4 pillars of health: nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep

Taking a Four Pillars Approach to Health

Michelle Schwartz

By Kristen Simon, Director of Coaching Operations & Delivery

Education is a key component in behavior change. As individuals gain knowledge about their health, they are more likely to choose to take steps in the right direction, understand why those steps are necessary, and see positive, life-long results. Read on for an example of an introductory piece of educational content members on HealthFleet’s RestoreHealth program encounter on the personalized mobile app.  

On the RestoreHealth program, we take a four pillars approach to wellbeing. We know that these four pillars have a HUGE impact on health and wellbeing and that they’re connected. Of course, we’re talking about sleep, stress, nutrition, and exercise.

You’ve probably seen this in your own life. A stressful day of work leads to a night of poor sleep spent tossing and turning. You wake up the next morning feeling tired, even after hitting snooze a few times. You’re running late and so you hit up a drive-through for breakfast. You feel sluggish and sleepy all day, so you skip your afternoon walk. And then the cycle perpetuates itself!

01 | Sleep

To break the cycle, take inventory of your current habits in each area. Start with sleep - the foundation on which all other healthy habits are built. Tune into your current sleep habits. Ask yourself: Am I getting enough sleep? How could I get more? What sleep habits do I need to change?

We recommend starting small by getting just five more minutes of sleep a night. It sounds minimal, but often when we try to make a change, we go big - too big! And big is too hard; we’re better off starting small, making changes gradually. So set a reminder to head to bed five minutes earlier, and give yourself time to adjust. Stick to that for a week, and then repeat!

02| Stress

Next up - stress. Managing stress is often easier said than done! Just like with sleep, a good place to start is by tuning in to your current habits for managing stress. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, what coping strategies do you turn to? How many of those strategies would you consider to be health-promoting?

We often think of things like overeating, drinking, or binging TV as ‘unhealthy coping tools.’ The reality is, these are all perfectly normal responses to stress - they just can’t be the only tool in your toolbox!  Too much of anything isn’t healthy for us. Think about ways you can find balance in how you cope. Call a friend, go for a walk, spend time in nature, take a bath, light a candle - whatever helps you decompress!

03 | Nutrition

Our next pillar is nutrition. What comes to mind when you think about healthy eating? Salad? Diets? Nutrition is more than what you eat - it’s how and why you eat too! Ask yourself:

  • How often do I eat when I’m stressed, lonely, or bored?
  • How often do I eat because of desire or cravings, as opposed to hunger?
  • How does what I eat make me feel? Do I feel more or less tired after a meal?

Start to tune into these things, and notice what you might want to change about your eating habits.

Again, we recommend starting small when it comes to changing your eating habits. Super small! Just begin by noticing when you’re eating due to boredom or stress - anything other than hunger! Just name that out loud, without judgment (it’s hard, we know!). Eventually, you can start to respond to that prompt with something other than food - like with one of the healthy coping tools we just talked about!

04 | Exercise

And finally, we have exercise! Exercise is known to help boost mood, increase confidence, improve cognitive function, manage weight, lower risk for many chronic diseases, improve the quality of sleep, and lessen stress. Magic, right!? Consider what current exercise habits you have, and what you’d like your exercise habits to look like. The best exercise is one you enjoy - don’t force yourself to run if you hate it! Reflect on past positive experiences you’ve had with movement - and begin to identify how you can add more of that to your life!

Ready to take the next step and start building your new healthy habits? Contact your coach for personalized support.

This is a good example of the content members see on The Restore Program Suite. With articles like this and deeper dives, video lessons, simple activities, and more, members gain education and action-oriented steps to make progress in their health journey.

Think this would be beneficial for your population? Visit restorehealth.com for more information or contact sales@healthfleet.com

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