How to strike the wellness trifecta key to good health

When you’re nailing the wellness trifecta of diet, exercise and sleep, you know you’re on a healthy lifestyle winner.

If you’ve been feeling off-balance lately, it may be because you’re neglecting one – or all – pillars of the wellness trifecta deemed crucial to overall good health: diet, exercise and sleep.

Termed the “wellness trifecta”, diet, exercise and sleep are vital for physical and mental health.

And when they’re in equilibrium, everything else pertaining to wellness falls nicely into place.

What is the wellness trifecta?

We all know we should eat a balanced diet, and that regular exercise is good for us.

We also know getting enough sleep is important.

But, according to research, a combination of all three lifestyle behaviours is the secret to optimal wellness.

Resilience expert and Springfox CEO Peta Sigley says the interplay between diet, sleep and exercise is the foundation of overall wellbeing.

Peta says the three lean on each other, a symbiotic relationship that culminates in better mental health, improved cognitive function, higher resilience, and more motivation.

Why all three wellbeing pillars matter equally

What we eat impacts our mood and sleep patterns, and when we don’t get enough sleep or nourish our bodies with fuel-giving foods, energy levels remain low, which has a flow-on effect to motivation levels around exercise, Peta says.

“When we eat and sleep well, our choices around diet and exercise become easier,” Peta explains.

The same is true in reverse too.

“When we’re not exercising regularly, we’re more likely to wake up at 3am, our brain kicks in due to high levels of cortisol,” Peta says.

It’s a cycle; when one area falls down, the other two topple after.

Why you might be neglecting the wellness trifecta

The modern-day reason? Life gets busy.

And it’s often self-care that’s compromised when things get frenetic.

It’s easy to talk ourselves out of eating well, exercising or getting enough sleep when we’re distracted by other aspects of our lives.

And, Peta says, people often find a way to self-sabotage in one or all of these areas.

Whether you tell yourself it’s too cold for that morning walk, reach for a glass of wine to unwind after a long week, or stay up late to reclaim “me time” after the kids go to bed, Peta says we’re experts at self-persuasion.

We know we should eat well, exercise and get enough sleep, but making a start is the issue, Peta says.

How to strike the wellness trifecta

To help you balance the key pillars of the wellbeing trifecta, Peta offers the following tips:

Start small

You don’t have to go all in to make a change.

“Doing something as opposed to (doing) nothing is a great start, and you’ll find it becomes a bit of a catalyst for change,” Peta says.

Ban phones from the bedroom

For a better night’s sleep, remove phones from the bedroom to limit your exposure to blue light before bed.

Watch your caffeine intake

Skip the late-afternoon coffee – Peta says caffeine stays in your system for around five hours.

Eat like you’re in the Mediterranean

Peta says research tells us the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest way to eat.

Aim for progress rather than perfection

Strive for progress over perfection – this might mean focusing on improving your sleep habits one week, nutrition the next, and exercise the following week, Peta suggests.

Try short bursts of activity

Short on time? Don’t be rigid in your approach to exercise.
Peta suggests fitting in activity around your day: do dips during ad breaks, try short bursts of cardio, break up prolonged sitting with periods of standing.

Read more on the three wellness pillars:

Written by Sarah Vercoe.