7 secrets of wellbeing – the first in a series with Aromatherapy Associates' experts
Earlier this year, Aromatherapy Associates announced they were teaming up with a panel of 'Wellbeing Warriors': expert therapists who will be sharing their wisdom with the world via AA's website, and acting as ambassadors for a particular therapeutic collection within what is unquestionably our favourite true aromatherapy range. We thought that these wellbeing experts would be perfect to share their personal secrets with you in this popular series. We all need to find ways to strike a balance in a busy, crazy world – and we find it fascinating and inspirational to hear how others do it. For the first in the series, which we'll run each month, meet Yvonne Wake, who runs health retreats and organises wellness programmes for anyone seeking to change their life. (Find out more at wellbeingandlifestyle.co.uk).
Good nutrition is an absolute must. Each day I make sure that I buy the best ingredients that are available to me, so for example if I’m making a hearty soup, it's local, market-bought vegetables. If I’m eating chicken, it has to be organic and free-range. Wholefoods only! This is something that I’m not prepared to compromise on, as we are what we eat and our longevity and happiness depends on feeding ourselves the best we can find. We are feeding our DNA, remember. Processed food, red meat, white pasta, bread and rice never enters my kitchen. I never crave cakes and sugary things, but if I feel like a mousse au chocolat, I have one. It usually has to be of good quality and freshly-made, but overall I have a rule that for 89% of the time I each pure, healthy wholefoods, and the other 11% can be treats like the mousse au chocolat.
An hour a day of exercise is also essential. It's not only imperative because we live in a sedentary would, but it's life-lengthening – and just one hour a day is the minimum. Too much sitting and too little exercise accelerates biological ageing. I generally walk for 7.5 miles every Saturday and Sunday in a beautiful park, but during the week I make sure I get that I get in a daily 90-minute walk, even if it means getting off the Tube a few stops earlier earlier – in all weathers, too. Yoga is my other love and I try to practice at least twice a week, and often more in the summer (outdoors). Meditation goes with that, so overall, I am a very Zen person most of the time.
I need eight hours of sleep. In complete darkness, so that I can get a good deep sleep with no disturbances. Sleep is our most important ally for good health and sleep deprivation is an illness itself. Mobiles are banned from the bedroom too, and that’s something else that I treasure in my beautiful space where I sleep.
I have a one-glass-of-wine rule. I am a very sociable person, so love to dine out and see my family or friends for dinner – but the one thing that I have a little golden rule about is wine. I either have none at all (as I don’t always fancy it), or a single glass. I’ve managed to pull this off regardless of protests from others saying ‘go on, don’t be boring’, but I really am happy with that one glass. Instead I drink plenty of water when out to dinner, to keep my liquids up with the rest of them.
I love to drink at least a litre of water a day. Water is the world’s best kept secret facelift! Dehydration ages us, and gives us constipation (which leads to all kinds of intestinal challenges). Bottled water is not great for me so I try to avoid that, but if I have no option I try to drink spring water from a known make. Tap water, I've found, works best for me.
Life-work balance is so very important to me. Work has its place and play has its place. I work hard at both and try to make sure that I can always say: ‘I worked hard for that holiday; now I’m going to switch off and enjoy it’. I don't find it difficult to switch off from work, actually, and my mantra on that is simply: ‘What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t take my phone out to dinner with me?’ Generally I find I can leave it at home – and relax properly.
Massage is my final pleasure. I LOVE massage and indulge in a great 90-minute massage every couple of weeks. Massage is a gift, it’s a pleasure, its necessary, its important if you are on the go. I love aromatherapy massage and sometimes a deep tissue is needed if I’ve walked lots the day before. I have my two favourite people who massage me and I feel privileged to be able to keep that up. This is all part of my life balance story.
Yvonne is spokesperson for the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Collection – which, as they put it, 'like mindful food choices, helps to awaken us and give an instant energy boost.' It's always been a favourite with our Beauty Bible testers, too...
Find it at aromatherapyassociates.com