Saturday, June 13, marks the third annual Global Wellness Day.[1.Globalwellnessday.org, http://www.globalwellnessday.org/en/#about] That’s right, a whole day dedicated not only to taking care of yourself physically, but also boosting your mental and emotional health as well. Every year on the second Saturday in June, people in more than 40 countries around the world run marathons, participate in workshops and symposiums, and practice living-well rituals like yoga and meditation in support of the slogan: One day can change your whole life.
“Why don’t we have a special day dedicated to living well, despite the fact that it’s one of the most important things in life?” says Belgin Aksoy, creative director at Richmond International and owner of the Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa on Lake Sapanca in Turkey—a driving force behind the Global Wellness Day movement. “Our goal is to make this a day that’s celebrated on an international level, to spread awareness of living well, and to be instrumental in developing people’s perspective on health.”[2.McCave, Lesley, “Gearing Up for Global Wellness Day In 2015,” http://www.dayspamagazine.com/blog/gearing-global-wellness-day-2015]
Ramping up for the 2015 celebration, the folks behind Global Wellness Day advise seven steps to integrating wellness into your lifestyle:[3.Globalwellnessday.org, http://www.globalwellnessday.org/en/#about]
- Walk for an hour
- Drink more water
- Do not use plastic bottles
- Eat organic food
- Do a good deed
- Have a family dinner
- Go to sleep at 10:00pm.
At WebMD, we, too, support a culture of well being on a grand scale each and every day. To help you and your employees make the most out of Global Wellness Day, we’ve come up with five suggestions on how to make the most of your Saturday—and the other 364 days of the year.
1. Take a hike. While you might not have realized that June 6 was National Trails Day or that June is National Camping Month, there’s still plenty of time to lace up those hiking boots and get outdoors. Whether it’s a quiet stroll around the nearest lake or a longer trek to the summit of a nearby mountain, hiking has plenty of benefits, including lowering your risk of heart disease, improving your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improving your balance and strengthening your core, and toning muscles. Plus, being surrounded by all those trees does wonders for your mood and general well being. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.”[4.Robinson, Kara Mayer, “How Hiking Is Good for Body and Mind,” http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/hiking-body-mind]
2. Unwind with a massage. Sure, letting an expert masseuse rub your shoulders and work out the kinks in your muscles for an hour or more sounds like a luxury not everyone can afford. But the practice actually has more real health benefits than meets the eye. According to the Mayo Clinic, just 15 minutes of deep tissue, Swedish, sports, or trigger-point massage can improve digestive disorders; combat Fibromyalgia, headaches, and insomnia related to stress; lower anxiety levels; or ease nerve and joint pain.[5.Mayo Clinic Staff, “Massage: Get In Touch With Its Many Benefits,” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743?pg=2] For a run-down of some of the different type of massages as well as their benefits, check out what WebMD has to say here.
3. Eat a salad. According to the CDC, adults in the United States consume fruit about 1.1 times per day and vegetables about 1.6 times per day.[6.Center for Disease Control, “State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables 2013,” http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/downloads/State-Indicator-Report-Fruits-Vegetables-2013.pdf]While that might sound like enough, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, suggest we can—and should—eat a lot more for three reasons:
- Most fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of under-consumed nutrients, such as folate, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K.[7.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010,” http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf] Our body needs these nutrients to function optimally.
- Eating blueberries, bananas, leafy greens, beans, and the like helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Some studies suggest that 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day can offset cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, and help prevent some forms of cancer.
- Fruits and veggies are a low-fat, low-calorie food! When prepared without added salt or sugar, wolfing down a bowl full of strawberries or munching on carrot sticks can satisfy hunger pangs while keeping off the pounds.
The next Dietary Guidelines for Americans report will be released in early 2016. But in the meantime, do your body a favor and chop up a bowl of veggies and fruit for lunch. And find out more about why WebMD thinks salads are extra beneficial for your body and mind here.
4. Spend time with friends. It seems like a no-brainer that hitting the local movie theater with a pal or joining a group of colleagues for a day of rock-climbing can do more than just boost the spirit. In fact, hanging out with friends might help you live a longer life. In 2010, researchers at Brigham Young University studying the impact of friendship on mortality risk published a report on 148 different studies involving 308,849 people from different countries and of different ages. What they found was that people who cultivated strong social bonds had a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival over 7.5 years compared with their friendless (or not-so-social) counterparts.
“One of the secrets to longer lifespan may be to get connected,” says David R. Hamilton, Ph.D., author of I HEART ME: The Science of Self-Love and How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body. “It might mean having more regular contact with family or friends. For some, it might mean joining a club, taking up line dancing, or even starting a language class.”[8.Hamilton, David R., “Why Friends May Be Your Ticket to Living to 100,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-r-hamilton-phd/longevity-_b_1978890.html] Check out WebMD’s take on the health benefits of friendships here.
5. Make a pledge. If you already eat loads of salads, socialize with friends while hiking, and take time to nurture your mind, why not make a pledge to do something you’ve never done before to ring in Global Wellness Day? Volunteer your time at the local chapter of the Humane Society or a food bank. Spruce up your garden with a little weeding or plant new flowers (a colorful garden is a great way to please your neighbors!). Call up a distant relative for a friendly chat. Or make a health goal to beat for next year’s Global Wellness Day. Use your imagination! Whatever you come up with, make sure it’s fun—and stick to it. There’s nothing more satisfying than reaching for success and achieving it.