The Self-Care Epidemic

Ahead of this weekend’s Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, EN4 News considers how the self-care phenomenon is improving the way we function in 2019.

Although it is unclear when ‘self-care’ became one of the most frequently used words in the millennial vocabulary, the term itself seems unavoidable – inundating social media feeds and steering conversations.

There’s something almost addictive in learning how others practice it, how often, and how it’s changed them for the better — and with the turbulence of political negotiations and the world in a state of near crisis, who would deny anyone a glass of wine and a long bath?

However vague it may sound, ‘ self-care’ encapsulates anything that makes you feel like you’re taking care of yourself. We’ve finally accepted that it’s no longer considered selfish to take time for yourself and your wellbeing but the fear of becoming self-indulgent remains prevalent.

The whole concept of self-care loses its value when it is used too frequently as an excuse for bailing on people and plans, promoting self-isolation and a sense of laziness that avoids all benefits that ‘self-care’ can bestow on our lives.

Never leaving what becomes your ‘self-care comfort zone’ could result in you missing out on experiences that could be beneficial. We begin to lose sight of how a meal out or a night in with friends can also be ‘self-care’ — just enjoyed with others for a change.

Edinburgh is leading the way for the widespread awareness of well-being by hosting the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, which will return to the capital after the immense success it achieved in 2018.

Bringing together some of the biggest names in the wellness industry to deliver a weekend of talks, classes and workshops to officially diminish those January blues.

Set to appear on one of the panels alongside Julie Montagu — one of London’s top yoga and nutrition teachers — is Edinburgh-based Gail Bryden.

As an aromatherapist and holistic massage therapist with her own independent product range ‘JustBe Botanicals’, Gail is one of many inspirational guests coming to the Scottish stage.

EN4 News spoke to Gail in the run-up to the event.

“Getting fit, eating well and feeling good is relevant to us all — and mental and physical well-being should be accessible to everyone.

“The end of January is often a time for us to reflect and consider making more conscious choices to feel better. Attending the Wellbeing Festival this weekend can be a first positive step.

“The headliners and line up for this year are incredible. I’m personally looking forward to attending some of the workshops, talks and fitness classes — especially Mr PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) Faisal Abdalla who has worked alongside Joe Wicks — the founder of Lean in 15,” she said.

Gail will be part of the panel discussing ‘how to build a successful well-being business’ on Saturday, where she’ll be sharing her stories and passing on some practical tips and advice.

Through the wellbeing revolution, the idea of taking care of ourselves has been turned on its head. While we’re so often taught that our mind and bodies are separate entities, ‘self-care’ teaches that they really have a connection that fundamentally controls our well-being.

“The festival is carefully curated to bring together a range of different speakers from Scotland and further afield to cover topics which affect all of our lives, including mental health, healthy eating, stress, parenting and mindfulness,” said Jaz Lacey-Campbell of Good Thinking Events who are working in conjunction with the city of Edinburgh Council and The Assembly Rooms, one of the capitals landmark cultural venues.

“Edinburgh Wellbeing festival is part of the commitment Scotland is making in terms of encouraging people to improve their health and wellbeing. We bring together some of the biggest names in the wellbeing industry along with the Scottish wellbeing community to inspire people to adopt a happier and healthier lifestyle,” she explains.

“On Saturday cookery writer Jack Monroe will show us how to eat healthy food on a budget, Dr Rangan Chatterjee will be talking mindfulness with Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim, and nutritionist Madeleine Shaw joins our expert health panel Fit for Life.

Over the weekend there will also be workshops on parenting, cutting out alcohol, positive ageing and sleep, as well as a marketplace where you can sample delicious vegetarian and vegan food, shop for natural beauty products and take advantage of free tastings, treatments and health advice.”

Home to a large and growing wellbeing community, from yoga teachers to healthy food entrepreneurs, The Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival aims to bring this community together and create something completely new at a time when our thoughts turn to get fit and feel better.

Like most things, ‘self-care’ revolves around balance, and ultimately finding a healthy one. You shouldn’t feel guilty when you need a night off to recharge and enjoy your own company, but also don’t avoid things that push your boundaries. In the long run, it’s the combination of ‘self-care’ with everything else that supports the well-rounded and purposeful lifestyle we’re all striving to lead.

For tickets and more information on the festival head to

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