Joy in January: "I had to teach myself to fall in love with the rain"
The end of the bleakest month is in sight at last, but to get you though the final hours we're looking at ways to find joy every day...
Bibi Baskin has had a long and interesting career in the public eye. After becoming the first woman in Ireland to have her own live TV chat show, Bibi's subsequent TV career involved work in New York and London.
Bibi left the media industry for nearly two decades when she went to India and fell in love with an old dilapidated landmark building by the sea. After refurbishing it, she converted it into a hotel and wellness spa.
"Many years ago I discovered a formal Wellness system that has captivated me ever since. That’s the Indian system of wellness, Ayurveda. I ran an Ayurvedic centre in my heritage hotel in the state of Kerala – which was the home of Ayurveda some 5,000 years ago.
"My years in India, together with study of the fascinating subject for decades before I left Ireland, confirmed for me that wellness is an aspect of living that needs much greater attention than we give it."
Now back in Ireland, Bibi still teaches Ayurveda and works as a wellness consultant and public speaker.
"I give wellness talks and interactive seminars around the country featuring many aspects of this essential subject – health for the mind, body and spirit."
The time she spent away from Ireland gave Bibi a unique perspective on how the country had changed in her absence.
"I noticed changes in Irish people after 20 years away. In the main it is that they have forgotten how to smile. We used to be easy-going and more relaxed. Now stress seems to be the governing factor in many lives and a subsequent aura of gloominess.
"Ireland still has a distance to go on the wellness front. Whereas there is increasing interest in personal health at home, this same principle needs to be applied to the workplace. That is an unspoken debt employers have to their employees."
Bibi says living in the present as much as possible is the key to her own happiness.
"Also, the right attitude to the events which life throws at us is important. That attitude has to be one of acceptance first, and then search for a solution. There is far too much 'fighting’ in western culture. We want to 'fight' the flu symptoms, 'fight' the wrongdoing of others against us, even 'fight' cancer. That’s far too aggressive. Acceptance is much gentler."
To spread her wellness message Bibi makes short, fun videos with bite-sized pieces of advice on how to increase your emotional wellbeing.
"There's a great deal of talk these days about mindfulness and wellness, and I'm no exception. But if you want to simplify it here's what you do: find out what makes you happy – and keep doing more of it."
More than three decades after Bibi first started bringing joy through her TV work, she now travels the country giving talks on how she changed her life, and how others can do it too.
"I hope these talks are a contributory factor to happiness for others. Ireland is on the cusp of becoming more wellness-aware but the evidence so far shows a fragmented approach. I believe I can help this process."
The woman herself is the living embodiment of her work, having managed to find joy even in that bleakest of places: the Irish weather. Growing up in Donegal, Bibi says she found techniques to stay happy during the harsh winter months.
"The weather if fairly bleak up there so I had to teach myself to fall in love with rain. It worked. I love it – the rain and the wind battering away like mad."