I am all about real wellness for real people. My overarching philosophy on all aspects of wellness is that EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT…and thank goodness for that!
Physically, we are all bioindividuals, which means that everyone’s biology is beautifully unique. Hence, the one thing I am most passionate about is empowering you to be the expert on the subject of your very unique body, mind and spirit.
Having said that, I firmly believe that stress is a major contributor to ill-health, whether it’s emotional, mental, environmental or physical. Therefore, here are a few things that I do believe.
This one is really easy so why does everyone insist on making it so damn hard?!
Just. Eat. Real. Food.
OK, I know that nothing is ever that simple and we have to live in the real world with our busy lives and conflicting advice coming at us every day. However, no matter how we choose to eat, whether vegan, Paleo or any other description, if you stick to the number one rule, you really can’t go wrong. Choose foods with as little processing as possible and the shortest lists of ingredients – and remember real food doesn’t actually have lists of ingredients. It is the stuff that you’ll generally find in the fresh foods section around the outer edges of your supermarket.
Another big divider but in my opinion, the best exercise for you is the one you’ll actually do. That’s because it has to be FUN. Whether that’s long distance running or a gentle form of yoga. The key is to just move in one way or another and the more you enjoy it, the more inclined you are to do it regularly. Variety is the spice of life so mix up your exercise routine to put your body through its full range of movement. Incidental exercise has also been under-rated. You don’t need to wear designer active wear or go to a fancy gym. Take the stairs more often, meet friends for a walk rather than for coffee and dance like nobody’s watching.
Again, everybody’s different. Some people only need 4-5 hours to be fully-functional and others need about ten! It’s all about finding your sweet spot and endeavouring to get at least that amount each and every night. Sometimes it’s not the quantity of sleep you get, but rather the quality. The aim is to gently wind down before bed, sleep through all brain cycles and wake up without an alarm the next morning feeling refreshed.
Remember at the top of the page where I mentioned that stress can come in many different forms? These days our bodies are being put under constant stress with the environmental pollutions and toxins we are exposed to. Think about how many chemicals you have used before you walk out the door in the morning? Toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, washing detergents if you did any laundry or dishes…that’s just in your home environment before you even step outside.
Our body has to work incredibly hard to process the toxins we are exposed to, mainly through the liver, and this puts the entire body under stress both physically and mentally. As much as its impossible to live a pristine life, we can become more aware and certainly reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals.
Can you even remember what that is? Can you think of one activity that you do on a regular basis that relaxes you? If not, find one! Everyone’s idea of relaxation is different (see the theme here?). For some, it is engaging in relaxing activities such as reading or massages, other people find more physical activities relaxing such as fishing or craft. In fact, the very activity where you seem to lose track of time…go do that one. This is called ‘flow’ and directly contributes to our happiness as below.
We also need some downtime or some ‘me-time’ particularly in our current world of 24/7 connectivity. We all need to carve out some precious time in our day to get still and quiet and listen to our own inner voice. That voice certainly gets quieter the minute we walk out the door in the morning, so the earlier you can have your time, the better. Besides, it will set you up for a much better day. Promise! Activities like meditation, journaling and reading (something inspirational, not your newsfeed!) are all perfect choices.
We all know it’s an inside job, right? So if we have the ability to control it to a certain degree, let’s make sure we put our best effort in. Be careful of letting in sensationalist media, drama queens and energy vampires. Take note of certain activities or conversations and how you feel afterwards. Gravitate towards the good ones but also endeavour to leave people better than you found them. It really has a knock-on effect.
Finally, the number one piece of advice I could give, is to simply be grateful.
As much as this directly relates to happiness, it is also applicable to all the other areas of our life. It is absolutely impossible to hold a negative emotion if you are truly feeling grateful and this makes our commitment to food, movement, sleep and relaxation even stronger.