1. What is Holistic Health and Wellbeing?
Holistic wellbeing is a concept that focuses on integrating various aspects of physical, mental, and emotional health to achieve overall wellbeing. In today's fast-paced world, it is essential to take a step back and invest time in ourselves to achieve balance in all areas of life.
Holistic wellbeing is not merely the absence of disease and illness but a comprehensive approach to health that goes beyond physical health, encompassing aspects of emotional, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing and focusing on the whole person.
There is no doubt that the mind and body are one system; think about the last time you got physical symptoms such as butterflies in your stomach due to anticipating something good or bad, like a first date or an important test.
2. The Benefits of a Holistic Approach
Numerous studies have shown the positive impact of a holistic approach to health on overall wellbeing. Holistic health and wellbeing bring a multitude of benefits. By striving to achieve balance in all areas of life, we can experience reduced stress levels, better quality sleep, improved digestion and a more robust immune system.
In addition to these physical benefits, a holistic approach to health can help us achieve emotional and spiritual balance, leading to greater feelings of fulfilment, happiness, and contentment with our lives.
3. How Can You Adopt A Holistic Approach?
A holistic approach to health and wellness can offer tremendous benefits. It aims to treat the root cause of any symptoms rather than masking them with medication. It encompasses your physical health, emotional wellbeing, and mental state, allowing you to enjoy holistic wellness.
4. So, Where Do I Start?
i) A Whole Person Approach
Achieving optimal holistic wellbeing requires a balanced approach to physical, mental, and emotional health. By identifying areas that need improvement and incorporating natural methods to enhance wellbeing, you can experience a more fulfilling and healthy life.
ii) Start with a plan to incorporate these practices into your daily life
Creating a plan to integrate holistic practices into your everyday life can be a game-changer in achieving optimal wellbeing.
The benefits of holistic health practices are well-documented, and by taking small, intentional steps, you can experience significant improvements in physical, emotional, and mental health.
As well as making sure you maximise your opportunities to succeed, a plan will also help you to regain control of your life
iii) Take back control
Lack of control is a common issue and harms overall wellbeing. It can sap your confidence and self-belief and leave you feeling overwhelmed with work or personal responsibilities or experiencing a lack of control over one's emotions or thoughts.
Research has shown that feeling a lack of control can negatively affect physical health, such as raised heart rate, high blood pressure, elevated levels of stress hormones, and even compromised immune function.
It's important to note that while external factors contribute to a sense of lack of control, there are also internal factors at play. For example, negative self-talk and limiting beliefs can create a self-fulfilling cycle of feeling out of control.
To create a plan, take some time to reflect on your life. Think honestly about where you are right now and what an ideal future would look like. Then think about the gap and what concrete steps you can take to improve your holistic wellness.
iv) Move about a bit
Physical activity releases endorphins, which stimulate feelings of pleasure and happiness. One of the most effective ways is through regular exercise, strengthening your muscles, bones, and joints, improving physical strength and flexibility.
You can join a gym to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, or try simple activities like taking a brisk walk or jog, hiking, cycling, swimming or engaging in yoga or Pilates sessions.
Alternatively, research has shown that dancing can improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle tone and flexibility, and even help with weight management. Dancing burns more calories than other forms of exercise, like cycling or walking.
But, the benefits of dance go beyond just physical health. Dancing can also help reduce stress and anxiety, improve balance and coordination, and boost self-esteem and confidence. Because dance is a form of self-expression that allows individuals to tap into their emotions and release any pent-up feelings.
You can start by taking a dance class or joining a local dance club or group to incorporate dance into your daily routine. You can also try dancing at home by following along with videos or creating your own dance routine. The key is to find a style of dance that you enjoy and that challenges you physically and mentally.
Whatever you do, keep moving!
v) Mind the diet
Eating a balanced diet provides essential nutrients and can improve overall wellbeing. Opt for unprocessed, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains when planning your meals.
Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. They tend to be high in calories, have low nutritional value, and cause harm to our physical health, leading to excessive weight gain and a range of health problems.
We can improve our overall health and wellbeing by choosing whole, unprocessed foods. Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, while lean meats and whole grains provide essential sources of protein and carbohydrates. These foods can also help stabilise our blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes and other harmful effects.
A balanced diet can have long-lasting benefits for our health. Regularly consuming whole, unprocessed foods can ward off chronic diseases like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. And as we age, a healthy diet can also help prevent cognitive decline and other age-related health issues.
So next time you're deciding what to eat, remember that processed foods and sugary drinks may seem like a quick and convenient option, but they have serious health consequences. Instead, fill your plate with whole, nutritious foods that nourish and sustain your body long-term.
vi) Mind over Matter
Meditation and mindfulness techniques reduce stress and anxiety levels and increase feelings of calm and control. By focusing on the present moment and developing a non-judgmental attitude towards thoughts and emotions, individuals can create greater self-awareness and management over their reactions to external stimuli.
Another effective technique for regaining a sense of control is through the practice of journaling. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can give you a greater understanding of your inner world and identify areas that require attention and improvement. Additionally, journaling can help you develop a more positive mindset and cultivate a sense of gratitude for the things that are going well in your life.
More general reading and writing can also have a positive impact on mental health. Reading can provide an escape from reality and reduce stress levels, while writing can serve as a form of catharsis and help individuals process and work through difficult emotions.
Therefore, incorporating reading and writing into your daily routine can be a simple yet effective way to improve overall wellbeing. Try setting aside some time each day to read a book or article, or to write in a journal or even a blog. You might be surprised at how much of a positive impact it can have on your life.
vii) Sleeping on the job
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is essential, ensuring you are getting enough restful sleep. Lack of sleep negatively impacts mental health, memory, and overall health. Sleep is vital in allowing us to rest and rejuvenate our minds and bodies, leading to better physical and emotional wellbeing.
viii) Get a pet (or access to one)
Pets can be valuable companions that contribute positively to holistic health. Research has shown that owning a pet can have numerous physical and psychological benefits, such as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increased levels of exercise, and improved mental health.
Pets give unlimited and unconditional love, companionship, and purpose., and can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially for those who live alone or are socially isolated.
Think about getting a pet or volunteering at your local rescue centre.
ix) Laughter is the best recipe
Laughter is a powerful weapon when it comes to improving holistic wellbeing. Laughter has several physical and mental health benefits, making it an essential tool to include in your holistic health plan.
Laughter has physical benefits. When we laugh, our body releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers, meaning laughter can be an effective form of pain relief for those suffering from chronic pain conditions. Laughter also boosts our immune system by increasing the production of antibodies that fight off infections.
Laughter has mental health benefits. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by releasing tension and improving our mood, leading to higher satisfaction and happiness in our daily lives. Laughter also helps us to connect with others, fostering a sense of community and improving our social relationships.
Incorporating laughter into your daily routine can be as simple as watching a funny movie or TV show or spending time with friends who make you laugh.
In conclusion, a holistic approach to wellbeing requires a balancing act in all areas of life, including:
- incorporating regular physical activity,
- opting for whole foods when planning meals;
- cultivating mindfulness practices; and,
- establishing a consistent sleep routine.
These, along with the suggestions above will provide effective methods for achieving optimal holistic health.
By making small, intentional changes to your daily routine, you can experience lasting mental, emotional, and physical benefits.
All the best