Starting your health & wellbeing journey

Starting something new can be intimidating, and with so much health & wellbeing information out there, it can be a little overwhelming…

Living well is a journey and is as individual as your fingerprint.

It’s important to build a positive and holistic view of your health and wellbeing. One that will lay the foundations for a sustainable lifestyle, allowing you to be the healthiest, happiest and most vibrant version of yourself!

There are many different dimensions of wellbeing, these include: physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. Each of these areas requires care, attention, and intentional behaviours / practices to live well.

Wellbeing is a term often used to assess happiness, health, stability, purpose and meaning in one’s life.

In my experience, taking time to identify all aspects of wellbeing, and committing to practices to improve all areas of ones wellbeing is often overlooked.

So let’s look at the dimensions of wellbeing;

Physical Wellbeing

How we treat and care for our body directly correlates to our overall wellbeing. This impacts our ability to cope with the stress and demands of everyday life.

The foundation of our wellbeing; adequate sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition should be our priority. This will provide us a stable foundation to build upon.

Emotional Wellbeing

Emotions guide us and help us interact and respond to ourselves, others and our environment.

How often do you truly take the time to pay attention to your feelings?

We have the ability to determine what we need to do to improve or manage our emotional state. By journaling, resting and practicing wellbeing disciplines such as yoga or meditation, help us connect to our emotions. This supports us in managing our feelings, thoughts and behaviours.

Cognitive (mental) Wellbeing

Mental or cognitive functioning is all about our thinking brain. This includes the thoughts we have and include the statements we make to our self, as well as our values, morals, and principles.

Our mental health is of upmost importance and affects every part of our lives, within ourself, in our relationships with family, friends, co-workers and the larger world.

How often do you take the time to rest your mind and to ensure that you are planting positive thoughts, intentions and affirmations into your mind?

Social Wellbeing

Social support is used to describe the people in your life that you can talk to and count on in times of stress, worry, celebration, and day-to-day living.

These people should (in general) have a positive effect on your life. These people are typically your family, partner, friends, co-workers, or members of your social groups.

It’s really important to understand that it’s less about the number of people in your social network and more about the quality of your relationships.

The key here is knowing where you need support and measuring this with your actual social support.

Spiritual Wellbeing

Spirituality is a term referring to the non-physical part of our being. Often described as our soul or spirit, it is a part within us that makes us unique!

Spirituality is non religious, it can be defined as the connection we feel to other people, nature, all living beings and the world.

Spiritual connection includes having a sense of gratitude, compassion, empathy and happiness towards people, nature and the world.

Spirituality includes finding meaning in life and having a sense of purpose.

Moving forward

With the above dimensions of wellbeing explained, I’ve highlighted my top six tips for starting your health & wellbeing journey;

1. Define your goals and make a plan – you’ll need to understand where you need to improve and then commit to daily practices to improve your health & wellbeing.

2. Sleep and rest – you should wake up feeling energised and rested, if you aren’t you’ll probably need more regular sleep and rest. Try sticking to wake and sleep times. You’ll need to do more activities to truly ‘rest’ including meditation or breath-work practices.

3. Get your heart pumping…. it doesn’t matter whether it’s running, walking, dancing, cycling or horse riding. Find something that you enjoy (or at least can endure!) and move your body! Three times a week is perfect!

4. Spend more time in the present moment – practice yoga, meditate, practice mindfulness or take more time to do what you love; it might be cooking, walking, listening to music or cycling!

5. Eat well – eat nutritious, seasonal, organic (where possible), delicious food. Get creative and always cook your own food where you can. Remove yourselves from anything digital and take time to connect with your family / friends over food.

6. Practice positive affirmations – these are statements that you think or say through the day. It’s important to keep them positive, realistic and they will help to support you in reaching your wellbeing goals.

I believe in the saying “we’re here for a good time, not a long time” so I live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, look after your mind, your body and your emotions, then for that other 20%, you can enjoy the cake, have that glass of wine or stay up late, because you have built the foundation. You will be able to enjoy yourself, knowing that the time you have invested in yourself will support you in living a happy and healthy life!

One of my favourite quotes;

Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live

Jim Rhon

By Carlie Barlow

Carlie Barlow has worked as a Health & Wellbeing professional for over 17 years, working for some of the worlds leading health, fitness & travel companies. Carlie has dedicated the last 10 years to designing facilities, concepts and programmes for clients within the UK and around the world.