My Daily Five Pillars For A Happier life

My Daily Five Pillars For A Happier life

The beautiful soul Sophie Jones founder of Sun and Salt Escapes, fitness instructor teaches people around the globe. It is a little know fact that Sophie's guidance is one of the many powerful tools that got me through my own person journey of choosing Balance over Burnout.  It's time to take 5, get comfortable and read Sophie's daily five pillars for a happier life.


If you were to write down how your perfect day would look, how would it go? This is often a question I ask my friends and clients, and one I am also asking myself regularly. Would it look very different to your day-to-day life now or would there only be minor changes? To be more specific, I am not talking about the if you won the lottery and it was your last day on earth kind of day, but a regular weekday that you would be happy to relive day in day out, week after week that would leave you feeling fulfilled, happy, and grateful.


It may have taken almost the first third of my life to realise that there is a formula to what makes a good day a great day, and when applied consistently, compound into weeks and months. Those days that when I rest my head on my pillow each night, I feel content and accomplished and when I wake, I am excited to get out of bed to start a new day. For context, I am not a person with a strict routine. I am self-employed, running my own wellness business, married with no dependants, other than our dog, Loki. So, each day looks different, but I know that if I can succeed in building these 5 pillars into my day, having a routine is not a necessity. I enjoy the freedom to work when I feel my most creative when my best work can be done, but to also have the ability make plans when it suits me.


Personally, I do not have a particular preference for what order these pillars form through my day, although I will generally feel my best when movement is included in the first half of my day and my gratitude practice is used to reflect on each day. Many clients that I work with also agree that if they move prioritise exercise early on, it starts to become a habit which becomes non-negotiable over time, whereas often if they leave this to the end of the day it often is pushed aside as other better options (or excuses) crop up.


If you often find yourself feeling unfulfilled or overworked, try incorporating the following 5 pillars into your day, as consistently for 1 week as you can and take a few minutes to journal how you feel at the end of each day. Look back through your journal after the first week and notice if adhering to them influences your mood and overall week.


  1. Movement. Maybe the most obvious thing you can do to lift your mood, but often the one that many people overlook who do not exercise regularly. Exercise releases many feel-good hormones like dopamine and adrenaline, but not only that but movement can help you clear a busy mind and improve your relationship with your body. Two things that many people struggle with. I use the work “movement” over exercise though to interpreted more broadly, as for some people running is their high and for others a yoga class helps them feel their best. There is no one size fits all when it comes to movement, but finding something you want to do, again and again is the most important component when it comes to building this pillar into your day. Of course, the movement and intensity can be varied from day-to-day, and the more options you have, the more freedom and motivation you might even feel.


  1. Social. I would describe myself as an introvert and I enjoy my own company maybe too much than I would like to admit, meaning that I find my social batteries drain easily and often saying “no” to plans becomes my autopilot, which I must actively override at times. However, despite this I do value my relationships very highly in my life and understand the importance they play in my overall happiness. We are social creatures that need connection on a physical and emotional level, but in a time where so many of us work from home, order food through an app and are too quick to message rather than call now, it can be easy to let a day pass by where you don’t have any meaningful social interactions. Making the effort and finding the time in your day, every day might seem impossible and feel like a real luxury to some, but I think it is an absolute necessity for your sanity. It has been proven in numerus studies that having healthy relationships directly correlates to improved long term health, so getting out of the house for 15 minutes to have that cuppa with your bestie or neighbour. Or, better yet taking the afternoon off to spend some quality time with your mum is actual soul food which you’ll never regret prioritising. The days where I feel down, I am still hesitant to reach out to a friend and say I am struggling, but I still do because I know not only do I feel better for it, but that also gives them permission to do the same. Flip the script, and I am the first to be there for a friend in need who calls. Knowing you have a few people on speed dial for that real, face-to-face connection is a game changer.


  1. Nature. I am yet to meet a person who doesn’t appreciate a good sunset, a picnic on a hot summer’s day or a walk on a cold but crisp day when the sun makes its first Spring appearance after a long cold winter. That’s because being outside, connecting with nature makes us feel so damn good. Like movement, being outside in fresh air boosts important hormones like oxytocin and serotonin; a neurotransmitter that enhances your mood. Natural light and fresh air can do wonders for a slump in your energy levels, so consider going for a walk outside next time you feel like reaching for a cup of coffee. Remember during the lockdowns of 2020 when everyone cherished their once daily walk? That time outside was so sacred to us when all the things we loved were taken away, so many of us suddenly made getting outside a priority, no matter what the weather because it was the one activity, we could trust to make us feel good. There is something so grounding to feel grass under your bare feet or to only hear the rustle of trees, birds chirping, running water or the ocean instead of the hum of mankind. Of all the pillars, nothing helps me feel more present than being surrounded in nature.


  1. Purpose. What is the thing that gets you out of bed every day? I use the word purpose; because I do feel we all need to do something with our time that feels productive in some way. This is why so many people who retire find themselves volunteering or becoming full-time nannies to their grandchildren. Why people who don’t need to work continue with their education with master’s and PHDs or train to run ultramarathons around the world. We need something that gives us drive, a feeling of self-worth or self-growth in some positive way. If you are a creative person this might look like learning a new skill or working on a new piece, or if you are an entrepreneur, it could be streamlining a process within your business to move it forward. For some people they will be in the traditional 9-5 job, which may not bring them immediate joy, but doing so provides financial stability for them and their family, which gives them purpose and a feeling of accomplishment. Being self-employed and doing small tasks that keep my retreat and online coaching business moving each day gives me a real sense of satisfaction. On my days off my purpose feels more family oriented like prepping some meals for us for the week ahead. Or it might be more personal like writing my own training programme for the coming months.


  1. Gratitude. Lastly but by no means least. The one that is technically the easiest and I would go as far to say is the most powerful tool you have to change your outlook and the trajectory of your life. Every evening, I say out loud 3 things that I am grateful for. The best days are when I am not in the mood to say them, when I think I have had the worst day. Because no matter how bad your day has been, you will always, always be able to find 3 positive things. The most minor, insignificant things you can think of the better, because not every day are you going to get a raise or fall in love or buy a new car. It’s all the small things in life that bring you micro moments of joy. These are the little things that get so easily taken for granted and forgotten about. Your partner bringing you a cup of coffee in the morning. Waking up to blue skies. Going for that run when you wanted to talk yourself out of it. If you say these things all out loud it gives them power, it makes them real, and you start to welcome more of those micro moments into your life.


If this all sounds like a lot to accomplish in one day, alongside looking after your children, running a household, and working a full-time job, as with any new habit you are trying to create, I would encourage you to pair habits side-by-side. For example, pillars 1, 2 and 3 are easy to combine into one activity. Go for a walk or run (movement) around your local park (nature) with a friend or running group (social). Habit “stacking” can also be a very effective way of introducing in a new habit alongside an already existing one. A gratitude practice is something you build into your sleep hygiene routine, either vocally, to yourself or whoever you live with just before you switch the lights off or just before you brush your teeth.


These pillars have shaped and changed my life so profoundly in the last few years. Providing a clear blueprint of what I need to do to support the life I want and nurture my health and wellbeing without getting lost in what society tells us we need to be happy.


Sophie Jones is a online personal coach, yoga teacher and runs her own wellness retreats. She can be found teaching weekly fitness and yoga classes in Pembrokeshire, with her main objective to make fitness fun and enjoyable for everyone and to help people learn how to prioritise their health and connect with the nature.


Catch her on her next retreat with Sun And Salt Escapes in Pembrokeshire, Portugal or Ibiza.

Also check out her daily adventures with Loki (& Sean) on instagram The Flying Fit Foodie

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