Word of Mouth - Lee Tan

Lee Tan Founder of Well + Being, Pharmacist, and Prekure Mental Wellbeing Coach

How do you manage your health & fitness with demanding work commitments?

I have been a community pharmacist for 30 years and have owned and built multiple businesses. It took years to fine-tune my wellbeing and I used to operate out of the fight or flight mode due to the dynamic healthcare environment. Somehow, I have always gravitated to the wellness realm of healthcare.

I once described myself as selfish to my business-coach and she reframed this to say I excel at “self-management”. I practice real self-care as many rely on me and I need to pour from a full cup. I believe my health is my responsibility and prioritise the Five Pillars of Wellbeing: Movement, Nutrition, Sleep, Mindfulness and Community. Having said that, there’s always room for improvement and I’m currently focusing on resistance training to strengthen my muscles and bones post-menopause. 

Prevention is better than cure; how can we prevent mental and physical disorders in our busy lives?

We can do this by looking after our Physical Beings: move for 30 minutes a day, sleep for eight hours a day, and eat non-processed and plant-based foods. It’s important we look after our Mental Beings: using meditation and mindfulness - be curious and accept your thoughts and be self-compassionate. We also need to look after our Emotional Beings: pause, breathe deeply multiple times a day and connect to self; feel the emotions and do not block them out.

How would you define holistic health?

Balancing the Five Pillars of Wellbeing and you are the expert of you - no one else is, and remember to look after your BEINGS - Physical, Mental and Emotional.

What is your definition of a flourishing life?

Ikigai, a Japanese concept that translates to a reason for being or purpose. And to have a long healthspan – which is different to lifespan, and to be supported by family and friends. 

How would you describe your wellbeing habits?

I love bio-optimising my health and want to share with Dunedin the benefits of Hot (IR sauna); Cold (ice bath); Red (LED light) and Float (salt) Therapies.  

I’m fortunate to have a sauna at home and will sweat at least three times a week. It mimics exercise as it increases the heart rate, so I lift weights in the sauna to habit stack. (Habit stacking increases the likelihood that you'll stick with a habit by stacking your new behaviour on top of an old one. The habit stack formula is: after or before (current habit) I will (new habit. Ed).

I finish my hot showers with a blast of cold - 30 seconds is all you need! And using red light every day if I can to increase melatonin and reduce inflammation.

I have been plant-based for more than 30 years and fast for at least 13 hours per day, sometimes for 18 hours, and pay close attention to my insulin levels. Everyone should, as high levels cause inflammation, thereby causing lifestyle diseases like high cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease etc. Eat plants and high-fibre foods first, then fat and protein, and lastly carbohydrates to reduce the spike in glucose and insulin levels.