I wanted to take a moment today to explain my approach to wellness. For me, I view wellness as 3 main pillars, and when those pillars are in alignment, we achieve our personal 360 degrees to health.
The key here is that the building blocks of everyone’s pillars will be different, but their foundation will all be the same.
Food and nutrition is one of the most important pieces of the wellness circle. The challenge though is how many people get caught up in diet culture and quick fixes. Unfortunately this often leads to frustration and less sustainable eating patterns that ultimately revert back to habits that don’t serve you well. This is why, the first pillar in my wellness approach is Nutrition & Food
This pillar for me is about knowledge and discovery, not deprivation. Everyone is built differently, and once you find the foods that serve you, you’ll be able to achieve your health goals. Food should be whole, nutritious and delicious. It may take some time to figure out the foods that don’t work for you, but that’s where health coaches, trial and error and nutritionists can step in to help.
These 3 tricks are how I guide people to finding their nutrition pillar’s building blocks:
- Use whole foods as the base to your meals. This way your body is getting the nutrients it needs, and you are more likely to be full and satisfied after your meals.
- Listen to how your body feels after eating certain types of foods, and cut back where needed. If you feel lethargic and bloated every time you eat dairy for example, it may be worth cutting back on or making sure you’re only consuming the highest quality products.
- Find the foods that bring you joy. Food is supposed to be fun, not a chore. This approach (the joy approach) will come up in the other pillars as well. Now this doesn’t mean that icecream should be dinner every day, but it also doesn’t mean you should avoid it at all costs in order to be “healthy”
Now, onto Pillar 2. An important thing to note is that the pillars come in no particular order for me. With my approach, in order to have a real 360 degree approach to wellness, all 3 pillars need to be constantly worked on and nurtured.
Pillar 2, is mind and soul wellness.
This one often comes as a surprise to people. They don’t fully understand how having your mind and soul balanced could contribute to overall health. It’s been shown, especially in recent years, how important it is to not only address your physical health, but your mental one as well. Health issues manifest in the body due to underlying stress and anxiety, and can cause a host of illnesses, aches and pains. These are harder to diagnose because most solutions involve prescribing a pill to treat the symptoms instead of digging deep to treat the cause.
For a lot of people, this is the hardest pillar. It forces you to look inwardly and evaluate all components of your life: career, relationships, family, finances, anything that can have a direct or indirect impact on your mental well-being. This pillar forces the harder conversations, working through the things that don’t serve you anymore and learning how to let go, adapt and move forward.
It is also a fun pillar if you let it be. This is the creative pillar, the one that you use to fuel your soul. This is the pillar I encourage people to read in, to meditate, do art, play a game, reconnect with a friend. This is the one where you search and discover the things that bring you true joy in life.
Now, I’m not suggesting you make a list of the things that bother you and immediately eliminate them from your life (don’t go quitting your job, please!) but I am suggesting the following to help you along your way:
- Rate the different aspects of your life on a scale of 1-10. For anything below a 7 write down 3 actionable steps that you can do NOW to improve them. Make sure your steps are SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time based) so that you don’t make a list that isn’t feasible or doesn’t fit into your life easily.
- Find a creative project you enjoy, and dedicate time every week to it. Schedule it in. Block out all distractions and do only this activity that brings you joy.
- Meditate and practice gratitude. This is a big one. Within everything that doesn’t serve you, it’s important to acknowledge everything that does. Focusing on what brings you joy will automatically improve your mood, and has been shown to make people happier. The energy you put out into the world is also what you receive back from it, so being grateful for all of the wonderful things in your life has a way of bringing more wonderful things to you.
Last, but certainly not least comes Pillar 3. Pillar 3 is fitness.
I’m sure you guys saw this coming, but I’m going to explain the why behind it. Yes, everyone knows movement and exercise are important, but as one of the pillars to wellness, it’s about so much more than simply gaining muscle or losing weight.
Fitness should fuel your soul. It’s about getting up, getting moving, and finding the workouts that bring you the most joy. Fitness is a stress and anxiety reliever. It’s connection to other like minded people. It’s community, caring and togetherness, especially in this crazy world where we’re all so far apart.
When I refer to fitness as the third pillar, it’s beyond important to me to encourage people to find something they love. It may not be my workouts and that’s ok. The goal is that you find something and stick to it.
Fitness can be confusing. There are tons of conflicting messages and even more workout styles to choose from than I can count. My guidance to people with fitness is this:
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Just because you try a style of fitness and don’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean working out isn’t for you. It may take some time to find your groove, but they key is to try different things until you find a style you enjoy.
- Once you find your style, stick with it. Results take time, and look different for everyone. Don’t give up after a week because you haven’t reached your goal.
- Fitness should be a slow and steady. That way your results are long term and sustainable. Anything that offers a quick fix and sound stop good to be true, probably is. Your body takes time to reshape itself, you’ll see the progress, but don’t expect it overnight.
- Set realistic fitness goals for yourself. If you start out with incredibly lofty goals, you’re more likely to get discouraged when you don’t see the results you planned for. Start small, and work up from there as you check off each goal from your list.
- HAVE FUN. There’s no point of working out if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing.
If any or all of this sounds interesting to you, I’m here to help you along your wellness journey. You can gain tips and tricks from my blog and Instagram, but I also offer 1:1 services to help coach you along your way. We can focus on all 3 pillars, or 1 or 2 you’re looking for guidance on. Book a 30 minute consultation with me to discover the best program for your needs.
I’ve also put together a quick template to help you with your soul ratings. Download and print the file and use it to guide you along your way.