Corporate wellness consultant Harry Jameson shares his top tips for preserving your health and overall wellbeing.
In an Instagram Live interview with global chauffeur company Blacklane on Friday, the wellness consultant and trainer discussed the progress made during lockdown, and the lessons we should take forward into the future.
Look at the big picture
First things first, it’s important to understand the scope of wellness, and all the factors that you should be considering.
“Wellness is physical, it’s mental, it’s emotional, it’s spiritual, it’s educational, all of those things make up how well I am. I could be really fit with no body fat and never leave my living room, and it wouldn’t make me well, it would just make me fit,” said Jameson.
“We must remember when we sculpt what wellness is that we have a rich tapestry of things that we can draw on rather than thinking back to the old days of “eat vegetables and do exercise”. That’s great and you should do those things, but you should also look at the other areas of your life.”
“The main measure of wellness is just happiness. You wake up in the morning happy and excited for your day. Not every day, but more days than you don’t.”
Structure your day to put wellness first
During lockdown, Jameson’s biggest asset has become prioritizing his schedule.
“Routine has been a really key thing for all of this. To focus on diarizing and structuring a specific routine for my personal wellness and prioritizing that, and then have my business structures come secondary,” said Jameson.
According to Jameson, putting your personal well-being first will actually benefit your professional productivity.
“As we all know, if you’re not mentally and physically at your best, it’s very difficult to do good work, especially in difficult circumstances,” said Jameson.
“It’s taken a while for the corporate world to wake up to this fact, that a happy, healthy, energized, well-rested, well-nourished employee is a better, more productive employee. And that applies more now than it ever did.”
Focus on prevention
“What we’ve done in the western world for hundreds of years, since the birth of medicine really, is we’ve waited for things to break, and then we’ve tried to fix them. It is cure before prevention… We need to make that switch.”
For Jameson this means tending to not just physical health, but also mental.
“I meditate not because I’m overly stressed, but because I don’t want to become overly stressed,” said Jameson.
“Adopting an approach to health and wellbeing by taking a probiotic every morning, going to yoga, or challenging yourself physically… Those things will, on a basic level, help you live longer. And let us not forget, stay disease-free.”
Get to know your gut
“The number one most basic thing you can do from a preventative health stance and to enhance your wellbeing is to manage and maintain your gut health.”
With 90% of your body’s serotonin produced by microbes in your gut, your digestive organs are more of an influence on your happiness than you might think.
“[Your gut] is negatively impacted by stress, and positively impacted by good quality sleep, probiotics, cardiovascular activity, and a reduction of stress,” said Jameson.
Set realistic goals
“The reason that most people don’t succeed with their wellness routine is because they set themselves unrealistic goals from the beginning. They say, I’ve never run a day in my life, so I’m going to do a marathon. I’ve just joined this new gym down the road I’m going to go every day. If you say “I’m going to go every day” and miss two days, it seems like a massive failure,” said Jameson.
As with your physical fitness, developing your overall wellness is progressive endeavour, and you can always increase your efforts over time.
“It’s a gradual process, and practice, and routine of good habits… Think of your health and fitness as a skill,” said Jameson.
Make it last long-term
“I would like to think that we’re not just creating little fads, that we’re creating proper habits, that would be my desire,” said Jameson.
For example, the habit Jameson said he will be taking forward into an opened-up world is working on his mobility and stretching.
Recognize the value of human interaction
“While our habits and behaviours will change, our inherent need for human interaction will not change,” said Jameson.
“We need to culturally enrich ourselves and meet people from different religions and backgrounds. My fear is that this may make us become more insular, and that’s an unhealthy thing.”
Jameson also cautioned against becoming too reliant on virtual services.
“Whilst we’re all embracing this digital interaction and intervention, which is by far better than nothing, let’s not turn our backs on the true craft of delivering a quality service;” said Jameson.
“We mustn’t forget the relationships we have with the people around us massively impact our wellbeing. So be nice to the person you live with and they’ll be nice back to you and honestly it will positively impact your health from a physiological perspective.”
Look in your own backyard
Even after countries begin lifting travel restrictions, Jameson forecasts a higher demand for wellness retreats that are closer to home.
“A lot of that short-haul, cheap European business travel that we’ve all become accustomed to, 100 pounds for me to come and visit you in Berlin, I fear that that might be a thing of the past.”
Beyond just being more affordable, looking for wellness getaways or gurus in your own area could increase the benefits you get out of it.
“When you’re flying across it takes a certain time for your circadian rhythm to reset…The domestic staycation could end up being more health-enhancing because there’s no travel or recovery,” said Jameson.
While Jameson is a big proponent of wellness getaways, he reiterated that they are not a replacement for maintaining good habits on a regular basis.
“What we want to avoid is this kind of feast or famine mentality where I eat crap and don’t do anything, but once a year I go somewhere to be fit, that is not preventative health. Preventative health is daily activity.”
In a previous Instagram Live interview, Skift journalist Matthew Parsons forecasted a similar domestic focus for business travel.
Pay it forward
“Fitness is looking after my health. Charity is looking after everyone else’s health, and I hope that we can combine the two of those things and continue to not only look after ourselves but to look after the rest of society,” said Jameson.
Jameson highlighted the increase in at-home charitable acts that he’s seen throughout self-isolation, like running marathons in the backyard and donating the proceeds to the NHS, Britain’s National Health Service.
“Giving something to someone who can’t do anything for you is altruism, and I think a lot of people are starting to realize how good that makes you feel and I hope that that is something that continues.”