head can help you tune in and chill out. While there are many healthy things we can do to help alleviate feelings of low mood, lethargy or hopelessness, sometimes we just don’t have the energy or the desire to try. That’s ok. Feeling down now and again is completely ‘normal’, however if you suffer prolonged symptoms and find it hard to cope, you may be experiencing more than just the winter blues. Just make sure that you have some tools in your toolbox for when you feel ready to take action and reach out to someone who can be there for you, because you’re never alone. If you feel you or someone you know are showing symptoms of SAD or are suffering from any other kind of depression, please contact your GP as soon as possible, as these wellbeing tips are not a replacement for professional medical treatment. Stay warm and well this winter. A small list of local mental health and wellness resources can be found here.