‘Wellness’ is a word that is often used, but not always fully understood. What is wellness? And how can an understanding of it’s meaning help you achieve your health goals?
So many of us are just living day-to-day in a constant stream of overwhelm or stress. Or worse, we’re living in a fog of tiredness and fatigue, unable to appreciate what’s right in front of us. If we combine that with a health industry that’s bursting with mis-information and extreme trends, we’re a population that’s more unhealthy than ever.
So how do we cut through it all?
How do we know what’s right and what’s wrong?
And where do we even start?
Watch this video below where I explain what Wellness is and how it can improve your life.
My definition of Wellness:
“Wellness is a state of being that arises when certain health essentials are achieved repeatedly.”
So what are these health essentials, and why do they need to be achieved repeatedly?
Having the energy and vitality to do the things you love. To have a healthy body that doesn’t hold you back and a balance in your life that allows you to enjoy the small things.
To help answer these questions and create clarity around it, I developed the Wheel Of Wellness. Wellness is not achieved overnight. Instead, wellness is achieved when we work on our 4 health essentials equally. These health essentials are: Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, Happiness.
Too often people put all their focus into one area and take things to the extreme.
I used to get really frustrated when people assumed something of me or put my food choices into a box or thought I was following some weird trend. Or when others would preach their dietary choices onto me. Not only did this used to really upset me and it was moments like this that has lead me to develop a succinct and clear philosophy that I want to share when it comes to Wellness. Because the honest truth is that what works for one person doesn’t work for another. When it comes to our health and wellness we need to create simplicity and kindness around peoples food choices.
I don’t follow strict diets and I choose to eat what I do because it makes me thrive. Not because of some fad diet or because I heard it was the latest thing. Simply put certain foods can cause me to feel like a ton of bricks and be bedridden while others energize me, so I make food choices around foods that help my cells to thrive and around foods that are sustainable. I choose foods that help my body naturally detox and avoid foods that cause it to age faster. I choose to eat foods that reduce inflammation and avoid ones that promote it. The food you eat builds every cell in your body and the way I eat is about making those cells thrive. I have learnt to listen to my body and make educated decisions about this and I want to show you how to do the same.
Just as I choose this I also choose to exercise in a way that makes my body thrive, I’m not about extremes and instead I choose to train in the most effective and efficient manner to keep my body fit and healthy. This isn’t black or white either, but I ensure I get what I need into my week to keep my body healthy and strong so I can do the things I love. Exercise isn’t about exhausting your body day in and day out, but we do need to challenge our fitness but also balance that out with yoga and mobility. Exercise should be about keeping your body strong, fit and healthy so you have more energy to share each and every day.
I choose to do things that make me happy and keep me young. I choose to value my sleep and allow my body to create an energized self for the next day ahead. All these things are a choice and they are created from having a clear philosophy and this is why I have created the Wheel of Wellness and this entire site is dedicated to providing you with free tools in how to do the same. This simple philosophy is my gift to you and a chance for you to find some clarity amongst the cluttered wellness space. Use the Wheel of Wellness to help you create real health and thrive and build wellness every day. And most of all make it a simple process.
Here I explain what each of the 4 health essentials are to wellness, use this video to help familiarise yourself with the concept, then you can download the free guide and pdf to keep handy and to start building more wellness into your life. Start with just the first section under each wellness essential and start to find balance in your life.
The key is that you build a solid foundation first and put equal attention into each element. Often if we change everything all at once it becomes too hard to maintain, my advice is that you work your way through each element and put consistent effort into each to make it part of your life. When we build new habits and routine, we don’t need as much willpower or motivation and the key to creating health and wellness is creating a lifestyle that makes it maintainable and easy sustain.
I am going to guide you through first where to begin under each of the Health Essentials so that it’s easy to implement today. Work on the areas that you feel need more attention and once you feel you can maintain the consistency add in the next layers. Soak up the information provided and build your wellness every day. Remember wellness isn’t created by one good meal or one workout, its created through our lifestyle that we lead and the choices that we make.
Some elements you may already be doing and this is great, while others may be getting neglected. The key is that you build this foundation first across all four elements and let’s create true wellness from a strong and stable foundation that you can maintain.
Build a foundation of movement into your day and build up to and aim to get 10,000 steps in consistently every day.
When it comes to exercise I like to think of this first phase like the foundation of a house. This is where it all starts and where I want you to begin.
If right now you only walk around 2000 steps per day, aim to hit 3000, then 4000 then gradually 10,000 consistently every day. This won’t happen overnight, but once you do build this habit into your life the momentum will come. Your health, fitness, biomechanics, posture, and energy will all improve.
Too often people miss this vital foundational layer. It is this layer that helps create true balance and prevent injury in the future. It’s the layer that our body thrives off and it’s the layer that has a huge impact on your overall wellness.
Become someone who lives an active lifestyle. It’s all in your mindset, tell yourself you are now this person, even if you are in an office job, start to think differently. How can you bring more movement into each and every day. What do you do before you start work, lunch breaks, after work and how often do you take breaks? What do you do in those breaks?
Break up your day up with short walk breaks. Slot in a 10-15 minute workout in the middle of your day. Use a stand-up workstation for a couple of hours and move at the end of your workday.
Your body thrives on variety and moving over the period of your day. When you bring in short movement breaks it’s like you are charging the battery of your phone.
Any time you fall off track, get run down or are simply too busy with life start back here with this foundational layer.
Now before you start making excuses… Please remember this is a mindset. You have the power, I run my entire business online and I can easily spend well over 12 hours on my bottom if I allow this to happen. In fact writing, this article was done sitting at my desk, but I structured my movement around it. It’s a choice and every single one of us can make the choice. Activity trackers are a great tool to help keep you accountable, they are your very own trainer on your wrist, plus you can get free apps for your phone. The key is that you start and find out how many steps you are doing currently and aim to do a little bit better each and every day.
Avoid all packaged processed foods and include more real food into your day. Start by adding more vegetables to your meals
You may have noticed that diets tend to focus on the foods you shouldn’t eat. As a result of removing things from your diet, you’re likely to feel deprived with a sense you’re missing out on something. This is where diets can become unsustainable long term. It’s a mentality which I think really needs to change, especially if you want to maintain healthy eating long term.
Get creative making your own dishes using real (natural) food. For example make a chicken stir-fry where you use real ginger, garlic, and honey versus buying a marinade or sauce from the supermarket that’s loaded with sugar and all sorts of other crazy ingredients. Choosing foods like an apple, carrot or almonds as a snack versus some crazy protein bar or drink.
When we keep food simple we make it easier for our body to digest. Think about how you can start by adding healthy foods to your diet one step at a time. Remove temptation from your house and load up on wholesome whole food ingredients each time you shop. The more you do this each week, the more your pantry will build up with good choices. When you add to your diet and not subtract you are far more likely to be successful than coming from a mindset of I can’t eat this or that.
Think about adding more greens to your day. Try a green smoothie or include extra veggies in with your eggs for breakfast, or even have last night’s leftovers (healthy ones that is!) to start your day on the right foot. Check out our delicious coconut almond green smoothie recipe here and make a jar of this for work each day.
Once you begin to get a taste for healthier foods, you will be able to actually hear hunger ques verses craving ques. Too often people eat because they are bored, or because of a certain time. Listen to when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. The more you start to do this, the more freedom you gain and see the possibilities and all the amazing options available. The more you focus on nourishing your body with healthy foods, you’ll find they actually taste delicious and the good will eventually outweigh the bad! By gradually introducing nutritious foods into your diet you’ll soon realize healthy eating isn’t about deprivation or willpower. Eating will eventually become all about enjoyment and nourishment instead.
Aim to get 7-9 hours sleep per night and to do this begin with just aiming for an extra 30 minutes per night by heading to bed earlier.
Yes, I am suggesting you sleep more! Easier said than done, but so incredibly important. Our body recovers and repairs while we sleep, so if you are lacking energy, motivation, having problems losing weight or simply struggling to get out of bed in the morning, start paying attention to how much you are sleeping and the quality of it.
Ideally, aim for 8 hours and for most people I say go for 9-10 hours. Yip…go for more!
The average person needs between 7-9 hours’ sleep and only 1% of the population do well on less. So yes you may know one person who does well on 5 hours sleep, but for most of us, we need more.
Now in order to get a good night’s sleep and to fall asleep sooner, you need to look at your evening routine and understand how your body responds to light exposure. So take a look here at my video on how to bio-hack your sleep and see if there are some small changes you can make to your evening routine to help you sleep better and get those extra hours in to fill your energy tank up.
Do you know what makes you happy? Do you make time to do more things you enjoy? Well if not, now is the time because happiness plays a huge role in wellness. So it’s time for you to make time to do more of the things you love.
There is a flaw in the health and fitness industry. There is such a big focus on how much exercise you should do, the type of exercise you need to be doing to gain certain results, and what your diet should look like. How often are you reading headlines like ‘how to get abs in 14 days’, ‘best exercises for building muscle’, ‘lose 5kgs in just 5 weeks’? These are headlines that focus on getting to a goal, and while I think it’s important to set goals for your health, I’m conscious we’re forgetting something really important.
What about happiness?
How can you find joy in your days?
How can you feel great about yourself and the life you’ve created or are working towards?
For many, feeling joy has been reserved for moments in life like weddings, the birth of children, when we fall in love, or monumental surprises. But why should we live without joy the rest of the time?
Joy is an emotion that changes how we feel about ourselves. It’s almost like we’re free in that moment of time, where all the worry, stress, and tiredness makes way for pure happiness. We feel buoyant and great about ourselves. There is a sense of confidence that washes over us, and we feel capable of almost anything. We feel loveable and, more importantly, joy brings a sense of fulfillment that’s hard to find anywhere else.
How can you find some joy in your everyday life?
Joy, along with happiness, is one of life’s most precious goals. It’s an emotion that’s hard to describe, yet it’s something that makes our lives feel meaningful and enjoyable. Think about it, how many people do you know whose main goal in life is happiness? Probably most, right? Yet for many, we don’t make it a priority.
We need to start to work towards making the feeling of joy a more regular occurrence than those weddings you attend twice a year. Otherwise, we’re never going to curate that life of happiness we all desire.
So to begin with writing a list, what makes you happy. Its different for everyone, but the first step is acknowledging what those things actually are. Now your goal is to start to bring some of those things into your days, weeks, months.
To sum this all up, wellness isn’t about just one thing. It is built with a foundation in place under each of the 4 health essentials I have mentioned above. To begin with these in mind and once you have got these health essentials in place start to explore how to add the layers in with all the information on the website and build your wellness knowledge. To get you started on the next steps here are where I suggest you begin.
Download our free guide and learn more about the Wheel of Wellness.