As a Beauty Director for over 20 years, I'm lucky to have met some of the best beauty and wellness experts in the business. Over the last decade, they've helped me to embrace holistic wellness in many forms - from a nourishing diet, to stress-reducing yoga, to plenty of reparative sleep.
This year, it feels that most people are paying more attention to their health than ever before. The pandemic made us realise that feeling healthy, happy, and glowing, whatever our age is, in large part, down to our lifestyle.
The key here is the idea of supporting the body and its functions - something that chimes with British supermodel and pop culture icon Kate Moss, who shares that she's recently embraced a series of holistic wellness changes and mindset shifts. Speaking exclusively to Marie Claire UK, she shares: “I reached a point in my life where I wanted more balance. I started meditating and changing the way I live. I wanted to be healthier and more grounded.”
Alongside her wellness habits, Kate also champions a great skincare routine (her new range, Cosmoss, which launched last August, is a testament to her love of a good beauty product). “I'm a firm believer in taking a holistic approach to beauty which includes exercise, my diet and, of course, great products. I start the day with 20 minutes of meditation and follow it by practicing yoga poses or Pilates exercises. I enjoy the strength they give my body."
Sharing that she recently bought a Cadillac Reformer for her home ("such a luxury",) she also wild swims regularly ("The cold water is so invigorating and clears my head," she explains). Similarly to me, she finds nature grounding, adding: "I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
While Kate's approach to holistic wellness is fairly new for her - she's not been known for her healthy lifestyle in the past - it is very similar to the lifestyle I've been following for the best part of twenty years. I'm hugely passionate about sharing my love of holistic wellness as I've seen first-hand what a big impact it can have - it's improved my health, skin, and quality of life tenfold. Keep scrolling to read the three simple ways I've applied it to my own life, plus how it could positively impact your life, too.
I swear by holistic wellness which Kate Moss has recently adopted, too
1. Aim fora nutrient-dense, balanced diet
This holistic approach to living, for me, starts with food. I’m not talking about juicing four times a day, but rather eating a nutrient-dense, mainly plant-based diet. I'm mindful of foods that cause inflammation and drink minimal alcohol (being more mindful of my intake really positively impacted my skin and energy levels).
“A diet largely consisting of foods with low levels of vitamins, minerals and essential fats can change the chemistry of our brains and leave us feeling foggy, tired and unable to make positive decisions,” says Lorraine Perretta, head of nutrition at Advanced Nutrition Programme.
It's not always easy - we often turn to comfort fast snacks for an energy hit but studies have suggested that too much processed food, sugar, caffeine, meat, and alcohol can leave us with an acidic gut – one of the main causes of inflammation, weight gain, insomnia and bloating.
“Alkaline foods include vegetables, fruits and nuts," she goes on. "These foods contain the nutrients that are key to overall health, including beta carotene and vitamin A to stimulate skin synthesis, and phyto-antioxidants from plants to protect you from free radicals,” says Peretta. “It’s important to fuel your body with foods that have a high nutrient content, including oily fish."
If you, like me, can’t get enough fish in your diet: this is a good place to supplement. My go-to supplements are linked at the bottom of this piece.
2. Get out in nature as much as possible
I'm a big believer in enjoying everything nature has to offer - I feel strongest and healthiest in both mind and body when outdoors.
I like running, hiking, climbing and swimming in lakes, taking the time to breathe in the fresh air, while I'm at it. As well as helping with lymphatic and blood flow and getting fresh nutrients and oxygen to our bodies, global studies are proving what we nature lovers already know - that immersing ourselves in green spaces can have a positive impact on our mental health and stress levels, reduce negative emotions, improve sleep, and increase happiness, too.
There's also interesting research on how stress can impact the skin, with scientific literature recognising a bi-directional pathway between the brain and the skin. In other words, it's thought that the two organs communicate with each other. "Through a number of mechanisms, psychological stress triggers a chain of events in the human body which can directly impact the skin,” confirms dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto.
Of course, there are a whole host of other things that can impact our skin and any skin issues we face, that said, Mahto confirms that stress in particular activates our sympathetic nervous system, which is behind the body’s “flight or fight” response to threats or danger. "This results in further production of adrenaline via the adrenal glands and the activation of these two pathways can result in spikes of cortisol and adrenaline, often resulting in changes to your skin."
If you think stress might be to blame for any skin issues you're facing, know this - “the end goal is always to have you in a position where you are in control of your skin, rather than your skin is controlling you,” she encourages.
I've reduced stress over the years by embracing lifestyle habits that promote relaxation and help me change the way I respond to stress. This will look different for everyone, so it's key to find an outlet that works for you - my preferred release, for example, is being in nature.
“Exposure to nature immediately triggers the body’s parasympathetic nervous system,” says psychologist Jonathan Hoban, The Walking Therapist and author of Walk With Your Wolf. Brown agrees, adding that getting outside to some natural light in the morning "resets your circadian rhythm so can help with your sleep quality."
If you feel like you do a good job of managing your stress levels and are still experiencing skin issues, know there are many other factors that could be at play. Do book an appointment with a qualified dermatologist or your local GP to get their take.
3. Find ways of moving that you genuinely enjoy
We all know that exercise is good for us for a whole host of reasons, from the release of feel-good endorphins to supporting our metabolism.
What's important about exercise is working out what works for you - you'll only stick to it if you genuinely enjoy it and look forward to your sessions. It's taken me some time to figure it out for myself, but now I love running twice a week and doing yoga sessions with Trinny Woodall’s yoga teacher and breathing coach, Victoria Woodhall, when I can.
Together, they help me to build a stronger body, put a spring in my step and positively impact my state of mind. “Yoga gives us the opportunity to connect with the idea of defying gravity," shares Woodhall. "I love feeling strong by trying to hold a handstand or taking my knee higher than my shoulder - we’re working with the forces of nature and having fun in the process.”
If yoga isn't for you, remember that all movement counts - whether that's hitting your daily step count or moving around the kitchen. “We can all train in a way that will positively impact our state of mind and have a knock-on effect on how we present."
So there you have it - my three simple steps for creating a holistic wellness routine for yourself. It's important to remember that while holistic wellness, at it's core, involves going back to nature and treating your body with the kindness it deserves, everyone's journey will be different and what works for you, may not work for others.
My advice? Find a lifestyle you and your body loves and enjoy it every day.
Shop my go-to holistic wellness products now
I love this new face oil from Kate - it's nourishing, soothing and leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated.
As I don't eat fish, I make sure to supplement my Omega 3. I'm a fan of the I take the Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Omegas+ (do consult with a nutritionist or doctor before you start supplementing, though).
What is holistic wellness?
Good question. According to Roger Williams University, holistic wellness includes five separate elements - your physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual health.
That said, embracing holistic wellness can be as simple as living more mindfully - eating lots of fruit and veg, getting outside more, and thinking about how different factors impact your quality of life as a whole.
It can also span alternative therapies including acupuncture, acupressure, and reiki.
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An award-winning health and beauty writer, stylist and creative director, Lisa Oxenham is one of the UK’s top beauty editors and the Beauty and Style Director at Marie Claire UK. With 20 years of editorial experience Lisa is a brand partnership expert, and a popular speaker, panelist and interviewer on a range of topics from sustainability to the future of beauty in the digital world. She recently spoke at Cognition X and Beauty Tech Live and is on the Advisory Board for the British Beauty Council’s Sustainable Beauty Coalition.
A well-respected creative director she works on celebrity, model and influencer shoots with the highest calibre of photographers, filmmakers, make-up artists and hairstylists to create timeless images, attention-grabbing videos, digital events and masterclasses. Most recently Lisa has directed covers such as Lily Cole and Jameela Jamil, films such as Save The Arts featuring Francesca Hayward and sustainable fashion shoots such as Be The Change. Supporting the beauty industry over the pandemic has been a top focus, directing the British Beauty Council’s six inspirational short biographical films for their Bring Back Beauty campaign.
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