10 ways to boost your well-being (no gym in sight!)

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If you’re ready to come out of hibernation and get active again, but the thought of treadmills bores you to tears, here are 10 smart health and wellness trends to try in 2019

wellbeing concept

1. Interactive home workouts

Fitness DVDs are so last century; now it’s all about live-streamed sessions and on-demand apps. Online communities like GymCube offer classes like HIIT, combat, dance and your own personal training plan. 

Yogaia connects you to yoga teachers in live classes, while Fiit.tv brings sessions from big-name trainers into your living room in real time, as well as tracking your progress and delivering live stats. 

2. Wild swimming 

Simply known as ‘swimming’ in the old days, open water swimming hit the mainstream last year with loads of national papers giving top spots to try it out. 

Now, Find a Race lists 10 times as many open water events for 2019 as two years ago, with fresh and seawater swimming both making waves.

It’s great fun - if bracing - but, before you go, read up thoroughly on the risks of wild swimming, which can include cold water shock, hypothermia and slipping on rocks. 

Top tips: 

  • Never plunge into untested waters
  • Check the temperature first and wade in carefully
  • Remember pools, rivers and the sea can still be cold in a heatwave

3. Wellness festivals

Yoga outside

The antithesis of weekend-long raves, and ditching the excess of Download, today’s festival is all about reconnecting; with each other, with nature and with ourselves. 

Glastonbury may have The Cure this year, but the wellbeing festival is more likely to make you feel better, with yoga brunches, group running and healing therapies - usually deep in a lush emerald forest or overlooking the sea. 

Head to Wilderness in Oxfordshire to take part in dawn runs and lake swims, or try Pembrokeshire’s ‘feel good’ festival The Big Retreat Wales for cookery classes, circus skills and outdoor yoga above the magical Cleddau estuary. Just don’t forget your festival insurance!

4. Day-caytions 

In need of a little R&R without the expense of an overnight break? The day-cation could be just the thing to work your wellbeing back on track. DayBreakHotels.co.uk has launched 'daycays', where guests can check into luxury hotels for six to eight hours and make full use of the spa, gym and breakfast. 

Daycays are available in 50 UK cities and more than 3,500 hotels worldwide. Worth every penny - even if just for 40 unbroken winks in a blissfully crisp bed!

If you’re planning on staying in the UK for your holiday this year, check out our guide to the best staycation spots across the country

5. JOMO (the joy of missing out)

The perfect antidote to FOMO - the fear of missing out, to you and me - JOMO celebrates turning down the noise and being present in the ‘now’ - without the need to update your 793 Instagram followers through a glossy filter. 

“The art of JOMO is learning to ask yourself whether it matters and if it’s a good use of your time,” says wellbeing expert Lynette Evans. 

“Practise saying no to people, so you can focus on the things you really want to do.” 

With this in mind, boutique apart-hotel brand Roomzzz is trialling ‘The JOMO’, an overnight break all about the staying in and switching off. With a special box in which to deposit all devices, not to mention complimentary cosy socks, an eye mask, herbal teas and an in-room massage or a yoga mat, you might never switch back on!

6. Sound sleep 

When Prince Harry was spotted sporting a sleep-tracking Oura ring on the Royal tour of Australia at the end of 2018, tip-top shuteye was instantly on this year’s agenda. 

Going hand in hand with JOMO, above, good old-fashioned rest really is the best medicine but, while Harry’s high-tech, health-tracking jewellery may improve sleep for princely jet-setters between time zones, the rest of us are more at risk of ‘social jet lag’, which happens when we binge-sleep on weekends. 

MetroNaps CEO Christopher Lindholst suggests going to bed and waking up at the same time every day - yes, even on Sundays! - to combat the significant stress that drastic sleep changes can cause. 

A long nap on Saturday and Sunday afternoons is, he suggests, the answer, aiming for a full sleep cycle of about 90 minutes.

7. Wild camping

wild camping

Ah camping; that Great Outdoors getaway that sees you lined up in regimented rows on manicured grass with all the other get-awayers. If the hum of the tent next door’s mini-fridge keeps you awake at night, try pitching up literally in the middle of nowhere for a more authentic ‘wild’ camp. 

Permitted in Scotland, wild camping isn’t strictly legal in England and Wales, but many landowners and some national parks will let you camp discreetly as long as you’re respectful and leave no trace (that includes your, um, waste, by the way). 

The Woodland Trust has a good guide to wild camping rules, while Countryfile suggests the wild camping hotspots you need to head to.

8. Energy healing 

Dating back thousands of years and hot for 2019, energy healing is a holistic practice that claims to remove mental blocks and physical pain. 

According to London-based energy healer Master Oh, the human energy Qi allows communication between our cells and organs and is vital to our wellbeing. 

Master Oh teaches clients to cultivate a ‘beautiful mind’ by offering a range of treatments for conditions including fatigue, pain, digestive issues and insomnia, as well as energy clearing for your home or business!

9. Rounders 

If you thought rounders had been relegated to the 1980s’ schoolyard, it’s back - with a true millennial makeover. Remember what it was like to race around all the bases, or to catch your friend out? 

Thanks to Rounders England you can recreate the fun at Rounderfest, a series of standalone contests open to all. Spokesman Dan Newton said: “You don’t have to be the fittest, the youngest or the most athletic - you just have to go out and play!” 

10. Forest bathing

Forest bathing

The Japanese art of forest bathing, known as shinrin-yoku, brings new meaning to walking in the woods. 

Studies in Japan show that connecting with the sights, sounds and scents of the forest helps to reduce stress, depression and sleeplessness, while improving blood pressure, boosting our immune system and simply increasing happiness! 

Three Kyoto hotspots are the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, the Kifune-jinja Shrine and the cedars and cypresses of Keihoku but, if Japan’s a bit of a stretch, you could more easily try Keldy in Yorkshire, the Forest of Dean or Castlewellan in County Down. 

If you want to be authentic and try forest bathing in Japan, we’ve got a bumper guide to travelling to Japan through the seasons

If you’re a healthy step ahead and already planning a whole wellness holiday, you need to read our 2019 travel trends. Just remember, there’s no ‘joy in missing out’ on the right travel insurance!

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