Updated: Dec 1, 2021
I really like doing puzzles. You get to match each small piece with another, see if they fit, and if not, then try a different one, until it all becomes a solid picture. There is a lot of excitement along the way, but the puzzle is only finished when all the pieces are put together.
It’s very annoying when one piece of the puzzle is missing, isn’t it?
Doing puzzles may seem boring to some, but it teaches a great deal of patience, compassion, prioritisation and it gives you this beautiful feeling of victory.
Building your optimal health and wellbeing is a lot like doing puzzles.
There are certain elements which you need to put together, some of them will work, some of them won’t, some of the pieces will fit within your lifestyle, some won’t, at some point you’ll get frustrated because nothing will work, and other times you’ll jump up and down because you’ve solved a puzzle mystery.
It’s very easy to be cavalier with your health and wellness. After all, you have your health, you didn’t need to do anything to obtain it, yet it’s so easy to lose it. You may go days, months, years, decades really without paying any attention to your health, until your health reminds you that it’s been neglected for too long.
Do you know that it’s very cost-effective to stay healthy, yet we choose to pay a lot to have our health repaired when often is too late?
A few years ago, I was like some many of you: stressed, overwhelmed, unmotivated, reactive to day’s events, battling with depression and grief. I searched validation of meaning in so many different ways: it was like putting a new piece of the puzzle together and seeing how it doesn’t fit.
Building your health and wellbeing is a journey for sure, and you need a solid roadmap to navigate through the jungle. So, let me show you the roadmap so you can take it on your own journey. But I don’t want to leave you with just the roadmap, I want you to get this downloadable 5 planning strategies to manage your time better so you can achieve more and feel in control of your day cheat sheet to help you find these most precious resources you have!
Ok, are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s go!
Pillar #1 Body movement
In order to go anywhere, you need to move. This statement is so obvious, that is very easily missed. But the simple act of movement puts everything in motion.
Of course, we’re talking about moving your body, but the philosophy of body movement can really be applied in other areas in your life too.
There are a lot of health benefits of exercising: muscles strength, healthy bone density, fresh oxygen distribution across your body, healthy heart, increase, and hormone distribution, mood elevation. Those are biological benefits of exercising. And those are important for your longevity. But body movement has another important role to play when it comes to your wellbeing.
When I was going through the dark stages of grief and was slipping deeper and deeper into the hands of depression, I read in a desperate moment that to change anything I had to move my body.
Now, if you suffer from any mood disorder, or even if you just feel blue, you know exactly how hard it is to do anything. Even fulfilling vital functions like eating is hard, let alone to think about exercising!
I strongly believe that knowledge is power, but only if you use it. So, I looked for that missing puzzle because I really needed to get myself out of the darkness. Your picture may not be as dark as mine was, maybe you put on weight recently and it bothers you because you don’t feel good about it. But believe me, that situation made you stationary too.
Either way, the missing puzzle is the chemical reaction occurring in your body when you exercise.
Let me explain.
A lot of mood disorders and emotional states occur due to chemical imbalances in your brain. The underlying cause for the imbalances to happen will differ, of course, and the level of severity will differ, but it is the emotional state that will decide if you move or not.
The only way to alter the emotional state aka your mood is to deliver new chemical components into your brain. And the only way to do it is through exercise.
When you do high intensity exercise your heart rate increases, it starts pumping more blood with fresh oxygen to your organs and chemical reactions start to happen. A neurotransmitter called endorphins is released into your bloodstream and your emotional state changes. Endorphins, commonly known as pain killers, are responsible for mood elevation.
And once you elevate your mood, you will feel so much better. You will be more motivated, energetic, you will look at the world around you in a more positive way and you will be more willing to look for solutions and take action.
And that’s exactly what I did.
I started moving my body. I started gently, with some easy walking in nature, until I build up a daily habit of mindful body movement. I added some pieces, I tried, I altered, I swapped. Until I got it to fit within my body’s needs perfectly.
It’s very easy to start moving your body because you don’t need anything fancy to start exercising right now. And that’s how body movement becomes pillar number one on your health and wellness journey.
Pillar #2 Nutrition
Once you start moving your body, you will soon discover that the nutrition puzzle does not sit right. It may need a few adjustments.
When it comes to nutrition, we need to discuss your lifestyle diet. The bigger question is of course if there is any particular diet which you should follow (read here my blog post about a plant-based diet and what you need to know to follow it right), but you may not be ready for such a big commitment right away.
You see, I’ve been vegan for a really long time so when I started building pillars of health and wellness, I didn’t think nutrition would be a big part of it. After all, I thought, I already ate healthily. But I changed my thinking once I realised that it’s not all about the right amounts of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you need to consume.
When you are stationary your body doesn’t burn much energy. Therefore, sooner or later your body will be storing the excess calories as fat. Your body’s energy is mostly delivered through either carbohydrates or fat conversion (proteins count only for 15%). The more fat your body can burn for energy, the less there is to be stored. But if you don’t move your body, there is no opportunity for your body to burn it.
When you incorporate elements of body movement into your lifestyle, your body will have different dietary needs. Your distribution of the major food groups may change. But this will also have an effect on other parts of your lifestyle diet.
You may find that your body needs a higher dose of magnesium, potassium, or iron to keep up with your muscle movement demands. But you may also find that you need to ease off on your alcohol consumption because the next day hangover, sleepless nights and haziness don’t support you anymore.
Now, let’s talk water.
As a nation, Australians are constantly dehydrated. And one of the vital elements of your health is water. Drinking good quality water, that is. Your body is composed of 70% water, so water is essential to your survival. Water helps with every essential function of your body like circulation or digestion. It helps to deliver much needed nutrients around your cells and remove the waste products from your body.
If you experience symptoms such as low energy, loss of concentration or muscle cramps, headaches, or nausea, your body is telling you that you’re dehydrated.
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends an intake of about two liters of water a day (2 liters for women and 2.6 for men). But if I’m to be honest: your body will tell you how much it needs. You will need to deliver more water if you sweat a lot, if you exercised, if you’re building your body systems, and so on.
You most likely think about water in a liquid form, and around 80% of the water intake comes from drinking it, but the other 20% comes from the food you consume. Fruit and vegetables contain 90% of water, so keep this in mind with your next meal prep.
Drinking water should not be replaced by drinking sugary or energy drinks. The purpose of building your health is to deliver your body the necessary element to thrive. And water is that element.
Your nutrition is closely linked with the energy you have. For me, the biggest nutritional change was sugar consumption. I did the quit sugar challenge and saw the missing puzzle straight away.
Sugar is that deadly weapon you use to kill off your motivation, your energy, and will for action. It not only creates havoc inside your organs, like high sugar blood spike, insulin production disturbances (which then further leads to the development of obesity and diabetes) but it affects the energy levels and influences your mood.
Once I came off sugar (not only sugar as you know it, but I eased off on fruit consumption, eliminated highly processed foods, and started reading food labels religiously because sugar is added to everything those days) I noticed I had more energy to do things, I had a better mood, and I didn’t experience drastic mood swings like I used to.
And that’s how nutrition becomes pillar number two on your health and wellness journey.
Pillar #3 Mindset
When you embark on a journey of health and wellness, at some point you will start paying more attention to your thoughts. Or you start thinking more about yourself, how you work, or most likely what doesn’t work with you. We, humans, tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive.
But sooner or later you will arrive here: at your mindset. Fresh, with new energy, and full of nutrition. And you will be ready for changes. Maybe some small changes to begin with, but changes, nevertheless.
Following on what Einstein said that you can’t solve a problem with the mind which created it, you can’t build your health and live in wellness with the mind which didn’t get you to live in that state.
Building a new mindset, being open to new possibilities and different ways of looking at certain things in life and your health, will take time. It’s a process that is to be taken gently, but the rewards are huge.
Scientists describe our mindset either as ‘fixed’ or ‘growth’. There are a lot of influences on the state of your mindset but obtaining a growth mindset should become your ultimate goal. When I arrived at this pillar, my mindset was still fixed, but not as much as when I began the journey. Because you’ve been building your puzzle for a while now, you can be more patient and more compassionate towards yourself when it comes to sorting your mindset pieces.
And that’s how mindset becomes your third pillar.
I hope you like puzzles or started to warm up to them after reading how to build your health and wellness. As with puzzles, each piece needs to fit around the other pieces, to get the full picture. Building your health and wellness works the same way. You take each pillar and fit it together to get the full healthy you.
To get somewhere you have to move. That’s very obvious but we don’t think about it when we think about building our health. But that’s exactly what you need to get started.
Incorporating body movement techniques into your everyday routine will put you in motion. Lack of motivation or lack of time may be blamed for lack of exercising, but to truly change your wellness state you need to move. Your body needs movement from a biological point of view. It needs to have healthy muscles, bones, and fresh oxygen pumping into your heart and blood vessels to carry you through the daily chores.
To change the chemistry of your brain, you got to move too. Because energy creates energy, the more you move, the more you will notice the importance of body movement.
So, let’s get your endorphins flowing with pillar number one.
Here comes the nutrition. Now that you moved your body, created some energy, you need to nourish it from within. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go on the latest diet, but it means you need to start paying attention to how you want your energy to be created.
One of the most important elements you can add into your nutrition pillar is water. Drinking plenty of clean, filtered water will help you to stay at the top of your game. Your body is composed of 70% water which should be an easy clue to spot that you need water for survival.
Pay close attention if with all those changes you are not high up on sugar. This white deadly weapon creates havoc inside your body and is a leading cause in ruining your health. Your nutrition pillar needs to support your energy levels and high sugar consumption will slow you down.
That’s why nutrition is your second pillar in building your health and wellness.
You moved your body, you nourished it from inside, it’s time to re-assess your mindset. Because it took you a lifetime to develop beliefs and expectations, those will be the first areas where your mindset shifts will start to happen. As with any journey, the longer you’ve been travelling, the more you’ll be discovering and embracing the changes.
Building your pillars of health and wellness may take some time, you will definitely encounter some ups and downs, and you will definitely need a roadmap. I’m not going to pretend it’s easy, but I can guarantee that it’s totally worth it.
Imagine that you get to have the energy you always wanted, you are more patient with yourself and those around you, you stopped the onset of life-threatening illness but above all, you found a joy within yourself. I hope you can imagine it, and trust me, this is doable if you follow my roadmap. Get this downloadable 5 planning strategies to manage your time better so you can achieve more and feel in control of your day cheat sheet to help you find this most precious resources you have!
Having problems with building pillars of your health? Go on: www.annadoktor.com.au to find out more about Anna Doktor Wellness Coaching and how I can help you to beat the overwhelm once and for all. Alternatively, send me an email at email@example.com or call to have a chat to see how we can work together tel: 0498016440.
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