This three-pronged approach to wellness includes stress management, exercise and nutrition. Learn more on September 29 at WORD Vancouver

I’ve been studying health and happiness for 15 years and, through my degree in neuroscience, my work as a personal trainer, fitness instructor and older adult specialist, and my career as a lifestyle writer and wellness coach, I’ve been privileged to learn an incredible amount about how to improve and maintain health and happiness. 

Writing for BCLiving has allowed me to explore a wide range of topics that inform mental, physical and spiritual health, from the latest workouts and fitness centres and the newest cookbooks and buzz-worthy restaurants, to local and international travel destinations, and so much more.

On Sunday, September 29, I'll be speaking at 12 pm at WORD Vancouver on behalf of BCLiving on my trifecta of wellness. Here's what you can look forward to.

The Trifecta of Wellness

Delving into such a wide variety of lifestyle topics has enabled me to really see the big picture in terms of health and happiness, and to create what I call the trifecta of wellness, a three-pronged approach that includes stress management, exercise and nutrition. 

As a wellness coach, I’m a conduit for clients to explore their mental, physical and spiritual health through stress management, exercise and nutrition. I sift through the latest research and writing on health and happiness, and provide a curated selection of what I think is the most efficient, interesting and beneficial information.

Stress Management

Stress management is, by far, the most important tenet of the trifecta of wellness.

It doesn’t matter how healthy your diet, or how rigorous your workout regime, if your mind is a broken record of negative thoughts, and everyday irritations have cortisol coursing through your veins, your health will suffer and happiness will elude you.

There are many effective tools to reduce stress, and discovering them is an exciting adventure. My approach to stress management focuses on three key areas: mindfulness, meditation and connection.

Mindfulness is about evaluating your internal and external dialogue – your thoughts and the words you speak. Simple strategies can shift your thinking and help steer you in a positive direction.

Meditation’s most powerful benefits are training your attention to increase awareness, improve concentration and develop loving kindness. I’ll share insight from current research in contemplative neuroscience – the study of how meditation affects the brain – that will take the mystery out of meditation, and convince you of its value.

Connection – to oneself, to others, and to our natural environment – is vital to stress management. I’ll share how self-love, building community, and spending time in nature can improve your health and happiness. 

Here’s a selection of my recent BCLiving stories that have broadened my experience of mindfulness, meditation and connection:

Yoga and Meditation

Wellness Retreats

Exercise

For nearly a decade, before I began my writing career, I worked out of fitness centres, college and university athletics, and retirement homes – focusing on weight training. I absolutely loved teaching people about their bodies and how to develop muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.

But being in the same room, using the same equipment, day in, day out, got a bit boring, and I was frustrated by the number of clients who just didn’t love that setting, were intimidated by it, or just found it too big a production to fit into their schedules, and quickly dropped out of their routines and even cancelled their memberships.

When I began writing for BCLiving I had the amazing opportunity to write about new workouts, fitness facilities and athletic events. It opened my eyes to the enormous amount of activities available to move your body – because that’s what really matters.

If you love going to the gym and lifting weights, that’s great, but if you loathe it, that’s totally fine too, there are many, many other options out there.

What really matters is moving, period. Any way, any how, in as many ways, in as many hows, just do it!

And do it often.

Even if you dedicate a solid hour to exercising every single day, you’ll likely have at least 20 more hours where you’re sedentary – not moving – and long periods of not moving are bad for you. Really bad for you.

I’ll share compelling reasons why you should launch your own anti-sedentary revolution, basics on posture and anatomy to build a better baseline, and tools to quickly and easily craft your own quickie workouts – no more time management excuses.

Here’s a selection of my BCLiving stories on workouts, facilities and events. I hope they will inspire you to try something new!

Nutrition

As a fitness professional and enthusiastic foodie, I’ve always been interested in nutrition, but I never deeply questioned where my food came from until I started writing about food.

I’m ashamed to say it now, but it was so easy to fill up my shopping cart with the items on my shopping list without thinking about how they actually got there – how the animals were treated, what chemicals were sprayed on the fruits and vegetables, the carbon footprint created by transporting the packages.

Getting to know some of Vancouver and BC’s best chefs has been an incredibly enlightening experience. They’ve taught me the value of researching an ingredient’s origins, and shown me the quality produced by people who care about the crops and livestock they manage.

These experiences have completely changed the way I shop, eat and dine out – as well as my overall health and happiness.

As a contributor to BCLiving’s recipe blog What I Made for Dinner – where you’ll find over 100 recipes I’ve personally tried – my culinary creativity has been stretched and a whole new world of techniques and tastes has been opened to me.

At the start of each week I create a seven-day menu, and experimenting with local ingredients and international flavours has broadened my repertoire and provided a wide range of tasty, healthy options.

At WORD Vancouver, I’ll share how a food’s origins can affect your health, give you tips on creating delicious, balanced weekly menus, and share one powerful tool that can banish your diet dilemmas forever.

Check out these exemplary restaurant chefs, producers and suppliers that I’ve had the privilege of interviewing for BCLiving:

Join BCLiving contributing writer and wellness coach Catherine Roscoe Barr at WORD Vancouver on Sunday, September 29 at 12 pm in the Magazine Words tent to learn more about the trifecta of wellness.