There are many pieces to the puzzle with feeling healthy and happy. Most people who yearn to improve their wellbeing often turn to the gym first.
That’s a great start. Fitness is a prescription for wellness. It doesn’t matter what kind of fitness activity you prefer. Move your body in a way that interests you. That way you are more likely to exercise.
There are other important aspects to improving your wellbeing. It’s not only movement – or what I call the “body work”; the “mind work” matters even more.
I co-lead the Mindful Moments Retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Here, I share wellness wisdom to inspire a healthy and happy lifestyle. This retreat work has inspired me to share some of the wellness tips here. Choose one or two to focus on that resonate with you to help you kick off your health journey.
Ask yourself “why do I wish to improve my health?”
Connect to your strongest driver to help with motivation. This is so when you have inevitable tough days – and want to give up – you can remember the reason behind why you do this. For example, you may choose to quit smoking. Your “why” might be to be healthier and live longer for the sake of your kids. So, thinking of your kids can be a powerful reminder when you want to abandon this health change. Realising some days are going to be tough too is important – pain is part of the process.
Are you keen to cut back on your alcohol consumption? Then ask yourself: “Am I a mindful drinker?”
As a society, we are generally programmed to drink alcohol at all kinds of celebrations. Next time you are offered an alcoholic drink, ask yourself why you are saying yes. If it’s because you want to drink it and enjoy it, then do that. Savour it. I believe in a balance of all things, by the way, not perfectionism. I too enjoy a glass of wine sometimes and eat chocolate. But, if you are saying “yes” only because you are worried about offending someone, have the courage to say “no thanks”. It’s your choice, always.
Consider planning healthy meals and making ahead.
If you are in a rush, then there’s more chance you could eat something unhealthy on the run. Eat more leafy greens, too, at every meal to uplift your mood. You can even eat greens at breakfast in a smoothie or add some to scrambled eggs on toast. I recommend the Oh Goodness Green Cleanse recipe, which you can find on the Good website – it’s beautifully plant-powered.
Take time to unwind in a way that helps you to find that sense of “calm” in your life.
We live in a hurried world which puts our bodies in fight-or-flight mode. This is not ideal for digesting food and keeping the weight off. So find your “pause button”. Read a book at night instead of looking at your phone. I love to light a candle too and drink calming, medicinal-grade tea, such as chamomile. Lavender oil on my wrists is also a ritual I adore.
If you are an over-thinker or often get anxious, re-learn how to manage your fears.
Know there are moments in every day that will be testing. This is normal. But the pressure you are under is likely almost entirely perceived. So choose to approach these tough moments with a renewed sense of calm. Know these thoughts will come, but they will also pass. Be aware to make the distinction between what is true, and what you might be over-analysing. If there’s no firm evidence, then don’t let your mind dwell there. Loving What Is by Byron Katie is a great read on how to alter your perspective to live a more positive and happy life.
Rachel is a mum, writer, healthy recipe creator and yoga teacher. For more visit inspiredhealth.co.nz