The 4 Nourish pillars of health and wellbeing.

Have you heard of the 4 pillars of health and wellbeing? The ones we set great store by here at Nourish, are nutrition & hydration, sleep, exercise and mental health. Being healthy, fit and well is pretty much the cornerstone of wellbeing, but, it’s not always easy to achieve. Life gets in the way sometimes and it can feel like your own health and wellbeing has taken a back seat due to stress, work, lack of time, exhaustion, and more.

So, which is the most important pillar, and why? The answer is that they are all important and that they actually rely on one another. Sometimes your nutritional needs will take a back seat while you work your way through a deadline at work and that’s fine so long as your mental health takes a front seat instead. Got a pressing deadline, eating less well than normal? Take it easy on yourself and plan a great, healthy meal to celebrate getting the end of the work project. It’s all about balance, not guilt.

These pillars are used by so many health professionals and everyone has their own subtle interpretation of them. Here’s what they mean to us at Nourish!

Nourish - 4 pillars blog - nutrition

Nutrition and hydration

Being surrounded by wonderful ingredients all day at work makes us particularly food aware at Nourish. As Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be thy medicine’. Eat well and your body will reward you with clearer skin, a functional gut, more energy and a sense of wellbeing.

Maybe you eat Organic, maybe you don’t, so long as your diet contains plenty of nourishing ingredients, that’s the most important thing. We like to use Organic ingredients in our products because we believe that food should be as unadulterated as possible and be of the highest quality. Small swaps to Organic vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat and eggs will help to cut down on your exposure to toxic pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.

However, it’s not realistic to think that we’ll be able to eat well all of the time and many of us follow an 80/20 rule. There’s nothing wrong with this, your body is built to detoxify itself and a little of what you fancy from time to time isn’t a nutritional fail.

Hydration is the detox key as it helps to keep everything moving, aiding digestion and clearing out any nasties. The EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, recommends that we drink 2 – 2.5L of water a day and that 70-80% of our fluid intake is from drinks made with water as their base. The remaining 20-30% should be from foods that are rich in soluble fibre, that’s those veggies!

As a general rule of thumb following a wholefood diet, cooking with fresh ingredients, using a wide variety of veggies, eating healthy fats (like our coconut macaroons!) and getting plenty of water will sustain you very well.

*Sometimes a gut health issue can mean that you need to follow a specific diet, we’re going to dive into this in a couple of weeks time on the blog so check back then.

Sleep

Sleep, it can feel like the final frontier sometimes! If you have young children, if you’re stressed, if you’ve had coffee too close to bedtime, the list goes on and on. If you find yourself craving it then the first thing to ask yourself is why?

Often it’s our own routine that can be preventing us from getting the sleep that we need. The phase, sleep routine, has been bandied around a lot over the past few years, and with good reason. Setting yourself up for success with sleep can not just mean that you get more, but that if you don’t sometimes you’re not stressing about it.

So, what’s a sleep routine look like? It’s pretty simple and probably much like what you would have done as a child, in fact treat yourself as you would a child at bedtime and you’re pretty much there.

  • Quiet, wind down time prior to bedtime, no screens for at least 30 minutes before bed
  • A tidy, calm room to sleep in
  • No lights on in the bedroom to sleep and definitely no phones!
  • Wind down to sleep with a little reading, maybe an audio book or a warm epsom salts bath
  • Sleep in a well ventilated room

We’ve talked about the advantages of beauty sleep before on the blog so if you’d like to get into this on a deeper level then check that out.

Exercise

Three words, just, get, moving. It really doesn’t matter what you do so long as you’re moving. Variety is great with exercise; like lifting weights but hate cardio, do your weights session and go for a walk instead. Conversely, hate weights and love cardio, then run whenever you fancy but maybe mix it up with some TRX, using your own body weight instead of weights.

Movement helps our bodies to function better, helping us to dissipate stress, helps with digestion and even aids with sleep. If you feel sluggish after a few days indoors then take your exercise outdoors too and get the double whammy of endorphins and vitamin D!

Planning for exercise just like you would plan anything else creates a habit, and this is the key. If you’re struggling for motivation then maybe find a challenge that you’d enjoy training for or maybe take up a new sport? Read Ellerie’s yoga journey to see how she successfully introduced a new routine.

Mental Health

Understanding your own mental health needs is a huge step in the pursuit of happiness. Some of us crave a little peace and quiet, that time alone that can be hard to find. For others it’s the company of friends and a chance to gossip and hang out. Just knowing what your own needs are can really help you to unwind and find that calm feeling.

Our mental health can be affected by so many things, happiness, sadness, stress, exhilaration. These emotions can manifest in the most simple situations, for instance, you run for the train in the morning and you make it, you start the day happy, you miss it, you feel a bit rubbish. Finding the best in every situation might sound trite but it may help to avoid the ups and downs that can affect our mental health.

Some start a gratitude journal, a simple way of reminding themselves day by day, that life is good in many ways. For others it might just be making yourself see the best in a bad situation. You’ve missed the train, so buy a new book on your kindle and lose yourself for a while in a great story.

Doing things with intensity and purpose can help us to be more positive too. If you don’t like a situation then think about whether you can change it. Maybe if you can’t it’s time to walk away and try something new.

A lot of people from the world of sport, the army and business, talk about how a positive mental attitude can be the best tool that they have in their mental health armoury. It can be a challenging way to live but the likes of Ant Middleton, Mo Farah and Peter Jones, have made it their life’s work to live in the positive.

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