Lady stood in the wind smiling

Wellbeing Around the World: Part Two

Wellbeing around the world takes shape in many different forms, but each practice ultimately helps people to feel more content and happier, whether that’s physically, mentally or spiritually. Last month, we shared part one of wellbeing practices around the world, but as there are so many, we wanted to share some more!

South Africa – Ubuntu

Ubuntu philosophy is prominent in Southern Africa, but its popularity spreads across the continent. The term represents a human ethic, which celebrates humanity towards others, focusing on how this humanitarianism is reflected throughout society rather than individuals. It is often translated as ‘I am because we are’.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu provided this explanation in his book published in 1999. ‘A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished when others are tortured or oppressed.’

Elephant in the wild stood near a tree

Sweden – Fika

In part one, we saw several examples of how the Scandinavians excelled in their wellness practices, and Sweden is no exception. The notion of taking a little time out is ever-present when it comes to wellness and fika is just that. Fika is making the time in the day to share a cup of coffee and a slice of cake with friends or colleagues and simply enjoying the experience.

It is an important part of Swedish culture, and most Swedes take time for fika every day, enjoying a pastry and a break, even from the busiest of schedules.

Tibet – Singing Bowls

Himalayan bowls are traditionally used alongside meditation and chanting in some religious practices, notably Buddhism. Metal bowls are played by rotating a mallet around the perimeter, producing a melodic sound that many describe as meditative and deeply relaxing.

There is a belief that the vibrations caused by the bowls ringing can have a number of balancing and restorative effects on the body. In the West, they are popular among music therapists and yoga teachers.

Golden Tibetan singing bowls being played

North America – Sage Smudging

The Native American people used sage smudging as one of their many rituals that focus on the spirits and energies that surround them. It was traditionally used before a ceremony to cleanse the body and space of impurities and connect to the spirit world. The belief is that sage smoke can absorb any heavy, dense energy that may be present in a room.

Scientifically, it is known that sage has antimicrobial properties, meaning that it can help to purify the air from pollution, pathogens and even insects.

Argentina – Mate Tea

Mate tea (pronounced ‘mah-the’) is the national drink of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and is drank for its rejuvenating properties and perceived health benefits. It is made from the leaves of a particular species of South American holly tree and is typically drank from a gourd – a rounded, handle-less mug with a metal straw.

As with many other teas, yerba mate is rich in antioxidants and also contains caffeine, giving the drinker a boost of energy.

Spain and Latin America – Siesta

A siesta describes a short nap that is taken in the daytime and, while common in many countries and cultures, Spain and countries of Hispanic influence are perhaps the most well-known for indulging in the afternoon treat.

There is actually a lot of research to suggest that this kind of sleep pattern can have a range of health benefits, notably a reduction in coronary mortality. Getting enough sleep is also known to reduce stress and anxiety along with a whole host of other problems.

Man sleeping in a trailer in the day

The Netherlands – Uitwaaien

The Netherlands share a similar climate to us in the UK, and we all know that means somewhat interchangeable and unpredictable weather. The Dutch, however, do not let this deter them and uitwaaien is their way of getting outside, specifically during wild and windy conditions.

The experience is said to be refreshing and exhilarating, essentially blowing away the cobwebs and replenishing the air in your lungs, so it is fresh. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!

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