Top Wellness Stories of 2020

If we learned anything this year, it was the importance of paying attention to our health and wellness — both mental and physical. Here are some of YAM magazine’s top health and mindfulness stories from 2020, with tips, tricks, and personal stories to inspire you on your own journey to wellness.

Practice Self-Care with a Local Element 

Of course, the biggest health story of the year was the coronavirus pandemic, which caused much stress and anxiety. Many counsellors, like the ones at Family Sparks, suggested leaning into selfcare, from staying physically active to nurturing rest. 

The Growth of Urban Gardening 

One of our favourite things to come out of 2020 was the embrace of urban food production. From the Food Eco District’s experimental plant boxes to Mason Street City Farm and individual homeowners planting food, not grass, urban gardening has grown beyond a trend in Victoria. 

The Must-Have Accessory: A Locally Made Mask

The Be Kind Mask from The Kindness Factory

In this new normal, you can’t leave home without a mask. (Many of us keep extras stored in our bags, cars and desks.) If we have to have one, why not support local? There are plenty of stylish options made right here.  

Trying Cold Water Immersion 

The Oddballs at Willows Beach

Maybe you’ve been on a local beach lately and noticed there are actually people in the water — even though the temperatures seem positively icy. YAM editor Athena McKenzie joined one such group to learn about the appeal of cold water immersion, and discovered the practice comes with a whole host of benefits. 

Creating New Traditions for a COVID Christmas 

Even in a regular year, not everyone looks forward to the holiday season. Of course, 2020 brought a whole host of other challenges. By talking to local experts, we discovered some accessible strategies for navigating the stresses of the season. But this advice is not limited to the holidays. Many of these suggestions — from recognizing your losses and taking a break to turning to nature — are mindful ways to deal with any stressful time. 

Birdwatching as a Growing Trend 

While health and wellness might not be the first thing that pops to mind when you think birdwatching, the activity does have significant benefits. There is a meditative quality from being in a quiet place, engaging in a mindful activity. Many studies have shown that being in nature and enjoying its wonders can bring a sense of calm and renewal.