Image: Shutterstock

The expert’s guide to feeling well

11 Apr 2024 | Updated on: 12 Apr 2024 |By Felicity Carter

How to nourish the mind, body and soul according to experts

Not feeling on top form? Well, it might be time to look at the pillars that form the building blocks of a healthy, happy life, including diet, exercise, sleep and mindfulness which all come together to allow us to reach our full potential. By tending to these pillars, the body can become stronger, increasing mobility and energy, and when it comes to mental health, managing stress levels, prioritising rest, and connecting with people and nature, allows the mind to become calm, and more focused. Imparting their advice on optimising your health, and maintaining it, the experts weigh in. Here’s the ultimate guide to feeling well.

Preventative health

As they say, prevention is better than a cure, and implementing a healthy diet, exercise, and regular body checks is a good place to start. The NHS offers free check-ups, or for comprehensive preventative health assessments, complete with a quick turnaround, head to Echelon Health on Harley Street. Offering extensive and tailored medical check-ups and assessments, they’ve built a reputation for being the world’s leading provider of preventative assessments and promise to reduce the risk of premature death by more than 90 per cent.

“It is important to take time out at least once a day, even for a few seconds, to stop and appreciate life and just how wonderful it is to be alive. Increase your chances of maintaining this good health by eating sensibly, avoiding ultra-processed food, and taking pleasure in the joy of preparing and sharing a tasty and nutritious meal, over a good glass of wine,” says Dr Jenkins from Echelon Health.

“Moderate regular cardiovascular exercise is probably the single most important action you can take to maintain good health but as you get wiser in years, it is important to combine this with strength and mobility exercises. Once you get into the so-called ‘snipers alley’ of 50 and above with an increased risk of serious disease, this should be coupled with a regular comprehensive preventive health assessment. Catching a disease early dramatically increases your chance of cure so don’t procrastinate, it could literally save your life.”


Regular physical activity offers a range of health benefits, and it’s been medically proven to the lower risk of illnesses from coronary heart disease and strokes to various cancers, type 2 diabetes, and dementia. Exercise also improves brain health, boosts self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, and strengthens muscles and mobility, all in all, lowering the risk of early death by up to 30 per cent. To stay healthy, it’s recommended that adults should aim to be active every day, with 150 minutes of physical activity over a week. This might take the form of a simple swap, like walking or cycling instead of using a car, sports, or exercise at the gym.

“To seamlessly integrate fitness into your daily routine, I recommend beginning with realistic, manageable actions and establishing weekly targets. For instance, you can start with a 10-minute Pilates session in the morning or evening or commit to a 20-minute walk every day for a week, and gradually increase the duration to 30 minutes. The key to sustaining a fitness regimen is consistency, so it is recommended to engage in short workouts or activities daily,” says Paola Langella, founder of London-based gym, Shapes Studio.

“By dedicating just 10 minutes a day instead of one hour per week, you can combat the effects of sedentary jobs, improve your mood, and maintain a healthy body. It also enhances bone strength to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, boosts energy levels and stamina, improves mental focus and memory, increases blood circulation and heart health, promotes better digestion and sleep, achieves firmer skin, and slows down the ageing process.”


Feeding our body with the right nutrition is essential for optimal functioning. Split into two categories, the body needs both macronutrients and micronutrients to perform properly. Macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and good fats make up the bulk of our diet, and micronutrients, cue vitamins (there are 13 that each have their role in body functioning) and minerals build strong bones and teeth and support the immune system. 

"Staying well hinges significantly on our nutrition and the vitamins we intake, as these are the foundations of optimal functioning. The basics of how to eat to get the nutrition you need should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, they're packed with essential vitamins and minerals," explains nutritionist, Rose Ferguson. "For instance, vitamin C from citrus fruits boosts immunity, while leafy greens are rich in vitamin K, crucial for blood clotting and bone health. A diet rich in vegetables ensures a high intake of fibre, which is vital for the health of the microbiome and digestive health, it also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and supports satiety, reducing the likelihood of overeating. 


"Focus on high-quality proteins and healthy fats, while keeping carbohydrates on the lower side. This way of eating can enhance muscle strength, boost brain function, and support sustained energy levels throughout the day without the spikes and dips often associated with higher-carb diets. Lots of veg, protein and good fats contribute to an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases and improving overall wellness."

Setting healthy habits

Implementing a healthy diet is sometimes easier said than done, but breaking those hindering habits and setting positive ones is key. This might be in the form of weekly meal planning and prepping, and then sticking to regular mealtimes, and sitting down, consciously eating rather than standing up which may lead to eating mindlessly or too quickly.

New habits take an average of 59 days of repetition to build but that’s the easy part when compared with breaking old habits that you might have been practising for years. But Dr Matt McCarter, clinical lead of wellness platform Habitual, has some tips. "Habits of all types are the result of what was once an intentional action becoming automatic over time, so the trick is to reverse that process by practising awareness around habits that you’re trying to break.

"Next time you catch yourself engaging in an eating habit that you’d like to do away with, slow down your actions and observe yourself doing it even if you still complete the action, slowing it down and observing the process will make you feel more in control of the situation. Keep doing this every time you go to engage in the behaviour – and before you know it, what was previously an automatic action will become intentional, and you’ll be able to choose whether to do it."


Forming and sustaining a healthy mindset is essential to overall wellbeing. "When it comes to building and maintaining a healthy mindset, the most important thing to remember is that what you think impacts how you feel and how you view the world. Are your thoughts about yourself kind or critical? Do you view situations as inherently stressful or as challenges to be met?" explains mindset coach Lily Silverton.

"Your brain is malleable – you can change the way you think and feel by prioritising helpful thoughts that help you cultivate a healthy mindset. It just takes practice. Prioritise moments of joy and focus on your values, be guided by what truly matters to you."

Holistic therapies

Central to holistic therapies is embracing the power of the body to heal itself, and this can come in various forms and via different methods, with the most popular being massage, acupuncture, herbal medicine, reflexology, yoga and meditation. These can be incorporated into your everyday life to boost the immune system, reduce symptoms or side effects of illnesses, lessen pain, or simply let go and relax.

Since the pandemic, Ruuby – a digital beauty and wellness concierge – has seen an uptick in bookings in holistic treatments, such as reiki, sound healing and acupuncture, especially as these can be done from the comfort of your own home. "In today’s pursuit of wellness, in a busy, frenetic world, clients are looking for methods that fit seamlessly into their day whether it be a reiki session on a Sunday evening at home or a sound bath among friends in the living room," says founder and CEO, Venetia Archer.


sleeping well in heat

Sleep is a fundamental pillar of health and mental health. A poor night's sleep can cause mood shifts, stress, memory loss, and reduced concentration and energy levels, and long term can lead to chronic health problems such as heart disease, depression, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. So, what can we do to optimise our sleep?

"Aside from substances that drastically impair sleep, such as too much alcohol and caffeine, busy minds and worry often impede our sleep. To help this, try taking a more mindful and self-compassionate approach to these thoughts, which gets easier by building a mindfulness practice during the day," explains London-based sleep coach, Edward Gorst. "I'd also suggest winding down before bed by doing something you find relaxing and enjoyable, such as reading, listening to music or having a hot bath."

Read more: Inside London’s top wellness clinics