5 Pillars of Wellness

Do you begin each year with aspirations of health and wellness? There is nothing wrong with this since if we’re not taking care of our external bodies, our internal health will suffer. Looking at how you care for your physical health is a great way to start each year. 

I’ve always strived to be healthy and have often started the year with different goals related to my health. I grew up in a house where health was valued. We were taught about healthy food and the importance of exercise. My parents taught us about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables instead of processed or packaged foods. They also lived what they preached by modeling a healthy lifestyle. My dad exercised most days – whether it was in a group tennis game, going on a run, or doing some weights in the basement, he showed me the importance of taking care of his body by his actions. He exercised to care for his body, not as a punishment to his body or not as a punishment for how he ate or drank the day before. I attribute my love of running and outdoor exercise to my dad. My mom consistently cooked nightly meals of vegetables and proteins. Sweets and processed food was limited and discouraged.

I attribute my love of fruit and green things to this upbringing. As I’ve touched on in other blogs, there were some not-so-grand messages portrayed to me but their intention was true and as an adult, I get to choose which messages to pass down to my children. I choose to model the importance of fueling and moving our body from a place of care for and honor to that body. However, wellness is more than what you eat and when you exercise. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that no matter how much I exercised or how healthy I ate, I still didn’t feel how I wanted to feel. My energy was dragging. My moods were low. I was reactive towards my kids. My life experiences led me to a definition of wellness as having 5 pillars. This post is about explaining the 5 pillars so that, as you move through your strong and wonderful new year, you can note where one pillar may need some strengthening or attention. Keeping your 5 pillars strong in addition to managing your mind will lead you into the best year of your life. Let’s go!



How do you move your body? What do you want your body to be able to do for you? This is not about losing weight. This is about understanding that your body is designed to move and then following through on your commitment to your body to move it. Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary. If you want a life of mobility, you must live a mobile life.


What do you feed your body? What foods are you putting in your body? How does your body feel when you eat or drink those foods? This is about understanding the food that best fuels your body. Every body is different and reacts differently to foods.


How much sleep do you get most nights? Do you go to bed around the same time and wake up the same time? Most adults do not get enough sleep. Even those of us who watch what we eat and exercise regularly, tend to skimp on sleep. We use one of 2 main excuses: (1) It is our “me time”. Time at the end of the day when our kids and/or spouse may be asleep and we get to do what we want; or (2) It is that time to get everything done that we didn’t get done during the day. We tell ourself that the next day will be easier if we write that report or answer those emails now. These are harmful thoughts for different reasons. If you’re using the first excuse that night time is the only time when you get to do what you want to do, stop and ask yourself why you’re choosing to spend the majority of your days doing things you don’t want to do. If you’re using the second excuse it’s helpful to learn about your brain and how it’s not efficient at that time of night. Lack of sleep is one of the main reasons we gain weight as adults. 


Who is close to you? How do feel when you’re around them? Who would you call if you were curled in a ball crying? Who would you call if you were jumping up and down cheering? You don’t need 40 people in your inner circle but you do need people who are supportive and accepting of you. 1-4 is ideal. Humans are wired to connect. We get into trouble when we tell ourselves we can do it alone.  Theres no I in wellness but there is an I in illness. You are not here to do this alone.


I used to call this self care but, for me, that was easy to put off as I thought it meant bubble baths and pedicures. Soul care is deep work and a critical piece of living a life you love. We are all here on earth for a reason yet sometimes, through daily life, family-conditioning, and mothering, we lose sight of who we are. Soul care is all about caring for that unique piece of you so that you feel ALIVE and know that your life here on earth matters (it does). How do you know if you’re taking care of your soul? How do you feel most days? Strung out? Resentful? Bitter? Then you’re not taking care of your soul. How do you learn how to take care of your soul? Put on your detective hat and start learning about yourself. What do like to do? When do you feel most alive and energized? What are you doing when do you lose track of time? Do more of that (and not just after everyone goes to bed) and you’ll be on the path to taking better care of this pillar. 

Wellness and Susie Pettit

Each of the 5 pillars are crucial to our overall state of well being. If we neglect even one pillar for too long, we will suffer. Our suffering shows up as weight gain, general malaise, or aches and pains. If we neglect two pillars, our physical or mental health suffers and we may wonder why we’re always yelling or reactive and even go on an anti-depressant. When we neglect three, your body will reward you by showing you it’s in dis-ease.

This is when we get those auto-immune or cancer diagnoses. I got into coaching because in the middle of ending my high-conflict marriage of 19 years while still trying to be super-mom, I neglected at least 3 of my pillars and ended up in the ER. Even though I was exercising and eating well, my other three other pillars were weak and my body said “Enough”. 

I am passionate about the work I do because I lived in a stressed, busy, strung out way for the first part of my life. I did what others told me to do instead of what brought me joy, took care of others needs before my own, and, well basically lived a life as if I was going for some “Martyr of the Year” award. I now work with women and some men to help them manage their minds so they can take care of their wellness pillars. As a mom it took me a long time to realize that my doing everything for everyone else made me one crazy, strung-out mother. I can help you see how, when you care for yourself, you are actually able to care much better for others. True Story. 

Shift Now: Wellness and Susie Pettit

The time to shift is now. Which of these pillars is not getting the attention it deserves? Do not wait for a diagnosis or an extra prescription. Through conscious living, we can care for ourselves in a way that won’t overly deplete one pillar over the other. 

Start small. Finding Joy In Everyday Life. For less than a latte a day, let me help you live a life that feels magnificently wonderful. 


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