Holistic health gave me my life back. That may sound like a pretty strong statement, but it’s one I don’t take lightly. There’s been an increased interest in holistic health over the past few years. Some of what you’ve heard may be outright bizarre or a little extreme. Just like with any other sub-culture or topic you find on the inter-workings of the web there’s always the good, the bad and the strange. In this post we’ll dive into how holistic health is defined and how you can safely incorporate a holistic approach to wellness into your daily life.
Before we go any further it’s vital you understand that holistic health should never replace modern medicine in time of emergency or severe illness. A holistic approach should always be used in conjunction with any medicine or treatment from your physician. It’s important to speak with your healthcare provider prior to starting any natural or holistic approach.
HOLISTIC AS A ‘WHOLE’
In holistic health and wellness we take a look at the person as a whole. Instead of looking at only the physical or mental health we look to eight areas of wellness within one’s life. The eight areas of focus are physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, social, intellectual, financial, and professional. Wellness in all eight areas generally relates to overall health. Of course there are always genetic and hereditary contributing factors in illness, but the goal of holistic health is to be as proactive in all areas of life to decrease these risks.
When one area is unwell you open up room for a higher risk of illness or disease. I’ll throw myself under the bus for the sake of an example. I have struggled with mental illness for most of my life. Since it runs in my family the risk was always there for me. Prior to my knowledge of holistic health I couldn’t figure out why none of my medication would help me get better. I now know that when I’m eating too much sugar or preservatives and not getting adequate nutrition as a whole I’m going to have a relapse in my mental health. If I’m not getting enough physical activity I’m going to have a relapse. I know you hear people go on about diet and exercise all the time, but it’s honestly much deeper than that. If your relationships at work or home are stressful (maybe you aren’t setting boundaries) this causes stress in the entire body. It won’t only effect your mind it will eventually effect your immune system due to increased levels of stress hormones.
BEING PROAVTIVE IS THE KEY
Holistic wellness is a proactive approach to your health. Most of us are very reactive when it comes to our health. Unfortunately we don’t stop to think of how our everyday choices are effecting us until an illness or disease arises. At this point you are working backwards to try and amp up your body for a fight it may not be prepared for. While holistic health approaches may not keep you from becoming ill, they can help prepare your body to heal faster and more efficiently.
HOW YOU CAN INCORPORATE HOLISTIC HEALTH INTO YOUR LIFE
Living a holistic lifestyle is relatively easy with a bit of willpower and consistency. Your diet is a good place to start. Choose to cook more meals at home and minimize your use of heavily processed foods. Drink more water and incorporate a regimen of herbs and supplements. Try to get outside for fresh air and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Remember exercise looks different for everyone, so do something that you enjoy. Begin a quick morning meditation practice to start your day off calm.
Try to take an objective look at your life right now. What areas could use some improvement? What areas are you unhappy with currently? When starting a holistic journey you’ll be faced with some hard truths, but it’s important to never judge yourself. Simply observe your current circumstances and create a plan of action. If you’re not sure where to begin on your own there are so many professionals who can help. An integrative physician, nutritionist or wellness coach are great professionals to help you begin your journey to a happy holistic life.