Unwind from the grind — 3 ways to realign brain, body and spirit

Misbah Akhtar

Between child-rearing duties, romantic rendezvous and digital distractions, modern life feels busier than a rush hour Tokyo subway train.

And too many mums feel guilty taking a little ‘me time’ to relax, unwind and recharge their batteries.



We all need space for wholesome activities that nourish us and prevent burnout — so if you want to strike a natural balance, here are three ways to realign your brain, body and spirit.

1. Sweat lodge ceremony

If you’re a member of a well-appointed gym or have spent time in Scandinavian nations, you’ve probably already experienced the cleansing power of a sauna or steam room.

But for centuries, various Native American tribes have conducted a sweat lodge ceremony as a rite of passage during life’s milestones — combining the physical purifying power of heat with cathartic spiritual elements that rebalance the psyche.

Small lodges are constructed from branches and blankets in the wilderness and then heated to around 90°, with water gradually applied to ramp up humidity.

Ceremonies can take several hours, but participants seeking guidance during difficult times have reported visionary results — contact alternative therapists at the Edinburgh Shamanic Centre for advice on this unique experience.

2. Shinrin yoku

Shinrin yoku is the Japanese art of forest bathing — an immersive experience involving walking through an ambient forest, focusing exclusively on the beauty of the natural world in the present moment.

Its therapeutic benefits include improvements in the immune system function and heart health — backed by studies conducted at Japan’s Chiba University and Nippon Medical School.

The physiological and psychological benefits of tree bathing are a result of the essential oils trees radiate into the atmosphere to protect themselves against infection, and the calm, quiet and pure atmosphere in the heart of a dense forest.

Booking a break with eco-friendly travel firm Forest Holidays allows you to experience a spot of shinrin yoku for yourself — they even provide comfy treehouses and lodges with all the mod cons, so there’s no need to sleep under the stars (unless you really want to).

3. Superfoods

A healthy diet is one of the central pillars of good health — but when you’re pushed for time, it’s too easy to skip healthy meals and subsist on unhealthy snacks.

So one of the best ways of supplementing a diet that’s not as balanced as it should be is including superfoods — many of which are now available in convenient pre-packaged bars, pills and powders.

Dark chia seeds are full of fibre and healthy omega three and can be added to yoghurts and smoothies, while coconut palm sugar is an organic, vegan-friendly natural sweetener with a lower glycemic index than conventional sugar or honey.

Online health and wellbeing store Kijani Living carries a full range of superfoods and ethically sourced beauty products — well worth a browse when you’re on a holistic health kick.

So there are three ways to unwind from the grind — once you’ve incorporated them in your routine, you’ll feel beautifully balanced.

How do you unwind and recharge? Share your tips in the comments section.

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