The Key Pillars to your Wellbeing
Key pillars to maintaining your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
Taking care of your body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and the body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional wellbeing.
Aside from the serious physical illnesses that our unhealthy lifestyles can cause, our mental health is also taking a hammering.
Increased levels of insomnia, stress, depression and anxiety are often related to a simple neglect of our health and fitness. Our mental health and our physical health are intimately intertwined. Someone who is tired or stressed may be less likely to exercise and more likely to comfort eat and thus increase their stress in the long term.
Achieving balance in one’s life is what will lead to the biggest improvements and most importantly the sustainable ones.
You may even have noticed that your mood often affects the types of food you choose, as well as how much you eat. Some foods can lift your mood, energy levels, and concentration, while others can have the opposite effect.
For example, eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains can reduce your risk of some mental health conditions such as depression, while eating foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat may increase your risk.
Having a healthy, balanced diet plays such an important role in your overall health and wellbeing.
Given equal priority to the list below is the best way to achieve optimum physical wellbeing that in turn contributes to an energetic and balanced life.
1. Embrace antioxidants.
Antioxidants (beta carotene and vitamins C, E, and selenium) are great for your health and they’re found in a variety of foods, from blueberries and cranberries to pecans and even dark chocolate! For one thing, they’re good for your skin and for another, they’re known to help prevent cell damage, which is associated with some cancers. So make sure to load up your diet with berries, nuts, and yes, some dark chocolate too!
2. Fiber is your friend.
Fruits and vegetables (such as apples, bananas, broccoli, spinach and beets), bean and legumes, and whole grains are all great sources of fiber. Not only does fiber fill you up, it has also been shown to lower cholesterol, help regulate blood sugar levels, and may even help you control your weight. There is even evidence that fiber may help prevent some cancers, like colon cancer.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Don’t fill up on high-calorie drinks such as sodas, juices, and sports drinks. Mother Nature created the only thirst-quencher your body truly needs — water. It’s the perfect liquid because it keeps you hydrated and flushes toxins from your system. Need a little flavour? Try adding lemon, berries, or mint.
4. Go organic, when possible.
Organic is a major buzzword, but there’s more to it than marketing. Organic requires soil free of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and certain fertilisers. But organic produce can be expensive, so you’ll need to get the most bang for your organic buck. Try to shop at local farmers markets, buy produce in season, and focus your organic selections on the fruits and veggies that benefit most from organic farming.
5. Get colourful.
Eat a rainbow of foods. Think red peppers, orange carrots, yellow lemons, green spinach, blueberries, and purple grapes. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables from the colour spectrum exposes you to powerful bioflavonoids — which are just a fancy term for super antioxidants that help support strong cell formation and may help prevent disease.
6. Remember your 3s and 6s.
Omega-3s and Omega-6s that is.
It’s time to ditch the idea that all fats are bad. Polyunsaturated fats (or omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as they are more commonly known) are essential fats that our bodies need but cannot produce. These essential fats help build healthy cells and keep your brain and nervous system healthy. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna while omega-6s can be found in nuts, seeds, and plant oils such as soybean oil.
7. Steer clear of the sugary stuff.
While sugar isn’t inherently bad for you, the amount of sugar we consume every year has increased steadily. Sugar is a major culprit in the obesity epidemic and the rising rates of Type 2 diabetes. The problem is added sugars show up in everything from bread to salad dressing to yogurt. So even though you may be avoiding dessert, your sugar intake could be high simply due to the sugars added to everyday foods.
8. Limit your meat and dairy intake.
Back in the day, a plate of meat and potatoes with a side of something green was considered a healthy meal. These days’ meat and dairy should be thought of more as a side while vegetables should get the starring role on your dinner plate.
Walk at least 10,000 steps per day
Do some form of strength training twice a week.
Make a habit of exercise snacking
Do daily glute exercises.
Stop screen time i.e. phone, lattop, TV etc. The light from these devices interferes with melatonin levels.
In your bedroom create an environment of darkness
Create a bedtime routine,
Don’t drink any caffeine in the afternoon
Aim to get 8-9hours sleep per night.
Me time every day
Keep a gratitude journal
Incorporate a practice of stillness
Eat your meals without any devices
Enjoy quality time with friends/family.
Make sure you have joy in your life
Take a weekly screen Sabbath.
Have lazy reading days.
As you can see it’s a recipe for a healthier, longer a happier life, the simple key here is balance, balance across all aspects of your life. Above all enjoy.
Tonya is a Nutritional therapist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, food product /recipe developer, professional chef and a motivational speaker passionate about Women’s health and wellbeing.
Founder of Saol - natural health & wellness
A big thank you to Tonya for writing this guest blog! Love her words of wisdom and I hope you all take away some tips to incorporate into your life