Sleep Health

Let 'A World of Calm' put you and your COVID-19 stress to bed


Once again, millions of us in Australia have had our daily lives upended. In Sydney, supermarkets are empty of toilet paper, borders are shut, and the summer holidays may not be the respite we had hoped for.  

Yet even without the latest outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly led many of us to experience a good deal of stress and poor sleep. And with the coronavirus disrupting countless holiday plans, it's hard to avoid feeling frustrated and worrisome. But we would all do well, as the mantra goes, to 'keep calm and carry on'. How? With a little mindless, or rather mindful, TV, of course.  

If you're stuck at home and need something to distract you from all the gloom, the current 10-part documentary series, 'A World of Calm', now showing on SBS may provide some comfort – even peace. And lulling you to sleep is exactly what it sets out to do. After all, the series is co-produced by the company that makes 'Calm', the leading app for sleep and meditation.   

The series examines a varied range of topics – from the miraculous to the mundane. However, whether the episode is about migrating birds, or coral reefs, or a noodle recipe, the story is entirely beside the point. The subject of each episode merely serves as dressing for what is essentially a guided meditation – one narrated and voiced by A-list celebrities no less. There's Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, Lucy Liu and Keanu Reeves, to name a few.  

With contemplative narration and a variety of stunning visuals, each 22-minute episode takes viewers on something of a spiritual journey. It invites them to focus on something neatly contained, and, to that end, escape from what has been, quite frankly, a forgettable year.   

'A World of Calm' may not be the most actioned packed or compelling show. If elevator television were a thing, this is it. But if you watch and listen closely, it may just stir your mind, body and soul toward a state of relaxation many of us can use right now to alleviate stress.  

It's easy to dismiss this series as merely a meditative head trip, but it's also an uplifting and philosophical one. Most of the visual imagery can be seen as a celebration of the natural world. And if so, viewers may just become more thankful for what they have and less anxious about what they're up against. That's not a bad mindset to have before going to bed each night and contemplating what 2021 will bring.  


Ad-free episodes of 'A World of Calm' screen on SBS Friday 25 December to Sunday 3 January at 7:30 pm. Episodes will also be available at SBS On Demand after they air.  


Andrew Mun

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