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Week 2 - My Wellness List

(If you’ve arrived here and want to know a little more about me, Margaret, and the background to this project this 3-minute introductory read is for you. You can also see my other Posts in the Wellness Project series here. These are my personal views. I’m very open to learn new things and want to reflect on my beliefs).

My list of the elements that make up wellness, for me

If you read my Week 1 Post - Definitions & Dilemmas - (thank you!) you'll have seen that I spent that week in deep water looking at the macro issues that influence wellness at a global population level. I'm really interested in these issues and want to learn more about them. However, I'm also increasingly convinced that wellness actually happens at the grass roots level with individuals, families and communities taking care of themselves and each other.

No one is coming!

I know that there are pockets of excellence and innovation in the lifetsyle medicine space. For example, I'm a fan of The Doctor's Kitchen by Dr Rupy Aujla in the UK who shares the message about improving your health through food. However, our healthcare systems and professionals aren't typically trained, resourced or rewarded on what keeps us well. Nutrition for example is not a consistent or significant part of the UK training ciriculum for medical students or doctors in clinical practice.

"In the UK, a recent (2020) study of 853 medical students and doctors found that over

70% had received less than two hours nutrition training while at medical school." Reference

Also, I need to think more about the pros and cons of medicalising wellness, which is another huge topic! I recently heard someone I respect, scientist (biochemistry and neurobiology) Dr Valter Longo PhD, Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences and Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, on the Rich Roll podcast saying that he saw a future where many people were given support for healthy living by health coaches and community groups, not medical professionals. I'm a regular listener to Rich Roll's podcasts but a word to the wise, they are long! This Dr Longo conversation is a 2 hour listen but if you want to dip in try the last 20 minutes where he talks about the return on investment on money spent providing lifestyle support vs the cost of downstream medical interventions - the numbers are staggering.

So what does that mean for me? As far as my wellness is concerned, no one is coming to save me! This is in fact great motivation for me to treat my own wellness as my priority project. That sounds so obvious when put like that but I bet that I'm not alone in having neglected to do this in the past.

My Week 2 Take Aways

Wellness is holistic

Wellness is clearly a complex combination of elements and is definitely not purely a physical thing that can be objectively measured. Some wellness elements are common for all people (safety, shelter, clean water etc) but others are personal to each of us as individuals.

Physical and mental wellbeing are equally important with both new science and ancient wisdom showing us that the two are intimately and indivisibly linked.

Sources of information such as books and podcasts tend to focus on specific topics, such as exercise, diabetes or sleep, as each topic is potentially vast on its own and the authors/broadcasters are often specialists in their fields. For these valid reasons few publications try to cover the broad range of topics that make up wellness. A few that do are:-

  • Zoe, which is a science led company co-founded by Dr Tim Spector and focused on personalised nutrition and the bicrobiome, its Science & Nutrition podcast is the No.1 nutrition podcast in the UK;

  • Dan Buettner's extensive work on the Blue Zones;

  • the great holistic resource Double Zero, a non-profit association founded by Denise Stevenson; and

  • Dr Rangan Chatterjee's podcast and books under the banner Feel Better. Live More.

Sources of inspiration

Jack and I have been lucky enough to work with a number of inspiring wellness professionals. These include the very impressive London based Dr Harriet Holme in her capacity as a nutritionist, and local personal trainer Yolene Vernhes, both of whom we've enjoyed working with on a personal basis over the last few years. We also have great partners on our wellness retreats such as yoga teacher Suz Conchar, holistic chef and qi gong teacher Hayley North and excellent empathetic nutritionist Fiona Berry. In 2024 we're excited to be working with nutrition therapist, researcher and author Kirsten Chick and our friend from PT days in London, movement specialist Asha Hibbert

Jack and I have also read and listened to a lot of wellness and lifestyle related books and podcasts over the last few years. Some of our bookshelf favourites are below. We're currently both students on a 1 year Health Coach Diploma with the College of Naturopathic Medicine which is fascinating.

So what has made it on to my list of 11 wellness elements?

Sleep - duration, quality, consistency - in my experience, sleep is absolutely foundational to my overall wellness so I'm choosing to start exploring it first.

Physical Health Basics - awareness of my physical health and any issues/improvements through check ups, screening, regular monitoring. So much in here!

Nutritition - nutrient rich, balanced, healthy eating. I know this is more than a 1 week topic.

Gut & microbiome health - linked to other topics but this deserves some individual attention!

Movement - regular movement in all its forms including a personalised exercise programme tailored to my age and functional movement goals.

Community/Relationships - friends, family, community, connection.

Purpose - a reason(s) for being. This may be a contentious one.

Curiosity/Learning - ways to keep learning new things and pushing my brain - for neuropasticity and the pleasure of knowledge.

Resilience & Consistency - this is a really big one for me - how do I keep everything on track when life gets busy or challenging, what knocks me off course and what are good avoidance hacks.

Stress management - for my metabolic health and emotional wellbeing.

Environment - a healthy environment with low levels of pollutants and time in nature

Thanks for reading, Margaret

If you have any questions or would like any more information please do call or message us on + 33 (0)6 89 19 25 18 (we're on WhatsApp) or email


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