Breathe- A Welcome Change in the Magazine Industry?
For many people, the word magazine conjures images of cheap tabloids littering the aisles of your local newsagent with colourful headlines and images of size twelve celebrities being body-shamed in bikinis.
Others associate magazines with fashion, beauty and weight loss tips. Yet these magazines make up just a small percentage of the prints available to both men and women. In recent years, magazine sales have dropped significantly, with the advent of social media, online news outlets, and also society’s movement towards body positivity and awareness around mental health.
It’s no secret that heavily photoshopped images in the press have contributed largely to self-esteem issues in both men and women over the years. It seems, however, that people have had enough of this. Fewer people are buying into the body shame and heavily edited images available. As a result, magazine sales have dropped even further, and those titles remaining have had to rebrand themselves. For example, the popular women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan. This magazine focuses heavily on fashion and beauty, and in previous years has been a source of insecurity for many women. Nowadays if you pick up a copy, you’ll see a far more inclusive piece. They still focus heavily on beauty – but now this beauty includes women of every colour, shape, size, and age. They feature older women and plus-sized women in their adverts and articles, and no longer do they include articles surrounding ‘getting that bikini bod’ or ‘making him fall for you’ (not real examples, but we all know the type).
However, for many of us, the rebranding and improved inclusivity and realness of magazines are not enough. The magazines now taking a huge step forward into the public sphere are those that focus less on appearance, and more on hobbies, interests, politics, and education. The National Trust Magazine is now the number one UK magazine in circulation, figures for Heat, and Look magazine were down a cumulative amount of 30% last year, and the political Prospect magazine was up 37.2%.
One of these lifestyle magazines that stands out for me in particular, is Breathe magazine. It focuses on meditation, mindfulness and overall mental/physical well-being. It highlights the art of slowing down and being kind to yourself in a world where this has lost its place as a priority. There is a significant price difference between Breathe and its less experimental counterparts; most editions sold at around £5.99, and special editions retailing closer to the £8.99 mark. However, you get more than enough for your money, and for me personally, paying that little bit extra in order to support a magazine that promotes happiness over insecurity is more than worth it.
The average edition of Breathe is split into four categories: wellbeing, mindfulness, creativity, and escaping. They also create seasonal special editions, including a 52-week planner for the New Year, and their summer workbook edition, which contained activities and meditations to try out over the summer months – based around the four categories of slow down, wonder, think, and reflect. The key theme of the magazine is slowing down, as it is reflected in its title. The writers direct the majority of their articles towards encouraging readers to take time for themselves, figure out what they really want from life, and providing examples of ways to attain these ‘things’ – which tend in fact, to be states of mind.
For example, in their most recent edition, Breathe focuses on learning to overcome fear, banishing paranoid thoughts, and the thief of all joy – comparison. Most of their articles are made up of a page or two explaining the topic, with examples and causes, followed by a selection of tips and tricks to help you overcome the issue, such as the ‘grass is greener’ complex. In this way, Breathe can be a lot to take in and is best digested in small chunks – as anything worthwhile is. This, again, justifies the slightly elevated price, as the magazine becomes less of a quick fix to fill the time on your coffee break, and more of an investment into your wellbeing over the coming month or two.
If a magazine centred on well-being, health, personal growth isn’t enough, it’s worth noting that there is not a single page in the print that boasts photoshopped images. This is because the editors of the magazine chose not to include images of real people. They acknowledge the impact that models and subsequent comparison could have on the self-esteem of their readers and instead choose to include colourful artwork and relaxing images in relation to each article. In this way, the magazine is less about flashy images that capture attention, and more about content. The magazine isn’t tailored to a specific gender, and the only adverts within the hundred or so pages are those advertising special editions of Breathe, such as their teen magazine, or one of their workbooks. Yes, that’s right, not a car, watch, or perfume ad in sight. Fittingly, Breathe is a real breath of fresh air, so to speak.
With the magazine industry broadening its horizons, including a larger variety of topics, and expanding its reach, it is well worth a trip to your local supermarket or newsagent to pick out a new title to try this month. Breathe may not end up being your cup of tea, you may prefer to stick to your old favourites, continue with OK!, or delve into something completely new.
However, whatever your choice may be, make sure that it resonates with you and your interests, and avoid any titles that make you question your self-worth in any way.