Kimberly Snyder Feeling Your Best portrait

What I’ve found in over a decade of working in wellness is that if we focus just on one area of our life, we’re not really well. For most of us, our wellness journeys start with food and improving our diet, but then once we do that and lose the weight or get more fit or whatever our goal is, we still feel that something is off.

Maybe we still don’t feel peaceful, we’re still anxious and have insomnia. Maybe we just don’t feel happy. Maybe we don’t feel confident or are still feeling over-affected by what anyone around us says or does. This is why it’s key to take a holistic approach to wellness, one that honors and nurtures all aspects of us, because our power lies in our wholeness.

The way I talk about this wholeness is through the Four Cornerstones of True Beauty and Wellness that is central in my philosophy. When I’m talking about beauty, it’s not just the way your hair or skin looks (though that’s part of it). I’m talking about beauty in a deep, mystical, holistic way as well, the way the ancient mystics like Rumi and the great yoga guru Yogananda described the beauty of the soul.

When you follow this holistic approach, you will feel centered, empowered and clear. You gain more confidence, you have more energy, and you have this “what is that?!” magnetism that is hard to pin down. And you look radiant and de-bloated to boot! Everything starts to feel like it’s flowing across your life.

Our Four Cornerstones are 1) food, 2) body, 3) emotional well-being and 4) spiritual growth.

When you work on nourishing all of them in your life, you regain balance and start to thrive. If you ignore one or two, you tend to get obsessed with one of the other areas.

For instance, when I had eating disorders and beat myself up mentally every day over my body (which I was obsessed with making skinnier), it was because I was ignoring my emotions and feelings, and I was not connecting with my real self/soul/spirit. I didn’t like myself and wasn’t comfortable with myself. And how could I be? I didn’t take the time to get to know myself yet, because I didn’t have any kind of stillness or meditation practice. And it wasn’t until I started working on my emotional, mental and spiritual well-being was I able to feel beer in my body- and across my whole life- once and for all.

illustrating four cornerstones to feeling your best

Let’s focus on applying this Four Cornerstone philosophy to summer, to look and feel our best.

1. Food Choices for Feeling Your Best

We need to nourish our bodies. Because we eat every day, and food is tangible as we can see it and pick it up, it’s where we begin. What you put in your body; the foods you choose to eat have powerful healing qualities. Food integrates into your body and profoundly affects the way you feel and look.

Summer is a wonderful time to eat more raw plant foods: especially greens, other vegetables, and fruit. We take in the optimal amount of vitamins that way, as well as antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and more. Salads and smoothies are great daily staples for summer I opt for simplicity. Often, I make a big plate with cut up a bunch of cucumbers with a little sea salt and snap peas and leave it out of my older son, who is five, and he chomps away. Kids can teach us the simple, basic nature of great eating!

It’s important to maintain balance with lots of room temperature water (as tempting as icy beverages always are!) for optimal hydration, as well as coconut water. (One of my personal favorites is the Harmless Harvest brand.)

2. Body Practices for Feeling Your Best

Our bodies can offer us so much wisdom. When we care for our bodily temple properly, we feel revitalized, flexible and centered. Summer is a great time to move your body outside in nature, to take advantage of the benefits of grounding and getting some Vitamin D from (safe) sunlight practices. If you practice asana, it’s so beneficial to practice outside when possible. In the summer, the sun sets later, of course. And it’s great to try to eat dinner outside when possible, and still strive for eating 3-4 hours before bedtime, so you don’t end up with sluggish digestion from eating too late.

3. Emotional Well-Being

Emotional well-being is often a missing piece of one’s wellness journey. Imbalanced, it can manifest in emotional swings, ongoing relationship drama, guilt, shame, chronic anger and resentment, constant cravings and desires are all indicative of unresolved emotions. Unresolved emotions can increase inflammation, bloating, gut imbalance, even weight gain, lined skin and of course, unhappiness.

This summer, create an intention to create some stillness and space to really feel your feelings. I find that feelings can build up, similarly to undigested food. There’s a lot of research now about the power of intention. Use the slower weekends or times in the evening to meditate, journal, and then lie back and feel. I do this periodically, and it’s amazing how much can come up to be felt, before it can fully be let go. I lay very still, and feel, feel, feel for as long as the feelings cycle through—which could be anywhere from 30 minutes to far longer. It’s a wonderful practice for fostering more lightness this summer.

4. Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth isn’t about organized religion or dogma, it’s about spirit. Spirit, energy, life force, pure intelligence, the Tao—whatever term you prefer—flows through you and me and everything else. I define spirituality as being in touch with your true self, your true essence. You are a completely unique soul and expression. Therefore you are completely worthy of love just as you are- but the problem is that we so easily forget that! And when we do, life starts to feel a lot harder and more complicated.

This summer, commit to dialing in, or really doubling down on your meditation practice. Better still if you can get up a bit earlier. The Yogis used to teach about the magic hours of the early morning as holding great spiritual potential. Even if it’s only 5-10 minutes every morning, it’s a great start. And you can continue to build from there on the path to feeling your best.


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