There’s a real movement taking place, made up of people from different walks of life who recognise that the modern world is not good for our physical or our mental health. It involves neurologists and other medical professionals, alternative health practitioners, nutritionists, writers – and people like you and me.
I’ve pulled together three main strands in this movement to inform The Small Escape. They all have one aim in mind – to enable us to step out of the fast lane and heal our bodies and brains.
Neuroscience and Nutrition (or body and brain)
Over the past decade, neurologists have been researching and theorising on how various aspects of the modern world – the standard diet, digital overload, environmental toxins – are greatly detrimental to our brain health. And poor brain health leads directly to a whole load of other health issues, including Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety.
We also know so much more about good nutrition than we ever used to – and yet although allergies and intolerances are creeping ever higher, and our neurological health is getting worse, we are still not healing our bodies and brains.
The Small Escape munches up this explosion of information and breaks it down into simple, doable solutions. For example, to increase brain plasticity, and thereby neural connections you might try this dead easy exercise on breaking up your routine. Or to save decision overload and input a 20-minute tasty, nutritious, allergy-free meal, you could try the recipes I’m in the process of uploading to the blog.
Self-care is the latest buzzword on the street. Basically, it’s a snappy way of saying that we need to nurture ourselves in order to be happy, healthy and wise.
Although being with friends and family can be so beneficial for our well-being, self-care is about taking time out from the world in order to focus on someone really important: you. Then we can return to the fray, re-energised and refreshed, ready to tackle all the other vital things in life that require our energy and time.
These Small Escapes are mini bites of alone time, from a quick time-out fix to an evening of blissful permission that will also happen to benefit our bodies and brains. You might try this exercise on parasympathetic breathing, or indulging in a candlelit bath (something we all promise to do, and rarely achieve).
Mindfulness has been growing in popularity over the past decade, and I can’t see that slowing down. Originally based on the practice of meditation, it has expanded to encompass a variety of ideas on how to remain calm within the storm.
But basically it’s about a complete awareness of being in the moment, and we need it more now than ever before. We’re so often disconnected from our environment and our physical selves we have no idea what’s going on or where we are, and being mindful helps to ground and connect us. It has proven efficacy, if we can only achieve it.
That’s the difficult part, because it’s really, really hard to remain within the moment. That’s why I’ve devised various small activities to help connect us to the local environment – or in other words to be right here, right now. You might take a five-minute walk in nature, or find small details in the everyday.