Looking after your health and wellness involves the process of taking care of yourself to be a fitter, healthier and happier version of you. It involves making conscious decisions towards taking steps that will allow you to better look after yourself. If you neglect this you will find yourself battling with more illnesses, fighting to keep on top of your emotions and generally finding the day to day basics of life more of an uphill struggle. And that is quite simply why health and wellness is important.
By taking care of your nutrtion, exercise and your emotions it will contribute towards you leading a life of good health. We hope to share with you today exactly what the difference is between health and wellness, along with how and why taking care of your physcial, nutriton and emotional wellness will make all the difference to your health.
What is the difference between health and wellness?
You will find health and wellness marketed everywhere these days, from magazines, or social media accounts, to your food labelling when doing your grocery shopping. But these two very important topics are much more than just buzz words or a trend. They have the ability to significantly improve the quality of your life if you get them right.
What is health?
Health is about the body being free from injury, disease or illness. Being in good health is most definitely something that we should all want to strive for. Health is not just physical, it also comes in the form of our emotional health. The WHO (World Health Organisation) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”
What is wellness?
Wellness is more about the choices you make rather than being a destintion that you chose to get to: It is more a way of life. You could view it that wellness is your journey to health.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) defines wellness as: “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
By focusing on your wellness, you will see the benefits in your health
When we talk about physical wellness, the first thing that tends to spring to mind is exercise. And whilst that is an extremely important part, we can’t neglect the other areas that have arguably equal importance: Rest and sleep.
So what can you do to improve your physcial wellness:
- Focus on a move more mentality. It is recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Something like going for a walk is great and has huge benefits. We would suggest where possible to challenge the body on a physical level, this can obviously mean different things for different people. This could be doing a little more on your daily walk, or an extra length in the pool, or perhaps pushing yourself to achieve something in the gym. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it becomes part of your routine and your daily habits.
- Sleep soundly. This is most definitely easier said than done for a lot of people, but setting up your environment to allow yourself to get some quality sleep can benefit massively. This includes things such as avoiding the bright blue lights that are emitted from TV screens or phones, keeping your bedroom at a comfortable tempature, keeping a notebook next to your bed to jot down any thoughts that may come in to your mind as you are trying to fall to sleep, avoiding caffeine too close to bed.
- Finally, get some rest. We know: Contradiction alert! We are saying move more and then saying rest in the same point. Well yes, because you need to do both: We spoke about pushing yourself a little more with your exercise, but if for example, you are going to the gym and oblitering the body every single day without any rest days then that is going to do your body no good as there is no time for recovery. Rest also refers to listening to the body: Know when you may be heading for a burn out and learn to listen to the signs from your body to slow down. This is not only important for the body, but it is also important for the mind.
It goes without saying that nutritional requirements change based on age, activity, gender etc but there are some basics that everybody can follow, and if we can put these in to place it will ensure we have good nutrition principles which will inevitably show up in our health:
- Reduce consumption of unhealthy fats
- Limit alchohol consumption
- Reduce unrefined Carbohydrates
- Fuel your body with hydration by drinking plenty of water
- Cut out unnecessary sugar and salt intake.
- Where possible eat natural foods, and cook from scratch instead of eating ready meals which are full of preservatives, salt and the rest.
- Aim to eat a balanced diet consisting of Carbohydrates, Protein and health Fats.
We view food as fuel for the body and how you choose to fuel your body will depend on it’s performance. Having poor eating habits does not only result in poor physcial health due to lack of support for the immine system, lack of nutrition being provided to the cells to grow, replenish and nourish but also to your emotional wellness. Do you tend to find that when you are feeling low you maybe grab for that bit of chocolate thinking that will make you feel better, but after devouring the whole bar you actually don’t feel any different. Well infact, you may even feel worse than before because you’re now trying to combat the effects of bloatedness, lethargy and generally feeling that little more low than before.
It would be fair to say that our life is an emotional rollercoaster and we can easily go from one extreme to other. Emotional wellness is about learning to navigate our feelings, from identifying them to knowing how to appropriately deal with them. Fearne Cotton explains the meaning and understanding of emotional wellness perfectly in her book Happy. She uses the theory of the pendulum, which she says encourages you to “notice your own swing of emotions. Rather than swing with great force from one feeling to another, you can sit above it all, on top of the pendulum, and observe it unfolding. But neither should you try to stay in the middle of your pedulum and block out extreme emotions.” We find this truely fascinating, and actually quite liberating. Instead of thinking that you need to get control of everything and should quickly banish any unhappy feelings, actually, where possible, learn to sit with them and understand them, knowing that they are ok to be felt as emotions as long as you can take the approach of “this too shall pass”. Similarly, when you are feeling particularly happy, don’t expect or try to hold on to this emotion for too long.
Some great ways to stay in control of your emotions can include:
- Talking to others
Don’t just understand them, practice them
It is one thing knowing what health and wellness is, but it is also important to put the key things you can do to improve them in to practice each and every day. As we have said in a previous post, reading something will not do the work for you, you need to read it, digest it and then put it in to action.
We would love to hear about the key things that you have taken from this and what you will now try to put in place as a result of it. Please feel free to share it below, or perhaps any other suggestions you have too.
So until next time, stay healthy and stay well.