How To: Create Your Own Unique Wellness Plan

With everything going on in the world, there’s never been a more important time to focus on your health and wellbeing. And the fact you’re reading this article means you’re probably interested in making some kind of change in your life. But where to start? With so many wellness choices and trends, it can be confusing to know which trend or new piece of research to follow. With the help of Ali Roff Farrar and her new book, ‘The Wellfullness Project’, learn how to create your very own master wellness plan for each area of your life: food, body, space, ritual and mind.

We’ll move through each of the main areas in your life together, applying this method as we go, so that by the end of this article you’ll have a visual map that acts as your blueprint for a truly unique wellness plan, that’s designed, tried and tested specifically for you, by you.

1. FOOD

With everything going on in the world, it can be easy to think that there are far more important things than food to worry about. Of course, that can be seen as a valid response to an obsession with ‘clean’ and ‘conscious’ eating. But food should have an important place in your life. Aside from being a source of comfort and joy, food is essential for each and every one of us. We all must eat. Food is a source of life, fuelling us with energy and playing a massive role in how our bodies and minds perform. So, how does the food you eat make you feel?

  • First things first, diets don’t work. Depending on body type, goals, enjoyment and whether you eat meat and animal products or not, a high-protein, low-carb day-to-day menu might be exactly what works for your body, mind and heart.
  • Mindful eating is a wonderful way to practise mindfulness and begin to build the neural pathways to support a more focused awareness of your present experience. The smell, taste, texture and even the sound as it moves around the plate adds an enjoyable element to meal times.
  • Intuitive eating is the difference between listening and being a slave to what our mind wants (sugar, cake, chips) and what our body wants (fruit, water, fibre). By listening to these messages from our body during and after eating, we are able to begin to hear important messages about what our body needs and what foods do and don’t work for us.
  • You probably know that eating a diet crammed with highly processed food is not good for you, but it isn’t easy to stay away from junk food. But if you want to find greater holistic health, there is usually a point where you realise you need to accept that you can’t eat as much of it as you might want to – find a way of being aware not to overdo it.

Watermelon drawing

2. BODY

Over the course of a week, we might sit for hours on end at work, in more or less one position, then once away from our desks, we push our bodies physically, carrying heavy bags or at the gym – making them work harder and faster to look or feel better. But we rarely ever listen to what our bodies are truly asking for, or truly need. Simply paying attention to your body more, in a passive and unbiased way, can allow you to begin to see links between physical body signals and internal messages. Just listening to what your body is telling you is the key to building the conversation.

  • When you tap into how you feel in your body, you will get information back from it that informs you how to respond. If i’m listening to my body while I work, I notice when my back begins to ache and my head starts to throb. I now take that information as a signal to take a break, get away from my screen, take and walk and get some air. I never regret these breaks, coming back to my desk clear-headed and more productive.
  • Meditation is a brilliant tool – not only does it develop mindful thinking, it also develops your sense of interoception and hears the messages your body is sending you. But not all mediation needs to be quiet, we can use music and movement as a basis for concentrating the mind and listening to the body.
  • Sometimes, even though we don’t consciously create change in our lives, it happens anyway. Netball was a huge part of my life, but once i dislocated my ankle and couldn’t play for ages, I discovered that my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. But with time, and that vital ingredient compassion, I discovered that it was okay to change my mind.
  • Many people would count exercise as playing a huge part in taking care of themselves, whether they’re looking to lose weight, have fun or just feel great. But for exercise to make a real difference, it needs to be a long-term part of your life that you remain excited by. It must not only make you fitter and healthier,  so that you feel great in your body, it must also make you feel great in your mind and heart, so that you want to do it again and again.

Man running drawing

4.SPACE

A study at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute found that cluttered spaces can operate like a toddler screaming for attention. Clutter diverts our attention, making it more difficult to process information as well as we would in a tranquil, calm space. More importantly, it can affect our mood, making us feel irritable and frustrated, as it drains and exhausts our mental focus. So how is your environment affecting you? How do you behave in different space? And how does that shape your health and your happiness?

  • Positive social connections have been found not only to increase mental well being and mood, but also to boost physical health. So, having people around you who you care about and care about you, increases your physical and mental well being.
  • Another aspect of space is the movement and transference of energy, but giving energy to the wrong places or people in our lives can drain us of joy and even affect our health. Studies have found that negative emotions have the power to cause inflammation in the body. So, thinking about creating a healthy environment in our lives is also about choosing the things we fill our time with and the people we surround ourselves with carefully.
  • Looking closely at where, and with who, you spend time and invest your energy, while asking what nourishes you and helps you grow, can be eye-opening. By finding awareness around the big and small things in your life, you’ll uncover what is draining you and what is sustaining you.

 

Desk drawing

5. RITUALS

If i asked you to identify some of the rituals you habitually follow, you might start by thinking that you don’t have any. But when you look closely, you’ll find that there are rituals everywhere in your life. So what are some of your rituals? Bathing? Skincare? Or do you have a household ritual, such as making the bed or washing up? And more importantly, do these rituals nourish or drain you?

  • Journaling can be a very freeing practise – I love allowing my hand to flow across the page without too much thought, allowing my subconscious to share its inner wisdom. Remember, there’s no need to censor or write what you think you should write – this is for you only.
  • Applying wellfullness to how my bedtime routine affected my health and happiness really woke me up to just how unhappy it made me feel and to what i was missing out on – a restful night’s sleep, full of evenings of relaxation and real switch-off time, plus the great potential that a true bedtime ritual offers.

Cup of tea drawing

6. MIND

We can eat healthily, exercise every day, have a beautiful space to live and spend our time in, the most loving and supportive friends and family and a great job, but if our inner world doesn’t mirror our outer world, what’s the point of any of it? So, take a moment here to remember your why, and ponder for a moment on how cultivating a healthy mind is important to you.

  • Wellfulness helps us to understand our habits and how they make us feel in a holistic sense and if we don’t understand the way these habits manifest in the mind, we can live our lives from a place of unconsciousness, ignorance or even fear.
  • When it comes to having a healthy mind, what is it that you want to achieve? The most obvious and ultimate goal, for more of us, would be happiness. You will encounter obstacles, even tragedies, over your lifetime, from an argument with a friend to losing someone close to you. You cannot stop these things happening. But mindfulness teaches you how to deal with them in a way that causes you less suffering.
  • Every morning, I like to check in with how i’m feeling. It’s a great way to start the day and of getting to understand myself better – and it only takes moments. I simply close my eyes, bring my mind to my breath and ask myself, ‘How do i feel?’

Applying wellfulness to your life might seem a more daunting task than other elements in your life, but it doesn’t need to be. Ultimately, the aim of mindfulness is to allow you to find the space to pause and respond rather than just mindlessly react, which can create situations that don’t serve you.

Inhale. Exhale. Let’s begin…

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