Perhaps there is some specific science out there that breaks down the perfect approach to a life rooted in wellness. But, when I started my pursuit I was flying blind, mostly because I didn’t even realize what I was trying to solve for at the outset – I just knew I was off-balance. In working to address the scattered thoughts and feelings I was having, there were just some interests that I was clearly drawn to and my intuition suggested I needed to address them. It’s with hindsight that I have the clarity on the key wellness pillars that led to the reclaiming and renewing of my mind, body and spirit that had been rapidly eroded by the increasing demands of corporate and personal life.
As proof and by proximity of influence, my family has come along for the ride in this journey, and my husband most-notably, has also seen the tremendously positive effects. It’s never perfect, and that hasn’t been our goal – while some pillars carry more weight than others, and that weighting is likely different for each person – I believe the incremental improvement in any of these areas of focus can only bring a positive outcome in your quality of life. After all, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Those 8 wellness practice pillars that will nourish your mind, body and spirit are:
- Health & Wellness Audit: Visit a licensed healthcare professional who can verify the baseline of your current wellness status and help direct you where you may focus (I chose a functional medicine practice). You may also want to take an audit of the influences in your life that may be affecting your current wellness in a negative (or positive) way and make the proper adjustments moving forward. This is an ongoing loop as you may find areas to optimize, improve and/or evolve in your wellness practice.
- Exercise: Commit to achievable goals based on your current level of fitness and surround yourself with technology-based tools, friends and/or coaches that will keep you accountable. For me, a meaningful commitment was a variety of heart-pumping movements 5 days a week (I’m not breaking any records, but I am showing up) and that effort has produced incredible results in both physical and emotional health. Find activities that interest you and a cadence that you can perform with regularity.
- Self-Care: Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others, as they say in airplane safety videos. I see this category in the same way: taking time at least twice a month to release stress and renew your spirit. This can be massage, reflexology, acupuncture, or perhaps just an extra long, steamy shower with essential oils. You may find that time to recharge has both emotional and medical benefits.
- Clean Eating: Nourish your body with thoughtful consideration. There are no shortage of books, blogs, social influencers, documentaries, or PBS specials that help guide you in a variety of definitions for clean eating. Through doctor direction and guidance from those references mentioned, you will find that cleaning-up your diet could produce tremendous impact not just on your waistline, but your allergies, health, brain-fog, sleep, energy and overall vitality. For me, it’s not about counting calories these days, but rather keeping-it-real with my food, eating a plant-preferred diet, and avoiding all things processed, over-salted, sugared, and generally anything that requires a complex label.
- Environmental Detox: When you dig into the research on the negative impact that chemicals can have on your body (and all the places they are hidden), it’s frightening. Even more so when you’re a parent trying to protect your little ones. Ditching those harmful pollutants in your home and the products you use is a great step in a path of wellness for you and your entire family. Apps like “Think Dirty” can be a helpful resource.
- Purpose & Passions: Carving out time to focus on activities and passions that bring you joy can provide a much-needed respite from the regular chaos of life and reinvigorate your spirit. Finding ways to showcase your unique talents and channelling them for the good of others also has a reciprocal benefit. For me, playing music was a huge part of my childhood, but after high school graduation when all those years of formal lessons came to an end, I mostly walked away from it. But, in resetting my wellness and thinking about the joy that it used to bring me, I found that filling our house with the sound of music has truly increased my happiness…and that of those around me.
- Positive Influences, Peace & Positivity: Surround yourself with positive influences, choose and spread kindness, positivity, and make a sincere effort to consider varied perspectives. In hiding behind our computers, simply being too busy, or just not present in the moment, we might all agree that the world has too often become a place of negativity and inconsiderate behavior. This is 100% within our control with so very little effort. We reap what we sow, and this is a precious garden that we simply must tend.
- Continued & New Learning: Invest time in continued education and understanding to experience tremendous benefits in emotional and physical well-being. There’s plenty to learn from advancement in medicine and science, while ancient knowledge – either forgotten or suppressed through history – is proving to have tremendous benefits for the present. A focused effort on continued learning that we can apply to our daily living in a variety of ways provides measurable growth to all areas of mind, body and spirit.
In theory, the pillars above will have varied levels of focus from month-to-month (or whatever frequency required) as you evolve and improve or meet new considerations that life throws your way. Perhaps you’ll challenge yourself to achieve in some areas of greater weakness, or prefer to pour yourself into those that really drive your most positive results for a period of time. Whatever your journey, I have “the well-intended” hope that with these areas of focus, you’ll find an increase in clarity, energy, health, happiness, renewed spirit and creativity that will lift your overall mind, body and spirit.