Being a current buzzword and trend, we're hearing about holistic health everywhere we turn.
Yet do we really understand how to apply a true holistic approach to our wellbeing? Do we know what it means to care for our mind, body and spirit as a full package?
Most of us are doing the best we can to give our time, energy and money to one piece of the holistic pie. For example, we have a commitment to exercising regularly and eating well (at least applying the 80/20 rule) to take care of our bodies. Yet we're not able to relax and allow the body time to restore so our cortisol levels run high. Or, we submerge ourselves in work or a passion, enjoying the creativity and sense of purpose that feeds our spirit. But often working long, late hours compromises our basic root chakra as we don't manage to get enough sleep.
What Comprises a Holistic Wellbeing?
Typically, we're good at giving our attention to where it comes most naturally, and as we tick the box in one area, it comes as a sacrifice to another. Most people will agree that priority seems to come at the expense of another area of self-care.
And, if we stop and pay attention, our thoughts, feelings and bodies tell us exactly what we're neglecting.
Whether a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual challenge is present in our lives, it becomes a barrier to an experience of wellbeing, blocking the natural flow of energy and vitality. The issue appears as a signal to where we're not connected to that part of self.
A true experience of wellbeing, of feeling and operating at our very best, involves caring for all the parts that make us whole. Sure we can function only satisfying one area, but are we really happy? Fulfilled? Thriving?
Our wellbeing is made up of physical health, emotional nurture, mental stimulation, social health and spiritual wellness. So in order to feel at our very best, we need to follow an approach to life that meets our needs in each area.
How Can You Create a Holistic Wellbeing?
A holistic approach to health and optimal wellness is like an exercise routine; it has to be incorporated into your daily life to reap lasting results. Doing it sporadically, or whenever you're in the mood for it, will not help you achieve a healthy body, in the same way that a holistic practice, such as yoga, qigong or meditation, won't improve your mental health, spiritual growth and emotional wellness if it's only practised during times of boredom.
The best way to start a holistic self-care path and improve your quality of life is to create a personal wellbeing plan. Start by categorizing the different dimensions of wellness, namely physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, and then choose one activity, practice or technique that resonates and will serve you in that area in the most enjoyable and meaningful way to you.
You can list daily 45-minute walks, for instance, under the physical wellness category to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your heart and tone up your physical body. Committing to a 15-minute morning meditation is a great way to nurture your mental wellbeing and spiritual health, while catching up with a close friend once a week promotes emotional health. Start thinking in a creative way. Why, even art, music and sports are effective avenues for enhancing spiritual and emotional growth.
You'll be surprised by the positive impact your new lifestyle can have on the other aspects of your life, which you may perceive as separate from your whole body when they are, in fact, integral to your existence, such as career, financial health and relationships.
Developing a holistic wellbeing may be challenging at first, especially for a lot of people whose healthy lifestyles have only begun recently. Give it time. Choose one thing to start with that doesn't overwhelm your current schedule and commit to that. As you begin to experience how possible it is to create balance in your life, alongside the immediate benefits, you'll naturally feel inclined to find more ways to support yourself in these areas.
The holistic approach to wellbeing involves incorporating a range of self-care practices into our lives that satisfy and support us in all areas.
Once we start to experience the value in caring for all parts of ourselves, we begin to feel more complete, fulfilled, healthier and happier, and uncover a radiance that shines from inside out.