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Coronavirus travel update

Wellness ideas from around the world

In these uncertain times, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsettled. Here we take inspiration from different cultures around the world on how to stay calm and improve our well-being.
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Forest Bathing, Japan

Feel the stress melt away as you embrace the Japanese practice of forest bathing. Listen to leaves crunching underfoot, birds singing in the trees and the wind whistling through the branches. Grab a handful of earth and feel the velvety touch of mossy branches as you breathe in lungs full of fresh air and sense the gentle kiss of the breeze on your cheeks. For the Japanese, Forest Bathing reduces stress, improves sleep quality, and regains one's focus. So, if you need some respite, head to a forest (while being careful to maintain social distancing), or simply get out into your back garden to take advantage of this effective natural remedy. You can even look online for some virtual forest bathing.

Hygge, Denmark

With social distancing in full swing, we are all spending a lot more time at home. Take inspiration from the Danish concept hygge to transform your living spaces into an oasis of calm. Hygge embraces feelings of wellness, fulfilment and happiness and is often used by the Danes to create peace and harmony in their lives. Keep your decor simple and rooms clutter-free, dim the lighting or light some candles and incorporate lots of soft furnishings draped with sumptuous blankets and cosy cushions. Whether you're snuggling down with a good book to research your next travel adventure or tucking into a Netflix box set, make sure your home evokes feelings of serenity for ultimate relaxation and contentment. 

Friluftsliv, Scandinavia

Escape the 24-hour news feed and social media frenzy to spend a little time in the natural world each day. This is what the Norwegians mean by friluftsliv or 'open-air life.' Embracing an outdoor lifestyle is a key part of Norwegian, Swedish and Danish culture and is said to boost well-being mentally, physically and spiritually. Jump in the saddle to explore the countryside by bike, take a stroll along a local footpath or set off for an easy-paced run in your neighbourhood. And if you can't leave home, try spending some time in your garden, on a balcony or even at your front door; look up to the sky, hear the birds sing and breathe in some crisp fresh air to feel the benefits. 

Meditation, Asia

Use meditation to switch off, focus and achieve mindfulness, clarity and a state of calm amongst the chaos. Originating from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism, meditation is practised the world over but is particularly prevalent across Asia. From the saffron-robed monks of Luang Prabang in Laos to the Buddhist monasteries of South Korea, we frequently meet meditating communities on our trips. In addition to improving your mental well-being, meditation can help to reduce blood pressure, ease chronic pain and reduce stress. Download an app with guided meditation to start your journey towards inner peace. 

Fika, Sweden

A far cry from the quick grab-and-go coffee experience that many of us are familiar with, Fika promotes the act of taking time to slow down, stop, and enjoy a soothing hot brew with your favourite sweet treat. The main aim is to take a break and enjoy a bit of downtime during your busy day. So put your phone on silent, switch off the TV and clear your mind as you sit back and really appreciate the moment - you'll likely feel a whole lot better for it. In Sweden, Fika with friends, family or colleagues is particularly popular, so why not arrange to Facetime a friend and catch up over your morning coffee break. 

Yoga, India

Get the blood pumping to wash away toxins and release those feel-good endorphins during an invigorating yoga session. Yoga is a well-established discipline in the western world, but its origins lie in the heart of India dating back as far as 3000 BCE. These days, yoga is primarily seen as a posture-based physical exercise that is good for mobility, stress and relaxation. In India, however, it goes even further with meditation and spirituality at its core. But, whichever way you choose to embrace this popular practice, yoga can be a great way to cleanse your thoughts and help your body to unwind. Take a look on YouTube to find a plethora of expert yoga teachers and follow an online class to feel a sense of zen. 

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