My neighbor is a young, busy mom of two. She and her husband have high-energy careers. Their kids are both under the age of five.
As I sit in my upstairs office, I watch them come and go all day. She’s up and out to make a 6am exercise class several days of the week. Back home to get the kids ready for daycare. They each leave with an individual child. Each child has their own nanny, who brings them home mid-afternoon. Mom and Dad arrive home at six, and it starts all over again.
Too young to know the value of creating a wellthy plan.
I get it. I was very much like them when my daughter was young. My husband and I invested in a Palm Pilot back when that was one of the first digital calendar systems. They synced together so that when either of us added a meeting to the calendar, the other would know. It ensured one of us was there, as needed, for childcare and running errands.
On and on it went, year after year. The pressure built. The chaos in my life reached a boiling point.
I was trying to survive on 4 hours of sleep. Always working. Always moving. Always trying to be something else.
It came to a head when I signed up for a life coaching retreat with a woman I’d been working with for a bit. Several of us headed up into the Rockies for a weekend of uninterrupted time to ourselves. Just us, the great outdoors, and lots of time to think.
I felt it driving up. The tears flowed. The stress melted away from my shoulders. I knew I had to change.
And I worked through three days of exercises alerting me to what my life had become.
And what I wanted it to look like from that point forward. It’s been a work-in-progress ever since.
Can you relate?
I’m not saying everything I did from that point forward was perfect, but I did learn the importance of self-care. It’s become my North Star.
Without self-care, there is no health. Because self-care is the guide to create wholeness. To create balance. To create health and wellness.
To create wellth.
I see self-care resembling a table-like structure, building a base for which you can be whole. Four pillars that keep everything stable. Without the four, it tilts and wobbles.
That’s where your work belongs. That’s where you build your self-care routine to be the best YOU you can be.
What are my four pillars of wellth?
Let’s unpack them a bit.
Let’s define wellth
If you’re new around here, the concept of “wellth” might confuse you a bit.
Wellth combines health and wellness. I don’t think one should exist without the other. But increasingly, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here in America and in other parts of the world.
Health is often defined as “complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” As much as that sounds like a positive definition, it’s not one our current system subscribes to.
Never trust your health to those who make money from your sickness. They will choose to keep you as sick as possible to continue to make a profit.
If we’re a nation that pays the most on health care, shouldn’t we also be one of the healthiest? That clearly isn’t so. Which means there is something wrong.
Wellness is more of an active process. It’s about increasing your awareness, making better choices, and creating a more successful lifestyle. It’s about conscious living. It’s a holistic approach.
Isn’t that better? I love the concept of working towards a better ME every single day.
That’s where combining the two comes into play. Wellth.
Making holistic choices about your physical, mental, and social well-being.
Creating an action plan that clearly defines your beliefs towards better living.
Are you on board?
Pillar 1: Food
The best place to start your wellth plan is with Hippocrates’ famous quote:
Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.
You’ve probably heard that quote a time or two, but how much do you take it to heart?
I think about it all the time. It makes me select fruit and vegetables over processed food. It lets me pay for organic food instead of regular food, possibly laced with toxic chemicals and inferior ingredients.
Self-care comes from making the best choices every time you consume your food.
- Learn to cook to create simpler, more natural foods.
- Cut processed foods out of your diet by shopping the perimeter of the store.
- Stop eating meat – a new study found a direct correlation between total meat consumed from all types – red and white – and the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
- Reduce inflammation and improve your gut health.
- Expand your love for good food. This means getting familiar with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and other whole foods you may not have experienced before.
- Learn to trust your inner wisdom when it comes to putting anything into your body.
Sounds easy and complicated at the same time, doesn’t it? But I promise you that taking even one step towards a different future will change everything about how you look at wellth.
Pillar 2: Sleep
I spent several years trying to function on 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night. Guess what? It didn’t work.
Looking back, I can see my productivity was low, and I spent a lot of my time multitasking, trying to keep up with what I THOUGHT I had to do. I made a lot of mistakes while trying.
A pivotal moment for me was when Arianna Huffington started promoting her book Thrive. She spoke of her wakeup call that came in the form of a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash over her eye – the result of a fall brought on by exhaustion and lack of sleep.
“That’s me,” I said to myself as I recognized my behavior.
So I changed my “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” attitude, and started making wiser sleep choices.
I removed the television from my bedroom. I don’t allow anything electronic inside those four walls.
And I developed a new routine.
I go to bed 30 minutes before lights out and read. An actual book – not on a tablet.
I’ve also invested in bedding and decor that makes me happy whenever I step inside. It’s my retreat. My sleep sanctuary. A place I love to snuggle down and pay attention to wellness – sleep style.
No more dreading the 9 o’clock hour. Instead, it’s something I look forward to. I’ve made my bedroom a welcoming place. One I can’t imagine avoiding.
Pillar 3: Mindset
Stress is the number one stimulus for disease. I learned that first-hand from my dad. The last several years of his life were spent reinterviewing for a job he’d held for twenty-five years. His goal was to make it to fifty-five, accept an early retirement offer, and move on to other things. He died 73 days short of his goal.
Stress was a significant factor in my father’s death. I saw myself repeating his mistakes as I focused on building my businesses over the years. I always wanted more, never celebrating what I’d achieved. I set goals that were unreachable – that’s how you keep moving forward. That’s what I’d convinced myself anyway.
Until I started feeling the effects of stress. I started taking things away from my life rather than continually filling it up. (Maybe that’s how I notice the behavior in so many others – I’ve been there myself.)
Mindset is all about learning the value of the word “no.” Say no to additional projects. Say no to another activity. Say no to things that don’t add value to your life.
Which means you have to pay attention to where your “yeses” go.
Meditation. Yoga. Tapping. Walking in nature. Mindfulness. Hygge.
Stop judging yourself by standards you can never achieve. Start realizing your worth to all those around you.
You’re not meant to change the world. You’re not meant to be a household name. Very few people are. But YOU ARE meant to change your world. To be important to those who play in your sandbox.
Mindset changes everything. It’s a constant work-in-progress. But as you change your mindset, you’ll transform your health and wellness. Your wellth will increase tenfold.
Pillar 4: Renew
Here in midlife, many of us think of “renew” as a restoration process. It’s about recovery. It’s about energy.
It’s more than that. It’s also about resuming things that brought you life and vitality in the past. It’s about repeating old processes that once worked, reaffirming them back into your life.
We become complacent in midlife when what we really need to do is turn out “play genes” back on. Playing is vital to ensure midlife makes you stronger, and doesn’t increase weakness that will follow you the rest of your life.
It’s time to realize the importance of play in your life.
Of course, play looks different when you’re in midlife.
- Creating a goal of walking 10,000 steps each day.
- Joining a yoga class three mornings a week.
- Signing up for a beginning rowing class. Or skiing class. Or tennis class.
- Joining a hiking group to make new friends and get a little exercise in too.
Yes, renewal must include staying active. It’s not about couchsurfing or bedrotting. Use it or lose it.
It also puts you in connection with other like-minded people.
Because you can’t become wellthy on your own.
It takes a team.
Taking charge of your wellth means YOU get to build a life that’s truly Gorgeous!
What could be better than that!