It’s in the news, it’s on Instagram, it’s in your workplace, it’s on your dinner plate and it’s filling up your online shopping basket. How can any of us escape the current fascination with putting our physical and mental wellbeing at the top of our personal priority list?

Looking after number one has evolved into an intrinsic way of being, with the ‘self-care’ approach to everything we eat, drink, watch, read or experience dominating our choices.

At the end of last year Apple’s Best of 2018 survey declared that self-care was the top trend of the year - with no sign of it letting up. Google also reported that searches for the term, ‘self-care’ was up 140% in 2018. It seems the dictionary’s definition of this phenomenon to ‘take action to preserve or improve one’s health’ is becoming a movement. Like #MeToo or #TakeAKnee, it seems to warrant its own hashtag (#MindYourself, #YourSelf…???) It’s more than just a dabble with a filtered oxygen face mask, it’s a crucial shift in the coping mechanisms we all need in the complex and highly stressful world we live in.

There’s something inherent in us humans to focus inwardly when chaos is frothing at the bit around us. Freud said in Beyond The Pleasure Principle (1920) that trauma happens when overwhelming events destabilise our emotional balance. As the oceans boil, Trump babbles and North Korea flaunts its middle finger, making changes to ourselves is something we can control and progress. And it’s rarely a selfish act; in tandem with this trend comes the thought that the world needs care too, hence the burgeoning success of environmentally-friendly products (Pret serves more than 85,000 drinks in re-usable cups every week) and the explosion of the vegan market.

Exhausted and jaded, individuals now seek comfort in a totally immersive experience. Bucolic retreats and yoga holidays are the desired escape choice for an increasing number of travellers, with places like the Advaya Initiative in Cornwall, which was set up by sisters Ruby and Christabel Reed, offering healing yoga, meditation, nature walks and nourishing food. The sisters believe in the concept that the “health of the planet and the health of the individual are two sides of the same coin.”

Even the Royals are touting the benefits of (adopts regal tone) ‘looking after oneself’. Harry meditates daily, Kate is partial to shinrin-yoku (the Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ which means spending time in green places) and both Meghan and Prince Charles share a love of yoga. The Princes’ charity has recently funded a project for prison inmates to help support their mental health with yoga, meditation and stretching.

There’s no denying that when the body is firing on all cylinders, the mind benefits too. In fact the two are so entwined, it would be like splitting hairs to treat them separately. The obsession with mindfulness apps, like CALM and Headspace proves that people want the rounded package and, perhaps slightly more surprising, is the recent surge in the public’s current adoration of poetry. Again, it pacifies the troubled mind, and feels more alluring than simply popping a sleeping tablet or two. Figures show that poetry sales were up by more than 12% in 2018, and were especially popular with younger buyers. The Indian-born Canadian poet, Rupi Kaur is the author of two best selling collections. Her debut, Milk and Honey, was published in 2014 and went on to sell over 2.5 million copies worldwide. Experts claim that poetry is filling the gap left by religion, offering comfort to those who are anxious about life’s big concerns such as grief, love, fear, death…

At Untapped we believe that a person brings their whole self to work, and if the body is struggling, so will the mind, and vice versa. Today, many businesses are investing in all kinds of support to bolster their employees in every way possible. This also means that more organisations are turning to their diversity and inclusion departments to assess in detail what support certain people from different backgrounds, ages, genders and disabilities might need. The homogenous approach just doesn’t cut it any more, and companies are opening their eyes to what seems like an obvious prerequisite for a tailored and personal slant.

There is something very empowering about feeling as though we are being treated as an individual rather than one of a group. The Untapped process focuses on that belief. Not only do clients benefit from being supported by their very own UA (Untapped Accelerator), they also benefit from the insight of their personalised AI feedback on our Untapped 7 methodology which has been specifically created to focus on the seven main challenges people typically face in their professional and personal lives.

So, while self-care initially stems from an innate desire to do something good for ourselves, there are various systems we can put in place to bolster that aspiration. Who knows, you might even find yourself reciting poetry at the next board meeting!

Written by Jenny Tucker

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