We all know modern life is stressful. But what we’re only just beginning to realise is that many of the behaviours we’ve been using to combat stress are just making matters worse. With a bubble-wrapped existence of indulgent self-care and social media comfort zones, we’ve created cocoons for ourselves that have only served to make the outside world even more overwhelming and overstimulating than ever.
If you’re wondering how to nurture a more balanced, resilient life that has you feeling strong physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually then keep reading.
What are the 5 pillars of wellness and why do they matter?
When it comes to wellness it’s best take into account all the things that contribute to your health and wellbeing. This is called a holistic approach. Each pillar of wellness is an essential component that contributes to achieving true balance in your life.
Sleep is the foundation of wellness and it is vital to overall health and wellbeing, yet this is an area where so many people struggle.
Many biological processes happen during sleep: The brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste. Nerve cells communicate and reorganise, which supports healthy brain function. The body repairs cells, restores energy, and releases molecules like hormones and proteins.
Sleep deprivation has adverse effects on the immune system through three key mechanisms:
- Decreased Natural Killer Cell Production: The body's production of natural killer cells diminishes, elevating the vulnerability to viral infections.
- Increased Inflammatory Cytokines: Sleep loss triggers the generation of inflammatory cytokines, heightening the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
- Reduced Antibody Production: Sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in antibody production, compromising the body's ability to combat viruses and infections.
It’s vital that we prioritise 7-8 hours of restful sleep each day. For those seeking natural support, the adaptogen Ashwagandha is an excellent choice known for promoting quality sleep. Reishi mushroom, also an adaptogen, is great to help you relax, wind-down and centre yourself. It helps promote deep sleep whilst also helping to support immune health and enhancing your body's natural defence.
The Herbtender Doze & Dream, with Ashwaganda, Reishi and other sleep supporting herbs, is expertly formulated to help the body relax so you can settle for the night and enjoy a much needed reset.
For tips on habits to encourage a better night’s sleep see this blog.
You may have heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’. Indeed, the food we choose to put into our bodies has a tremendous impact on our wellness.
The body needs a good balance of nutrients to work correctly. If you are living on pot noodle, diet coke and chocolate bars, the chances are that you won't be feeling the best with your mental clarity, energy, and even mood!
- A whole-food diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein, dairy products and good fats is more likely to provide all the nutrients, fatty acids and phytochemicals your body needs to be healthy. Of course you can adapt these categories to suit your personal preferences, whether they be vegan.
- Your food should be varied and contain a rainbow of different colours, thus ensuring you get the widest possible range of nutrients.
- As much as possible with our busy, busy lives, try to avoid ultra processed foods and stick to simple whole foods.
- Herbal teas can be an excellent way to consume extra plants. A number of studies have shown that certain teas, such as green tea, can boost your immune system, fight off inflammation, promote cardiovascular health, and even prevent the development of certain cancers. These health benefits are associated with specific antioxidants found in tea, known as polyphenols.
Movement offers numerous health benefits and should form part of a healthy daily routine. Benefits include increased self-esteem, the reduction of stress hormones such as cortisol, improvements overall circulation, making it easier for immune cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel throughout your body.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that trigger a positive feeling in the body.
- Aim for activities that get your heart pumping, such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling. Other options are yoga, tai chi, chi kung, dancing, the list is endless. Even housework and gardening count!
- Consider incorporating exercises that you enjoy, as this increases the likelihood of making it a regular part of your routine.
- Additionally, exercising outdoors brings added benefits, providing fresh air and the calming influence of nature.
Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and improve mood, sleep and cardiovascular health. So it's really important to find a type of exercise that you love and will do regularly. Increasing your stress levels by making yourself go to the gym three times a week when you hate the place is going to be completely counterproductive! Find a form of exercise that suits you and that you can build into your life regularly.
Feeling like you're juggling too much? Tense or struggling to unwind? You're not alone. Nowadays, daily stress has become synonymous with 21st-century living. Busy, multitasking lifestyles often leave minimal time for healthy meals, exercise, and relaxation, ultimately leading to burnout.
In response to contemporary challenges like work stress, parenting demands, and digital overload, our bodies activate the age-old fight-or-flight mechanism. Unfortunately, these stressors are often constant, triggering a cascade of negative effects on the body when left unchecked.
When stress builds up, the adrenals release cortisol and adrenaline, potentially causing health issues such as impaired thyroid function, hormonal imbalances, and concerns with blood pressure.
The good news is that there are numerous strategies to nurture mental fitness. A holistic approach is essential, ensuring a balance in addressing the various forms of stress that life throws our way.
- Prioritise self-care: Make time for self-care activities that bring you joy and settle your nervous system. This could include reading, taking a walk, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or enjoying a hobby.
- Establish healthy boundaries: Learn to say no when needed and set clear boundaries in both personal and professional aspects of life. Creating a healthy balance helps prevent overwhelming stress.
- Get outdoors and into nature: At The Herbtender we’re big believers in the healing power of nature. Time outside and connecting with the natural world has to be one of the most profound ways to elevate your mood.
- Work on yourself before working on others: It is said that we only have control over ourselves in any situation. If we focus optimising the things within our control – our own reactions, our own health, our own fitness, we’re better placed to deal with what comes our way that is beyond our control.
OUR ADAPTOGEN ALLIES- EMBRACE LIFE , DON’T AVOID LIFE
The beauty of adaptogens is their ability to help us handle everything that life can throw at us. These are some of our favourites for mental health:
- Cordyceps mushroom – This is an essential companion for your active lifestyle. Beyond its historical use to support exercise, cordyceps enhances endurance, aids efficient oxygen utilisation, and promotes improved blood flow.
This energetic mushroom can be found in our Training Mix, The Herbtender Perform & Recover, this endurance-enhancing blend helps to reduce athletic stress, support your immune system, and stop the early onset of training fatigue.
- Reishi mushroom – The soothing solution for stress management and sleep support. Revered as the 'mushroom of immortality,' Reishi has a long-standing tradition of fortifying the heart, extending life, and supporting the immune system.
Featured in The Herbtender Rise & Shine, a powerful adaptogenic blend specifically formulated to support energy levels, focus and immunity.
- Chaga mushroom – This mushroom is a powerhouse nutrient, designed to support your overall well-being. Thriving on birch trees, Chaga stands as the most antioxidant-rich superfood globally, boasting an impressive 1,014 ORAC units per gram.
Featured in The Herbtender Daily Defence, this Immunity Mix is specifically blended with adaptogens, mushrooms and vitamin C to support your immune system.
Last but not least, another pillar of wellness is community. Humans are social creatures and research has consistently shown that maintaining strong social ties and a sense of belonging can lead to a longer lifespan!
For those looking to improve their social connections, we have some things for you to try, to get you better connected:
- Cultivate meaningful connections – It’s worth investing time and effort in nurturing meaningful relationships. One way of doing this is showing appreciation and gratitude for the presence and efforts of others.
- Acknowledge social anxiety – More people than you may think find social situations challenging. Support groups and therapy are valuable resources, but sometimes just knowing that you’re not alone with these struggles can help. Build confidence by taking very small steps socially, such as initiating conversations or attending events of interest to you.
- Follow your interests – Join a group, club or activity that interests you. You’re likely to find like-minded people and might learn a thing or two. Volunteering can be a fantastic way to become part of a community and increase your sense of self-worth.
- Make use of technology – This is intimidating for many but can be an excellent tool for staying in touch with friends and family who have moved away. It’s also a great place to ‘find your tribe’ and interact with people who share your interests.
Wellness is a lifestyle
These 5 Pillars of Wellness are reminders of things we can incorporate into our daily lives. If all of this is overwhelming, start small and build into meaningful habits. Over time you’ll be amazed at how small changes make huge changes almost without you noticing.
If you have any questions about the above or anything else The Herbtender related, we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below, pop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send us a DM at @theherbtender.
By Silvija & Laura