Twelve months ago I came to the South of France eager to make changes in the way I was living. I wanted to become more present and serene, practice more yoga, eat better and sleep more. Basically, take really good care of my overall wellbeing. Lately I have been reflecting on what my wellbeing changes have been and what they mean to me. Here they are:

  • Cold morning swim: Anything more revitalising and bringing bigger sensations of aliveness I don’t know. I am in nature, immersed in salt water which I love, with beautiful sights around. I feel brave going into the cold and happy going out. It is the best start I know to a new day. It feels like a win and it is good for my skin. In summer when the sea is warm I “use” the sea in a different way. I swim for a longer time. I find it amazing to be able to benefit from the sea all year round.
  • Lemon water: I read that a half lemon squeezed in water first thing in the morning is good for health so I’ll have that. I call it my sunshine drink. Menton, where I live, is the Lemon City in France, how appropriate. I feel right on the same frequency as this place haha.
  • Celery juice: Driving down to Menton I brought my big juicer with me. I hadn’t used it for years, now it is the most dominant machine in my kitchen… I prepare a big glass of celery juice every morning. Within the first week I felt peace in my belly (can’t explain it otherwise). It feels nourishing to drink and has been great for my skin.
  • Enjoying looking outside as I wake up: I have been looking outside as I wake up for several years but here it is different: I have the sea and sky right in front of me. There are always changes in the water and the sky. I love being reminded that nothing stays the same forever. I am into change and growth. As I watch the sun come up it naturally fills me with gratitude.
  • Sauna: There is a spa with sauna right next to where I live and I go (preferably) three times a week. I have read that it is good to do 3 x 19 minutes in the sauna per week for health and longevity (got to be precise!) and I totally believe it. I do sauna first and then I will have a cold shower. The session makes me feel soft, calm and purified. I notice my calmness as I always end up walking home from sauna really slowly.
  • More, as well as more varied, intake of fresh fruits and vegetables: This sounds super healthy and it makes me feel healthy just thinking about it. I am not over-healthy though… yet! The croissants and pains au chocolat from the local boulangeries easily tempt me.
  • Regular outdoor yoga practice: I am lucky to have a great outdoor space for my practice and that helps a lot. In addition to the joy I feel moving on the mat, outdoor movement practice means fresh air, sunshine on my body, feeling alive and in tune with nature.
  • Spirituality: My intake of spirituality has grown immensely since I have come here. It is giving me peace within, more confidence in myself and a deeper knowing of my purpose. Which is to be a light in this world and share my joy for life so that I can help others uncover their light and joy. This topic is so big I cannot express it the right way in this article.
  • Sleep: Increasing my hours of sleep hasn’t really happened yet… I haven’t made it a priority but plan to so. It is up next!

The above works well for me at the moment. We are all different and I believe it is important to do what we enjoy and are curious about. When I came to Menton my only plan was to do daily morning swims and make celery juice. The rest came as I “discovered’ it. I want to continue to do what I feel like doing. Nothing needs to be forced. This summer I slipped out of much of the above. I decided that having fun was my wellbeing! I am unsure of the specific effect of each of my wellbeing steps but one thing is certain: My overall wellbeing has improved.

One last word: Whatever your wellbeing journey, ensure it brings you joy. That alone is already contributing to improved wellbeing.

I wish you well – Annette X

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children.