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The 5 Pillars of Health: How to Achieve a Balanced Lifestyle

Updated: 2 days ago

Are you tired of feeling tired all the time? Are you ready to take control of your health and achieve a balanced lifestyle? If so, keep reading! In this blog post, we will be discussing the 5 pillars of health that are essential for living a healthy and balanced life. By incorporating these 5 pillars into your daily routine, you can improve your physical health, mental health, and overall wellbeing. So, let's get started!


Lets Go: Nourish | Move | Sleep | Relax | Connect


We are human beings. Health and wellbeing is essential to our capacity to thrive and to manifest our optimal health potential.


A whole health perspective and encompasses emotional health, mental wellbeing, spiritual health (our values and life meaning).


The 5 Pillars of Health: How to Achieve a Balanced Lifestyle, Dr Deb Brunt, Otepoti Integrative Health

Nourish Your Body


The first pillar of health is nutrition. Nourishing your body beings with eating a well-balanced diet such as the Mediterranean diet or a whole food plant based diet. It provides your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.


Proper nutrition also provides energy for movement and all your essential cellular and organ functions. It also provides the nutrients as well as powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants that support repair and recovery for your body and support a healthy mind.


Nourishing the body supports physical wellness and mental wellbeing. Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods and limit your intake of processed and sugary foods.


Food not only nourishes the body but it also nourishes the soul. Food can be an immense source of pleasure, and connects us to people, places, travel and memory. It ties us to family through generational meals and cultural cuisine.


Also, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, avoiding caffeine after midday and limiting alcohol and cigarettes - both are significant cancer causing agents.


To prevent digestive disorders and nourish healthy gut bacteria, consider increasing probiotic foods in your diet such as kimchi, sauerkraut taking a probiotic supplement.



Move Your Body


The second pillar of health is movement and exercise. Exercise not only helps us maintain our physical health but it can also help improve our mental wellbeing.


Regular exercise can reduce stress, improve sleep and mood, and even boost cognitive performance. It also strengthens your heart and lungs, increases muscle strength, bone density, improves blood sugar balance and maintains a stable body weight.


Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 days per week. If you currently do no exercise here are some suggestions to get started to increase physical activity:


  • Get a fitbit or use a pedometer app on your phone. See how many steps you take during the course of a normal week and set yourself a goal to increase your number of steps by 1000 each day.

  • If you have a sedentary job, just 2 hours of walking every hour has beneficial effects on blood sugar balance and metabolism.

  • Walk your dog or a neighbours dog,

  • Walk or cycle to work,

  • Park 10 minutes further away from work so you can build 20 mins of additional waking into your day

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift or elevator.

  • Do a free youtube exercise class.


There are so many ways you can build more activity into your life to establish the fitness pillar as a way of life. Choose some physical activity that your enjoy and build it into your daily routine.


Sleep


The third pillar of health is having restorative sleep. Getting quality sleep is essential for restoring your body and mind and is a baseline requirement for overall health.


Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and establish a consistent sleep routine. Good sleep hygiene includes keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and avoid electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.


Get sunshine early in the morning by taking a walk or opening up your curtains. This supports the body to wake up and get hormonally and metabolically ready for the day. Exercise in the morning can also help you build sleep pressure later in the day.


Don't forget to limit caffeine to before midday, such as coffee, coke, tea or energy drinks. Caffeine has a 6 hour half life so for some, caffeine can still be around at bedtime if consumed later int he afternoon or evening.


Some people find benefit from supporting sleep with:

  • magnesium supplements

  • tart cherry supplements

  • melatonin

  • aromatherapy oils such as lavender

  • sleep teas such as chamomile, passionflower, valerian and lemon-balm.

Poor sleep impacts on metabolism, hormonal health as well as mental health and emotional resiliency, so take action today to ensure you have enough sleep for whole body health.


If you have sleep issues despite implementing the above strategies make sure you talk to a health professional.



Relax: Calming your nervous system


The fourth pillar of health is relaxation. Relaxation in a culture that focuses on output and productivity can seem like a waste of time. However having relaxation practices allows the nervous system, the immune system, the hormonal systems and the mind (your PINE network) to reset.


The PINE network is your psycho-immuno-neuro-endocrine network which is your fine-tuning system for health and wellbeing. It involves you ability to think and feel, your immune cells, your nervous system including the automated parts, and your hormones.


When your PINE network is stressed or excessively switched on or in overdrive it promotes a pro-inflammatory state which promotes disease and ill-health. In a calm state your PINE network supports balance and health.


The PINE network is like a network of roots in an ecosystem, transmitting information throughout the body, but in need of constant nourishment.


Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your health, so it's important to find healthy ways to manage stress. Some effective stress-reducing techniques include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature.


Calming the nervous system and PINE network can be achieved by developing a regular daily practice of the following activities:

list of activities that calm the nervous system

  • Mindful meditation

  • Yoga

  • Tai chi or Qi Gong

  • Deep breathing exercises

  • Progressive muscle relaxation

  • Journaling or writing practice

  • Time in nature – gardening, walking, swimming etc.

  • Spending time with friends and family doing meaningful activities

  • Painting, drawing or creative pursuits.

These practices not only nourish the PINE network but can be used during times of significant stress to increase wellbeing.


Connect: Love, Intimacy and Social Connection


The fifth pillar of health is social support. Social wellness is often an overlooked aspect of the whole body approach to health. Humans are social creatures, and having a strong support system is crucial for our mental and emotional wellbeing.


Maintaining harmonious relationships takes time and work. Building communication skills and learning how to repair relationships when you have hurt loved ones helps us maintain connection despite relational difficulties.


Growing your love in intimate relationships takes effort and work. It requires vulnerability with another and the capacity to come to really know another and reveal your inner world and be known.


Being in safe relationships where you have the ability to express your emotions rather than suppress or hide them allows you to be connected and experience a sense of well being.


Sharing interests and hobbies with friends enables you to have regular contact with people you care about.


Make time to connect with and spend time with friends and loved ones regularly. This is especially important if you have demanding roles at home or work as it meets your deep human need for connection.


Don't forget to seek support from a doctor, therapist or other health professional if needed.


The Takeaways

Incorporating these five pillars of health into your daily routine can help you achieve a balanced, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle.

  • Eat a whole food diet to nourish your body

  • Enhance your wellbeing by moving your body more

  • Emotional wellness requires a balanced PINE network which needs to be nourished and cared for.

  • Sleep well and develop relaxation practices to restore your body and mind.

  • Connect with people you love and who love you.


These 5 pillars of health; nourishing your body, moving your body by exercising regularly, getting restorative sleep, having relaxation practices and connecting socially are essential for overall wellbeing.


Take action today to implement these lifestyle strategies to support you to have vibrant health for life.

Dr Deb Brunt @ Ōtepoti Integrative Health would love to support you through the perimenopause and menopause, supporting all aspects of your health and wellbeing.


Dr Deb Brunt is a specialist GP practising mind body medicine in Dunedin, New Zealand and also provides mind body health coaching internationally to support optimal health habits so you can thrive.


Schedule a free discovery call with her to learn more.


DISCLAIMER: As your friendly doctor, I'm here to guide and inform, but please remember that this article is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before starting any treatments or making changes to your health regimen. Your unique body deserves personalized care to achieve the best results.

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