Have you heard of the SEVEN Pillars for Inspired, Thriving Health?
Maybe not? It was a notion we talked a lot about during my Integrative Nutrition Program, and it relates to total health as it supports your body and your mind. Yes nutrition & exercise are key tools to improve your overall health, but they are not the only tools! Health is Holistic, and in order to reach optimal health it’s important to give time and attention to each of these pillars every single day.
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, move your body everyday, get outside in the sunshine, find a coping mechanism to handle life’s stressors, create a passion project and see REAL people!
When you find a piece of your puzzle 🧩 off track, be a health detective and see if you can bring your pillar back to balance. Let’s break down each pillar and see how you can apply these simple tactics to prioritize a balanced Pillar of Health in your own life.
Sunshine & Nature
Living close to nature and spending time in the sun reduces the risk of Type II Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Premature death, Stress, and Hypertension. PLUS it feels good!
- Sunlight increases mood by boosting Serotonin levels – your happiness hormone! The Sun also increases Vitamin D levels–which help your immune system to function properly and aids in calcium absorption which positively affects your bone density.
- Nature calms your nervous system and shuts down cortisol, your “fight or flight” hormone. When your are fully present “in nature” you naturally let go of your fast paced lifestyle and your stress starts to slip away.
- Aim for 30 minutes per day in nature. Make it a form of exercise (walk/run/hike/bike) and it’s like a two for one benefit!
Humans are meant to connect and be supported by a community. Studies on the Blue Zones (people who live to 100 years old) show that people live longer when their lifestyle includes community. Find a tribe of people who make you feel more alive and inspired, and love them hard!!
- Cook and enjoy meals with family and friends!! Have fun in the kitchen with others, savor meals together and delight in conversation.
- LAUGHTER!! Ever notice how good it feels to really let yourself laugh?? It really is the best medicine. Spend time with funny friends or children and get in some laughs. Kids easily find the fun and funny in life’s simple, mundane tasks
- Create your own Community!! Think of activities you enjoy. Can you find a tribe of people who share your affinity for say cooking or exercise or reading books and connect with these individuals on a regular basis!
Focus on Hydrating with Clean Water and Nourishing your body and mind with REAL FOOD. Simple as that!!!
- Avoid foods in excess that you know are not increasing your health! Candy, Soda, Caffeine, Liquor, Processed Food, Processed Oils.
- Drink half your body weight in ounces every single day!! Get in the habit of waking up and drinking 12 oz. of water. Add a squeeze of 1/2 a lemon for extra credit
- Aim to enjoy SEVEN types of vegetables per day. The variety is great for your gut microbiome and fiber intake, and it keeps things fun and interesting. Smoothies & Salads are a great way to incorporate several plants in one meal!!
Protect your bedtime routine and create soothing ritual that optimizes your environment for a quality nights sleep!
- Try to get to bed around 10 pm, and aim for 6-8 hours of high quality, restful sleep.
- Aim to eat dinner early! Try to eat dinner 2-3 hours before laying down to bed. This way your body isn’t working on digesting a big meal at bed time.
- Aim to dim your lights and shut off your devices by 9:00p.
- Grab a book, light a candle and relish in a relaxing Epsom Salt bath before bed time. It really relaxes your muscles and sets the mood for a good night’s sleep!
- Invest in a weighted blanket! It has the same soothing effect we give our newborns when we swaddle them. It’s been a total game changer in improving my quality of sleep.
- Take L-Theanine with your AM coffee or tea. This is an amino acid that helps promote a restful, relaxed state without diminishing daytime alertness.
Find a form of physical exercise you love, and schedule it in your calendar every single day!
In my opinion–Exercising in NATURE is truly the best medicine!
- Sign up (and pay) for a scheduled class online or at your favorite studio.
- Schedule an exercise date with a friend! Keep each other motivated and accountable
- Aim to workout at the same time every single day to strengthen your habit.
Mindfulness & Meditation
Deep breath in, deep breath out. MAKE TIME TO JUST BE. Time to take deep, cleansing breaths. Time to turn inward and shut the outside world and all your tasks off for just a moment .
- Try a Meditation App: Calm, Headspace, HeartMath, Insight Timer all offer free trials
- Head outside, lie down and stare at the clouds
- Practice deep breathing while waiting at a traffic light, or when you are in line at the grocery store.
They say that life is about finding your purpose, …but really it is about creating it!
What makes you feel alive? What are you passionate about? Creativity is a habit, a mindset, and a practice that can transform your life and fill it with the vitality you are seeking. I love this graphic that illustrates steps to turning your passion into a profession!
- Create a journal practice where you dream about your passion project coming to life and how that will look, feel and work. Then schedule 15 minutes per day making gains toward turning your passion into a reality!
- Let go of perfection and your fear of failure and just go for it! What’s the worst thing that could happen?
- When you are clear in your expectations, clear in your next steps toward progress, thriving comes with more ease