"Holistic" – the popular buzzword you may be seeing around the internet or hearing your crunchy friend rave about over their organic kombucha (hi, it's me).
But what does it actually mean?
With the help of our good friend, Oxford, let's quickly define it:
PHILOSOPHY characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
MEDICINE characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.
Taking these same principles and applying them to the world of health and wellness, we get:
Holistic Wellness is a comprehensive, root-caused-based approach to health and healing that honors the intricate connection between the physical, mental and soulful self. It aims to improve several CORE aspects of one's life to help achieve optimal whole-body wellness.
Check out the "Holistic Wellness Wheel" above for my take on the foundations of holistic wellness and read on to review the importance of each + tips you can use to help acheive them!
Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night keeps the body and mind regulated, mood stable, and nutrient stores level. Sleep quality & duration can be improved by dimming the lights an hour before bedtime, taking magnesium glycinate 30 minutes prior to laying down, or trying an herbal nightcap like passionflower tea.
Regularly eating a diet rich in whole foods is crucial for ensuring we get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to keep the body in balance and running smoothly. Aiming to include 5-7 servings of fruit/veggies per day, eating 20-35 grams of quality protein with every meal, and cooking with healthy fats like grass-fed butter or ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil can help.
Spending at least 20-30 minutes per day in nature is associated with health benefits such as reducing stress hormones, muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate. In fact, studies show that even keeping indoor houseplants positively impacts our physiological & cognitive health.
Getting in movement through moderate exercise 3+ days a week benefits whole-body wellness by improving circulation, heart health, bone & joint health, muscle strength, blood sugar balance and more. It also enhances our mental state by increasing neurotransmitter production for an overall better mood.
Becoming more aware of environmental toxins and doing what we can to reduce exposure to them is important in defending our body systems, hormone balance & nutrient status. Things like filtering drinking water, purifying indoor air, eating organic food when possible, using naturally derived beauty/household products, and eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods help offer the body protection.
Maintaining an overall positive mental state is linked to an improved physical state, with research showing benefits like lowered blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, better-balanced blood sugar, healthier weight, and a longer life expectancy. Having a positive outlook is also crucial for a healthy stress response, acting as one of our best defenses against daily stressors.
As humans, we require deep-rooted connection and social support to prevent declines in both our mental & physical health. Without it, things like lower immune function and higher rates of depression and anxiety can occur. In fact, loneliness itself is found to be associated with poor health behaviors, a heightened stress response, and inadequate physiological repair.
Holistic spirituality plays an important role in self-realization, with a
goal of providing clarity, purpose, and a deeper understanding of our innermost needs. Examples can include meditation, prayer, connecting with nature, expressing gratitude, or confiding in a higher power you believe in.
Addressing the ENTIRE SELF as a whole can feel like a daunting task. So, as always, my advice is to simply take things one step at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Remember, even the most drastic of beneficial changes are made in small, manageable baby steps that you can easily sustain for a lifetime!
Need help with this? Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!