Check out our picks of the year’s best in wellness.
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As the weather warms up and our energy levels increase, it can be a great time to reevaluate our intentions for the year. My favorite way to press the reset button? Podcasts. By creating an atmosphere of growth and learning, I can tune into some added wellness inspiration to boost my happiness in a big way.
Start your mental spring cleaning with these six inspiring podcasts, each of which explores different components of wellness. The best part? You can listen to them while doing other good-for-you activities, like finding your zen in yoga, going for a walk, meal prepping, or during your evening skincare routine.
Launched last year, this newer podcast already has me hooked. Hurry Slowly tackles the great struggle around having enough time. Host Jocelyn K. Glei offers thoughtful advice on how to boost productivity, concentration, and creativity while reducing stress. The secret? Slowing down, occasionally unplugging from our devices, getting outside, and paying attention to our surroundings. Paired with insightful interviews with psychologists, researchers, and other thought leaders, Glei’s astute observations are definitely worth a listen.
A self-described “happiness bully,” best-selling author Gretchen Rubin and her co-host/sister, Elizabeth Craft, discuss happiness hacks for everyday life. From creating weekly phone dates with your best friend to setting aside a “power hour” to get all your errands done ASAP, these ladies will have you rethinking your routine. Each episode contains easy, try-this-at-home tips to create lasting healthy habits, how-to’s for habit change, and ways to tackle difficult problems based on your personality type. When you need a little motivation to get more sleep, eat better, procrastinate less, or make time for fun (who doesn’t?), this one’s for you!
Another star newcomer is Well Now, by natural wellness brand Saje and hosted by Meghann Shantz. Focused on empowering listeners to take control of their health and advocate for themselves, Well Now is opening the dialogue between traditional and alternative medicine. With personal stories as well as conversations with doctors, wellness practitioners, and integrative medicine experts, Well Now explores root causes, treatment options, and alternative perspectives on a variety of health-related topics, from anxiety to antibiotics. This podcast highlights the undeniable connection between mental health and physical well-being.
After suffering a panic attack on live TV, ABC news anchor Dan Harris turned to meditation to help heal the underlying causes of his anxiety. Initially a skeptic, his experience was transformative and led him to write a book, create this podcast, and develop an app, all called 10% Happier. Determined to bring meditation into the mainstream, Harris’ conversations with everyone from the Dalai Lama to RuPaul provide relatable advice and useful tools for how to reap the benefits of mindfulness and to create a meditation practice for yourself—even if it’s just one minute a day.
Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love fame) adapted her most recent book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, into this inspiring podcast. If you’ve ever started a creative project and gotten stuck halfway—or maybe have been too scared to get started at all—Magic Lessons is your answer. Each episode, Gilbert speaks with a listener who is struggling with their creativity, offers her wisdom, and then calls on fellow writers, artists, and musicians for further insight into the creative process. She gives her protégées “homework assignments” to help them get unstuck and move past their fears, all with her signature wit and nurturing encouragement.
Whether you want a little pick-me-up or need some healthy habit hacks, there’s a wellness podcast for that. Plug in your headphones and turn the volume up on some inspirational (and realistic) insight!
For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.
This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal.
You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.
As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.
Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.
The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.
A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.
The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.
The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.
Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.
Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th.
Do you live by the ocean? Paddle out with an instructor.
Don't live by the water, but still want to train for your next surf trip? Consider these classes.
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