Whilst I would dearly love to welcome each and every one of you on one of my health retreats, where you can experience my ethos and approach to health in person, this, of course, is not always feasible or practical. However, I am keen to share with you the 5 Pillars of health that underpin the foundations of my health retreats, which I believe are key in helping to create a solid platform in our busy hectic lives. It is a whole-body approach which, if you can address even in its simplest forms, will help you on your way to truly thrive and achieve optimal health.
Essentially the 5 pillars of health can be broken down generically into the following 5 areas—physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. This is the bigger picture; but how can we actually achieve this on a more practical level?
Addressing imbalances in the following 5 areas is the starting point and will not only improve your overall health but more importantly can be considered as preventative medicine and a measure for disease management.
So here are my practical 5 pillars of health to initiate success within the bigger picture:
1. Diet & Nutrition
Unsurprisingly this tops my list!
You don’t need significant expertise or flair when it comes to cooking but simply need to ensure the food you eat is wholesome, using the highest quality ingredients and produce, organic where possible but not essential. Above all, the meals should be tasty and easy to prepare. If you also ensure a variety of foods and a degree of innovation, you’ll find your choices much more appealing and it’ll be easier to continue eating this way.
With a realistic, practical and achievable approach foremost in my ethos, I also advise taking care not to avoid a food group entirely, but to ensure a modest combination of foods containing wheat, gluten, dairy products, sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol, assuming no allergies.
If you do have specific health conditions or concerns, it is worth speaking with a health professional to help you address these so that you have a clear plan to help you achieve your health goals.
My 6-week Health Improvement Programme is designed to achieve this exactly.
2. Exercise & Activity
Daily physical activity is crucial; whether it’s a formal exercise class, yoga or pilates session or simply walking or cycling and even housework. These activities must become a set part of your daily routine. Whilst aiming for daily exercising can perhaps be a challenge if you are unaccustomed to being active day-to-day, you will soon find yourself energised and invigorated which will inspire you to continue a regular exercise routine.
Activities such as yoga vary in style and are designed to focus and improve the quality of your breathing to improve stamina and energy levels, whilst the gentle rhythmic breathing techniques focus more on reducing stress, to help induce sound sleep.
3. Relaxation & Sleep
In our busy lives, it is important to take the time to relax and reflect. However many see this as an indulgence but I cannot stress enough that this is far from an indulgence! Giving yourself permission to relax is quite often a good way to start; even if it’s just for 5 mins during the day with a cup of tea and most certainly at the end of the day; there needs to be a cut off from the chores/work when you allow yourself to slow down and relax. Allowing the wind-down time along with good sleep hygiene will help induce a good night’s sleep.
Reducing stress and getting a good night’s sleep is fundamental to a healthier life and should not be overlooked.
4. Personal Development
Personal growth and development differ from person to person but ultimately a common aim is to achieve a happy and fulfilling life. With tools and guidance, you can find a path that allows you to enhance the quality of your lives and truly thrive. Your health plays a significant role in your ability to focus on your goals in life and establishing healthy habits undoubtedly makes this less challenging. Taking care of your health, along with a positive mindset, can have a profound effect on many aspects of your life.
5. Alternative Perspective
Finding solitude away from work and family commitments is invaluable, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy a new way of being, in the peace and tranquillity of a serene location. Escaping on a health retreat will of course provide this, but finding a calm spot; whether it’s a nearby forest, beach or local park and being close to nature allows you to see yourself in a different place; this can be very liberating and with calm surroundings offers an ideal atmosphere to truly relax and unwind. The setting for my health retreat at Chateau de la Vigne certainly ticks all these boxes!
Challenging yourself to engage in new activities, eat new foods and learn new skills empowers you to continue a new way of living with more confidence. Often this will involve breaking bad habits and replacing them with new healthy ones. Even for those already practising a healthy way of life, challenging yourself to enjoy more exercise sessions per day, increase your knowledge or learn more recipes, for example, will help you progress and achieve positive outcomes more quickly.
And finally… Spend time with people who have similar goals; chatting and discussing as well as participating in new activities together, can be a fun and enjoyable way to meet new people! Realising that others have similar concerns and issues can help you to contemplate your own goals more effectively.