9 Tips to Strengthen Your Mind, Body & Soul to Uplift Your Health

  • This piece was commissioned for Coeliac Link magazine by Coeliac NZ. Many Kiwis live with coeliac disease, which is an autoimmune condition. This has wide ranging symptoms (including hairless, irritable bowel syndrome, anaemia or low iron, fatigue, weakness and lethargy, osteoporosis, and more). If you think you might have symptoms, please contact your doctor. If left untreated, coeliac disease can lead to serious health issues. It is estimated that one in 50 Kiwis have coeliac disease, but some of these cases remain undiagnosed.

9 Tips to Strengthen Your Mind, Body & Soul

By Rachel Grunwell

Your wellbeing is an inside job, and you oversee the controls. You can uplift your health any time you choose. You can do it through many ways – by either working on your mind, body, or soul. What I mean by this is that you can choose to improve how you move, sleep, eat (besides avoiding gluten if you have coeliac disease, of course) and think (aka stress management/mindset strategies/positive thinking etc).

I’m a wellness coach and I help clients with different ways to feel healthier and happier. Clients tell me their goals and what that looks like and feels like for them. I then look at their personality, what they desire, their lifestyle and create plans that are relatable, do-able and achievable.

Every client is unique and so no plan looks the same.

Here are some ideas below on some different ways you can start to elevate your health. Choose one to work on that resonates with you. Please don’t adopt all these ideas (because that could be overwhelming). Choose one idea that speaks to your heart. Keep trying it and see how it feels over time. Elevating your health is one tiny, courageous step at a time. Over time, those tiny steps will amount to a giant leap with your wellbeing. ps if I can go from a sugar-addicted, stressed-out investigative journo… into a greens-smoothie-lovin’ yogi… then anyone can transform!  

1.  Sleep like a baby at night so you can live life like a beast! Get 8 hours’ sleep nightly (if you are an adult). Children need more hours of zzzzzzzs. Sleep helps with things like having increased energy, shaper concentration, feeling happier, improved memory, better decision making, and it improves your ability to manage stress. Sleep helps you to feel more capable/have more energy and willpower with adopting healthy habits too! It also helps you over a longer period to look more youthful. Some tips include sleeping in a dark room. Try not to look at screens an hour before bed time. The blue light is potent and can impact melatonin levels ie keep us awake. Try to avoid caffeine in the afternoon or night if it impacts your sleep and remember that alcohol can also impact sleep quality.

2. Try to live a more active lifestyle. You don’t have to join a gym or lift heavy weights (although I love this and totally recommend it!) You can use your body weight to do some exercises for free (at home or in a park) if you wish. The latter is just as effective as going to the gym. You can do options like walking, jogging, dancing, skipping, vinyasa flow yoga or tennis. Resistance training is particularly important for strengthening your body and also your bones (which helps to combat osteoporosis). I’d personally recommend incorporating a more active lifestyle. If you want to start a fitness regime, then make it fun and start with roughly 30 minutes’ activity 3-5 times weekly. Ps doing resistance training with a friend or whanau will make it more fun. They can also help inspire you into action on days where motivation is hard!

3.  Actively carve out time for happiness in your life. You get to create happiness; You don’t find this. How to do this? It depends on what you love doing. Do things that bring you joy, awe and wonder. These things help you to feel energised, and smile. Some ideas are running, swimming, surfing, knitting, reading books, gardening, listening to music, going to a comedy or movie… There is cool research behind finding ‘flow’ – which is something you love doing that you are good at and you get immersed in the love of doing it! In the state of flow you lose track of time often because you are so happy. So it’s a great state to chase!

4. Find strength through stillness. Everything is getting faster and more efficient in this world. But going faster isn’t always better. Too much stress can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression and overwhelm. Try things like yoga, meditation, tai chi, or just walking in nature. Cultivate calm to unwind your stress nervous system. If you feel calmer then this allows you to be happier, more productive, and there’s more space for letting ourselves think well, dream more and live well.

5. Learn mindfulness techniques to help you to live more vibrantly alive and happier in “the now”. Mindfulness helps you to train your brain into more positive thinking. This tool can help you to do less rumination and to feel less anxious. It helps you on how to more mindfully consider situations that you can’t change etc.

6. Nourish your body with foods and drinks that are good for your wellbeing ie blueberries and salmon are great. But obviously not together (yuck!) Chuckle. Eat more plants on your plate that are all the colours of the rainbow – so you get lots of different micronutrients. Eat more real, fresh wholefoods that serve your body well. Try to avoid too much processed foods, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

7. Nurture good relationships. A Harvard study found that people who are more socially connected are healthier and live longer. So, forget trying to be celebrity or getting rich as a road to happiness; Seek out great play mates instead.

8.  Hugs. Do them often. With other humans or pets. It releases hormones in your body that helps you to feel gooooooooood.

9. Limit alcohol. The national guidelines are to limit alcohol intake to one or two standard drinks per day at the most. But even that is too much for many people. I advise clients to notice how alcohol makes you feel when you drink it and adjust your intake accordingly. It’s often high in calories too. And more than two units of alcohol per day can raise your fracture risk (according to Bone Health NZ).

Author background: Rachel’s mission is to inspire Kiwis to live healthier & happier. She is a “wellness geek” (PT, wellness coach, yoga + mindfulness teacher, wellness speaker, and healthy recipe creator for Good magazine). She’s also a “writing geek” (award-winning journalist, magazine writer and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, which includes 30 global experts sharing health + happiness ideas). Rachel co-leads the blissful Mindful Moments Retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. The latter has just been recognised as one of Conde Nast Traveller’s recommended places to stay for ultimate rainforest luxury experiences.

Facebook @inspiredhealthNZ

Instagram @rachelgrunwell

For more information on coeliac disease check out Coeliac NZ

Tips to Manage Stress

Tips to Manage Stress 

By wellness expert Rachel Grunwell – co-leader of the Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreats, yoga + meditation teacher & author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Make uplifting your wellbeing the goal for 2023 , doing it one tiny step at a time. Your wellbeing is your true wealth.

You could work on how you move, eat, sleep – or how you manage stress.

The latter is a common issue for most people. So, you are not alone. Here are some tips to manage stress. I hope one resonates and helps you.

Do joyful things because they are mood-lifting and uplifting for your soul.

Joyful activities are also a great distraction from your never endling to-do-list. As researcher Brene Brown, when we are in a state of joy colours are brighter, exercise feels easier and smiling happens involuntarily. We also don’t lose ourselves; We become more truly ourselves. Consider something you love to do that makes you feel joyful and do it regularly.

    •    Find calm in a way that resonates with you.

For me, yoga and meditation put me in a calm, happy, grounded state. I feel more myself and “in balance”. But yoga isn’t for everyone. It’s all about finding “your thing”. For you, it might be a walk in nature that helps you to feel calm.

Nature Nurtures: Rotorua’s majestic Redwoods Forest in incredible. You’ll feel calm as you walk through this special, quiet, beautiful and peaceful place.

For others, they might find calm by doing tai chi or having a hot bath at night in candle-light. One sure way to feel calmer and happier is patting your dog or cat if you have one. This releases feel-good hormones in your body like oxytocin.

    • Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend or a child.

Self-talk can be toxic when we talk to ourselves. It takes practice to change the way we think and talk sometimes. The next time you feel frustrated at yourself, stop, pause and remind yourself that you deserve thoughts that are loving and kind – just like everyone else. Remind yourself that you are doing your best and deserve to be happy.

    • Book a retreat where you can learn lots of de-stress skills like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, mindfulness and where you will experience time in nature.

The Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreat is a perfect weekend-long getaway that’s affordable. You’ll get pampered here with a massage included in the retreat fee and indulge in nourishing food with our sumptuous lunches (provided on both days of the weekend). The goodie bag is what everyone really raves about though! It’s worth $350 and includes lots of incredible beauty products as well as my book, Balance; Food, Health + Happiness. The book includes wisdom from 30 global experts including psychologists, neuroscientists, nutritionists, emotional intelligence experts, and happiness researchers + 30 nourishing recipes. Retreat-goers spend time in nature (biophilia, or forest bathing) in the majestic Redwoods Forest. Yoga is included and you’ll learn incredible meditation and mindfulness skills from the spa’s highly experienced manager, and meditation teacher, Helena Keenan.

Here are some pictures to tempt you:

Here’s an example of the goodie bag. It’s different every time but always includes beauty products, a Balance book and a bag.

Here I’m in a private pool, but there are 28 lake-side pools to choose from on site – of different temperatures. Some are acidic and great for muscle aches and pains, while there are also other pools where they are alkaline and these leave your skin silky smooth.

The pools are bliss…


Rachel and Helena are experienced wellness experts who love to share research-backed tools on how to uplift your wellbeing.

Here are the retreat dates for the Mindful Moments Retreats in 2023:

Saturday, 20th May – Sunday, 21st May 2023

 Saturday, 19th August – Sunday, 20th August 2023

 Saturday, 18th November – Sunday, 19th November 2023

 $689 per person

To find out what’s included and to book check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE


Rach’s Remedy

AD/ If the thought of drinking apple cider vinegar neat makes your lips pucker, then try this elixir which helps to stimulate digestion, packs a nutritional punch, and is delicious! Warning: You’ll feel seriously virtuous after knocking this baby back…


1 tablespoon CoralTree Organics Apple Cider Vinegar 1 large orange (skin removed)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (skin removed and grated) 1/2 cup fresh turmeric

(or use 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder instead) 3 grinds of black pepper
1 cup coconut water (or use plain water instead) 1 teaspoon manuka honey


Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz into a juice. Pour into a glass and savour!

To make a grown-up version, add a shot of gin and rename it a “Coral Reefy”! 

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness expert and author of the book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness, as well as a healthy recipe creator for Good magazine. She has been taking apple cider vinegar daily for years as one of her wellbeing rituals and as part of her philosophy to live life more in balance.


Why the Keto Diet Works…

How to Lose Weight & Look Good on the Keto Diet
Rachel Grunwell is a weekly wellness columnist for Indulge. This column appeared in Indulge magazine and on the Herald online too.
Is it me, or is instagram full of people thanking the Keto diet for helping them to lose weight and look good.
OK, I’m a wellness geek who follows lots of people who dig wellness. So it’s going to happen!
But seriously, the Keto diet is trending.

Read More

Renowned Artist gets fitter, stronger & reaches goal weight

Simon side view

By Rachel Grunwell

Artist Simon Richardson proves if you have the right mindset, you can achieve incredible weight-loss and fitness results.

He didn’t even use a gym and still drank beers!

Full disclaimer: Simon, 44, is one of my super-star clients I coach. He’s a multi-award-winning painter.

Read More

Why Workplace Happiness Matters – plus 7 tips to reduce sitting time

rach headshot by Pablo Creative

Article by Rachel Grunwell: Director of InspiredHealth, collaborating with businesses to inspire Kiwis to live healthy and happy. Award-winning writer. Magazine wellness columnist for Good magazine & Indulge magazine. Wellness expert often on radio. Yoga & meditation teacher, teaching de-stress skills to Kiwis to uplift performance. Qualified fitness consultant. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. 

To learn learn mindfulness and de-stress techniques, find out more about attending a health retreat with Rachel at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa click HERE.

Why Workplace Happiness Matters – plus 7 tips to reduce sitting time

Read More

New ambassador role for Pureology!

pureology 5

Follow Inspired Health on Facebook or Instagram

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning writer. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Qualified yoga teacher & fitness consultant. Multi-marathoner & run guide for disabled athletes. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Director of InspiredHealthNZ.

I’m soooooo excited to announce that this yogi is an ambassador for @pureology – a haircare brand that’s natural, vegan & environmentally-friendly.

I love that this brand gives a stuff about the planet. But I also love the products because they are beautiful to use.

Read More

De-Coding ‘Mindfulness’

Article by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning writer. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Qualified fitness consultant and yoga teacher. Wellness expert often interviewed on radio. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Director of the InspiredHealth website.

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness is a science-backed way to train your brain to live life more in the “calm zone”.

We live in a stressed and hurried-style society. So it can benefit a lot of people to tap into this skill.

Read More

Turia Pitt – from Tragedy to Triumph. Read Turia’s 5 tips to thrive


By Rachel Grunwell: Wellness expert. Award-winning writer. Wellness columnist for Good magazine and Indulge magazine. Qualified yoga teacher and fitness consultant. Rachel is often interviewed on radio, giving health tips and also co-leads weekend-long health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. To find out more about the Mindful Moments retreats click HERE.

Drop excuses.
Conquer fears.
Be your best.
So says humanitarian, speaker, motivator & mum Turia Pitt.
I met Turia in Auckland recently at a Courage and Connection event.

Read More

Mindful Moments Retreat – book now!

PolySpa 3

Switch off from your busy life and experience two days on our Mindful Moments Retreat to bring your mind, body and spirit into balance. Surrounded by the natural elements of Rotorua and Polynesian Spa’s therapeutic alkaline and acid waters, you will be guided through yoga, mindfulness, meditation and wellness workshops.  We will also be taking time to indulge in world-renowned Polynesian Spa therapy treatments.

Mindful Moments is hosted by our highly experienced Spa and Retreat Manager Helena Keenan and inspirational Polynesian Spa Health and Wellness ambassador Rachel Grunwell.

This unique geothermal bathing and soul soothing retreat originated here at Polynesian Spa in 2016 and has established itself as a must do health and wellness experience for those wanting to unwind, relax and reset.




Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August

Saturday 8th September – Sunday 9th September

Saturday 10th November –  Sunday 11th November


$479.00 per person



Relaxation & Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness & Meditation Session

Therapy Treatment

Yoga Class hosted by Rachel Grunwell

Wellbeing Workshop

Entry to the Deluxe Lake Spa

Morning Tea


Transport to Walk Location

Premium Retreat Gift Bag




Natures Gift Mud Massage

Polynesian Spa Signature Mud Wrap

Polynesian Spa Signature Aix Mud Therapy

*Please note the Pure Source Mud Polish will be used for the AIX Therapy*


We can offer exclusive rates for The Millennium Hotel Rotorua to those joining us on a Mindful Moments Retreat for accommodation rates please contact us upon booking. Bookings will need to be made directly with the hotels reservation team and Terms and Conditions will apply to the booking, these are at the discretion of The Millennium Hotel Rotorua. 

There is also a wide selection of hotels, luxury lodges, lake-side bachs, charming motels available in Rotorua to check options click here.



Helena’s personal experience with Meditation began in 1992 developing for her a deep interest in the Wellbeing benefits of Meditation. Further studies and reading into Mindfulness Meditation created a goal to pursue formal studies in this area. Eventually the opportunity to study Mindfulness Meditation Teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler arose and in 2009 Helena completed her first training course in this field. More recently Helena has completed further studies with Ian Gawler and Ruth Gawler in Australia in the practices of Guided Imagery and Contemplation. Now settled in Rotorua, Helena brings a diverse and extensive skill-set to Polynesian Spa. 

Website: www.polynesianspa.co.nz

Facebook: PolynesianSpa

Instagram: polynesianspa


Rachel is an award-winning writer, speaker, wellness columnist & healthy recipe creator (Good magazine), qualified yoga teacher, blogger & influencer.

Website: www.inspiredhealth.co.nz

Facebook: InspiredHealthNZ

Instagram: inspiredhealthandfitness