Re-Set Your Body, Mind & Soul – & Find Your “Why”

with Rachel Grunwell

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There are many pieces to the puzzle with feeling healthy and happy.

Most people who yearn to improve their wellbeing often turn to the gym first.

That’s a great start. Fitness is a prescription for wellness. If we incorporate movement, it fuels our wellness. It doesn’t matter what kind of fitness activity you prefer. Move your body in a way that interests you. That way you are more likely to turn up more often. Remember any action repeated often can eventually become a “lifestyle”. If you struggle with self-motivation, get good advice form a good personal trainer. They can provide you with support and knowledge to get started. There are also some cool ways they can share to help fitness stick.

There are other important aspects to improving your wellbeing. It’s not only movement – or what I call the “body work”… The “mind work” matters even more.

I co-lead the Mindful Moments Retreats at Rtoorua’s Polynesian Spa. Here, I share wellness wisdom to inspire a healthy and happy lifefstyle. I also help to guide yoga, mindfulness and meditation sessions. It’s a chance for Kiwis to switch off from their busy life for a weekend to rejuvenate. The aim is for each person is to bring their mind, body and spirit back into balance.

Below are some wellness tips that I share with retreat-goers. Choose one or two to focus on that resonates with you to help you kick off your own health journey now.

  1. Ask yourself ‘why do I wish to improve my health?’ 

Connect to your strongest driver to help with motivation to change a habit. This is so when you have inevitable tough days – and want to give up – you can remember reason the behind “why” you do this. For example, you may choose to quit smoking. Your “why” might be so you are able to be healthier and live longer for the sake of your kids. So, thinking of your kids can be a powerful reminder when you want to abandon this health change. Realizing some days are going to be tough too is important. Pain is part of the process. So stick with the ups and downs. Remember to focus on the emotion behind the health change for your kids. Then this might overrule the emotional urge to regress.

2. Are you keen to cut back on your alcohol consumption? Then ask yourself: ‘Am I a mindful drinker?’ 

As a society, we are generally programmed to drink alcohol at all kinds of celebrations. We hear that it can help us de-stress. We can also drink to be social. Next time you are offered an alcoholic drink, ask yourself “why” you are saying yes. If it’s a “yes” because you want to drink it and enjoy it, then do that. Savour it. I believe in balance of all things by the way, not perfectionism. I too enjoy a glass of wine sometimes and eat chocolate.

But, if you are saying “yes” only because you are worried about offending someone, then have the courage to say “no thanks”. It’s your choice, always. There are lots of low-alcohol, or zero alcohol, options on the market these days. So opt for something else instead. Another trick is to drink a glass of water as your second drink – to help slow down alcohol consumption.

3. Consider planning healthy meals and making these ahead of time. If you are in a rush, then there’s more chance that you could eat something unhealthy on-the-run. Eat more leafy greens too at every meal to uplift your mood. You can even eat greens at breakfast in a smoothie or add some to scrambled eggs on toast. Check out my book Balance for 30 nourishing recipes. I recommend the ‘Oh Goodness Green Cleanse’ which is beautifully plant-powered.

4. Take time to unwind in a way that helps you to find that sense of “calm” in your life. We live in a hurried world which puts our bodies in fight-or-flight mode. We are stressed and anxious in this mode and it’s not ideal either for digesting food and keeping the weight off. So find your “pause button”. Read a book at night instead of looking at your mobile phone. I love to light a candle at night, drink medicinal grade tea that has calming powers like camomile. I often read some pages from a book before bed-time too to help me wind down. Lavender oil on my wrists at night is also a ritual I adore.

5. If you are an over-thinker or often get anxious, then re-learn how to manage your thoughts. Know that there are moments in every day that will be testing. This is normal. But the pressure you are under is likely almost entirely perceived. So choose to approach these tough moments with a renewed sense of calm. Know these thoughts will come, but that they too will pass. Be aware to make the distinction between what is true, and what you might be over-analysing. If there’s no firm evidence, then don’t let your mind progress to those unhealthy thoughts. I can recommend a great book around this topic called ‘Loving What Is’ by Byron Katie. This book can arm you with tools on how to alter your perspective to live a more positive and happy life.

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