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This Sydney based movement and lifestyle coach teaches us to shake off the stigma about health


Let’s move into love with ourselves and back into health while we are at it.

As a practitioner of “health” I often get the vibes from clients and friends that health is something “I must start doing” as opposed to being an integral part of their day to day existence.

But what if the word health wasn’t such a loaded term.
What if we swapped the word from health to happiness – Because after all, the two words are synonymous.

An overarching theme that we can’t seem to shake is that to be healthy we must become a restricted, shrunken down version of ourselves that does not have the ability to engage in social activities.
What is commonly noted in our society is that health and happiness are two separate ideas.

I believe health is a byproduct of being truly happy, because if we have enough love in our lives and a love of life itself, why would we consciously go out of our way to bring our bodies out of harmony?

What is health really?

Often people mistake health as being in perfect alignment with a 6 pack of abs, shiny white teeth and a tanned rig, but unfortunately this cannot always be the case. There are plenty of truly healthy people that still get struck down by disease and illness, often this is not because they are in “bad health” but more commonly there is a lesson to learn and grow from that brings these people into even more harmony with the world.

One of my teachers about this subject Paul Chek defines health as


“ A willingness to engage your body and mind so that you can see challenges in life (of the body or mind) as an integral process of creating and living your dreams and accomplishing your goals”.

SO what does happiness mean to you?

Does it mean having more energy
Being more social
Being free of pain in your body
Having the ability to rough house and play around with your children.

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All of these point in the direction of gaining more connection.
To gain more connection we often need to challenge the habits and themes in our lives that are bringing us out of flow. These could include strained relationships, working a job that does not fulfil us, and very often and even more damaging to our health are the themes and beliefs towards ourselves that are not conducive to health. You know those thoughts along the lines of
I am not enough…
Too big, too skinny, not enough money, not enough time the list can go on and on, what I believe we need to start questioning is

  • How is this belief serving me?
  • How is having X in my life making me a better person
  • How is believing X about myself bringing me towards what I truly desire?

What I encourage my clients to do is to find what it is that is truly important to you. Find things that “light you up” experiences and situations that bring the best out in yourself and to put it simply do more of that.

The next step to focus on is consistently doing the things that bring our physiology into a state that we can keep doing the things we love.
These factors all have to do with syncing ourselves up with nature.

What we can do to get our health in sync

Set your rhythms:

Get up when the sun is coming up and go down as the day is ending. Keep it this simple, if your body is in sync with that of natures our energy levels will also be on point. From here our bodies ability to grow, repair and rebalance will be functioning optimally.
As a guideline try to be in bed by 10pm and up at 6am.

Remember to breathe:

We breathe up to 25,000 times per day and the quality of our breathe plays a huge role in our daily experience with the world. It affects our bodies ability to detox, build and repair, relax and energise.
Simply have your hands on your belly upon waking and pre sleep and see if you can breathe deeply into the belly. From here catch yourself throughout the day when you are in stressful situations or otherwise and observe the quality of your breath.

Stay hydrated:

Since most of our body is made up of water it would make sense to be taking good care of your hydration.
With a hydrated system we have a system in harmony. Poor hydration can lead to a number of health complaints ranging from poor mood to serious disease.
Put simply, buy a good water filter or source natural spring water and drink more of it.
A quick calculation for optimal hydration is this
0.033 x your body weight in Kg and the answer will come out in litres.

E.g if you weigh 100 kg you should be drinking 3.3 Litres per day, as a base line.

Add more water for things like coffee and alcohol consumption, exercise, stress as well as eating packaged and processed foods.

Choose nourishment over restriction:

Food should be enjoyed, not feared!
Try to stay away from too many fads and hacks as they all tend to swing the pendulum in one direction too hard. To begin with just simplify your food by eating minimally processed, in season, organic and not too much of it. Chew your food thoroughly, breathe between mouthfuls and try not to overeat.
If after eating a whole food and organic diet for 3 months consistently and you are struggling with intolerances or inflammation then begin experimenting with alternative eating habits i.e. Paleo, Ketogenic, vegan ect.

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Expose yourself:

Exposing yourself to nature and its elements is essential for our circadian rhythms, immune function as well as many other aspects of our health but besides anything else, IT JUST FEELS GOOD!
Get out in the bush, take a view from up high, go bare feet and throw yourself in the ocean.

Practice stillness:

How much time in your day is dedicated to being still? If you do not have a meditation practice just start by focussing on your breathing for 5 minutes morning and night and then ask around to find a teacher or teaching that appeals to you.

Get daily movement:

Every day we need to move our bodies, not just when we are at our yoga or fitness classes. These days our bodies are static much more than they are active and moving. Try to see where in your life you can make time for unbound play and physical expression and try to visit this type of body movement everyday. Think of dancing to a song, having a running race, wrestling with a mate, trying cartwheels and handstands. These forms of play nourish our body physically, chemically and emotionally

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Have a dream team:

We all need people to bounce ideas off and oftentimes to show us the mirror from the little white lies and justifications we tend to sell ourselves.
So check in and ask yourself, Do I have a dream team?
People who I can go to for objective and knowledgeable advice? If the answer is no, begin a small circle of trusted mates as well as outsourcing some pro’s that all have your back.

Do something for your happiness:

Each day is a declaration of love for yourself. Do something that is purely for you and your happiness! It could take 3 minutes by writing yourself a little love letter or you might organise to see a movie that no one else is interested in. Just try to do things for yourself, the more we can fill our own cup the more we have to give.

Like all things in life that are worthy of our pursuits, health takes time and is an ever evolving process. Take it easy on yourself, always do your best and if you are not having fun in the process get your ass back to the drawing board and see how you can change that.

Nic Laidlaw has been in the health industry since 2007 as a personal trainer and is a C.H.E.K. (Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology) Exercise Coach and Holistic Lifestyle Coach (Level 3). Growing up as a professional junior surfer on the northern beaches of Sydney and getting early exposure to yoga, meditation and eastern medicine he truely lives what he preaches. You can find Nic on Instagram @balancedstudio or via his website here.


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