The 3-2-1 method might be the lowest effort way to improve your wellbeing
This is a simple place to start if you feel too overwhelmed to look after your health.
Looking after our health can look like early morning alarms, strict bedtime routines, expensive supplements, organic ingredients, expensive gym passes and boutique classes. But those things are not the only way to be well.
Sometimes, we only have the time and energy for low-effort self-care. And when those days strike, there’s a concept you can lean on. Known as the 3-2-1 method, it simply involves:
- Trying to remember to eat three meals a day
Enjoying two snacks
- Doing one thing for your body
The method comes from dietitian Clara Nosek, who shared a reel on her Instagram page to detail the “easy wellness hack”.
“Ever have a day where you simply cannot? Well, same,” she writes. Adding that on those days you can do your “low-medium best” with this 3-2-1 method.
Explaining why this template is a good place to start for health, Nosek tells Stylist: “Bare bones – we need to eat. Working with your own body and with a dietitian to find what eating pattern works for you is advised, but if that’s not accessible then three meals and two snacks acts as a good starting point for most people.”
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Of course, some people need more fuel and others will need less. This isn’t a set point for food consumption by any means, but breakfast, lunch and dinner are simple nutrition guidelines that many of us overlook because of busy schedules (haven’t you ever skipped a meal in the middle of your day because that work meeting was just too important?). This is about taking time for you and your nutrition and, as Nosek suggests, you can simply start here and adapt your meal schedule when you feel more in tune with your body.
Speaking of – that one thing you do for your body should help you listen to its needs. Nosek says it could be chair Zumba, a walk with a friend, a CrossFit workout or simply going to bed early. That one thing isn’t just about how you move your body, but about taking a moment to listen to it before deciding what to do.
“For as long as I can remember, we have been told to ignore our bodily cues – to work harder, hustle more and not take rest days. I want to promote body attunement and reconnection, so it’s up to you to decide what that one special thing you do with your body is,” Nosek says.
It’s a world away from other ‘wellness’ ideas that attempt to re-set your health with complicated tasks or things that feel uncomfortable.
That’s the precise reason Nosek uses it, saying: “We tend to overcomplicate basic tasks. There’s a societal and self-imposed pressure towards productivity and optimisation. But when there is a lack of time, money, energy and motivation, the things we have access to and want to do are often in conflict with the things society tells us we should be doing.”
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That leads to a cycle of shame and guilt, “two things which are terrible motivators,” she says. Instead, something simple and straightforward, with low risk and a high success rate, can be used as a buoy to get you to your next health goal.
“Over time, eating regularly and checking in with yourself becomes a habit – and from there the possibilities are endless,” says Nosek. If you’re in a well-being rut or feel like improving your health is completely unachievable, start with this small list of six things and see where it takes you.
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