When we think of health, we think exercise, nutrition, hours sleep.
If we get our 30 minutes a day exercise, eat our 5 a day, get 7-8 hours sleep a night, we are on the pigs back – aren’t we?!
Except so often, we’re not …
Health is about much more than these three things and it’s only when we take a more holistic approach to health that we recognise that often the piece we are missing is the one that makes all the difference to our every day experiences and overall performance in pursuit of our goals.
So what does the holistic approach to health look like?
In order for us to be everything we need to be, for ourselves and those around us, there are 4 cornerstones of health which we need to look after:
Physical Health is made up of nutrition, exercise, sleep. We often tend to neglect this aspect of our health when we lack balance our focus is entirely placed on something else going on in our lives such as work. It is easy to burn the candle at both ends, grab a pizza instead of cooking a home made meal or sitting down to a Netflix feast that goes long into the night instead of going out for a walk but this eventually catches up with us and we end up feeling demotivated and dejected by how we feel physically and also by our appearance. Much of this is brought about by bad habits and it is only by creating new healthy habits that we can break the cycle. Like everything, we have a choice in what we do. Setting goals in relation to our physical health in the same way as we would for our work can be an effective motivator to getting where you want to go.
- Stocking up on healthy food at the start of the week so you’re not coming home to an empty fridge and planning your meals so you know you have what you need for a healthy week!
- Batch cooking the days before a busy period so you’re not tempted to grab a takeway.
- Aim for your 5 a day and actively setting that intention, ticking them off as you go.
- Have a bottle of water always on hand is key to concentration as well as eating less – often we reach for the chocolate bar when we feel peckish but actually, we are thirsty! Aim for 2 litres per day
- Set a target to be in bed for a certain time and staying off screens an hour before that so you can have a good 7-8 hour rest allowing you to reboot and recharge so you’re coming into the next day firing from all cylinders!
- Set a goal for 30 minutes exercise per day – build it into your day so it’s not an extra chore – taking the dog out, nipping to the shop, walking from the train station. I find that having a device that tracks your exercise, like an apple watch, is great for keeping me accountable to my goals!
- Celebrate your success! When you have done a good job in looking after yourself physically, treat yourself …maybe with a new book, a visit to the Spa, dinner in a nice restaurant – something that says “Well Done You!”
Mental Health is about your psychological wellbeing and a subset of Mental Health is Emotional Health which is around the emotions you’re feeling and your ability to manage those emotions in a way that is healthy and constructive to your overall wellbeing. While thankfully the awareness around mental/emotional health has increased and people are more in tune with the importance of looking after this aspect of their health, there is still a way to go in ensuring that we are confident enough to speak out about how we are feeling without fear of judgement, criticism or being seen as a failure. Having a hobby or regularly doing something that is fun is important, as is having emotionally supportive relationships. If you feel this is lacking, it is important to do some research about how you can bring this into your life – either by joining a local group or rekindling some old friendships that have fallen by the wayside in the busyness of life. Having an awareness of your thoughts and where they are taking you is also an important aspect of your mental health. if you find yourself constantly on a negative track, it’s worth looking at that more closely to see what is driving it and how you can change the pattern. Journalling is hugely beneficial when you are trying to figure things out in your own head and make sense of it all. If having difficulty, engage the services of a trained professional to help you to get out of your funk and see things from a new perspective. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health so in the same way we might get a Personal Trainer to get fit, we can get a professional to help us boost our mental health!
Spiritual Health centres around your inner self, your beliefs, your intuition and ability to connect to what’s important for you. This is often the most neglected of all health aspects because we often see it as something that is separate, perhaps religious or simply something that other people do. Recently I was having a problem around low energy and I could not put my finger on what was causing it. Eventually I figured it out..and it was more simple than I could have imagined. Somewhere along the line, there had been a glitch and I had become disconnected from myself, my spiritual beliefs, my vision, my goals and the legacy I wanted to leave. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what they were…I just was’t connected to them!
My spiritual side was in need of some attention and it was only by seeing the bigger picture and by gaining perspective, that I was able to pull myself out of the funk I was in and get back on track to where I wanted to go! Taking some time out to find that reconnection made all the difference…time to reflect, time to see who and where I was evolving to, time to reprioritise what was important in line with who I am now.
Our health is an integral part of our success – we need it in order to succeed but it is only by increasing our own awareness of its importance and actively putting focus into ensuing that it is at optimum level that we can truly achieve the goals we set as we strive towards our potential.
So next time you’re feeling low energy…take a look at your health in all of those 4 areas and if you feel that one is lacking…take the time to support and encourage healing so that you can get back on track.
Just a heads up…you’ll need more than 5 minutes of your time to do it so start setting up those boundaries around the amount of time you have for you!
Make the time to invest in you, and the rest will fall into place!
Your future starts here.