It sounds nice, doesn’t it? A whole-body approach to wellness.
Your body, after all, is not just a sum of its parts, but rather a collaboration among all aspects of your health.
It may be common to treat each of these pillars individually, but don’t you feel so much better when all aspects of your health are accounted for?
This is the approach that holistic health takes. It is the recognition that one aspect of health cannot exist without the other, and that you should treat your body as such.
If you lead an active lifestyle, but are wildly out of touch with your emotions, are you really healthy?
If you go to therapy and journal five days a week, but have constant gut issues due to an unbalanced diet, are you really healthy?
The answer, in my opinion, is no. The concept of holistic health is an effort to strike a balance across all fronts - a balance that allows you to live a happy life, pursue your passions, and contribute to society.
Holistic health is both a practice and a mindset. Here’s how you can can incorporate it into your own life:
Check in with yourself regularly
Before you start implementing positive changes, it’s important to know where you’re at.
Take some time with a pen and paper to assess your health across each of the eight dimensions; I've even put together a mental health checklist for you to utilize.
Be honest with yourself as you consider each of the following:
After completing the checklist, take a look at the categories where there’s opportunity for improvement. I strongly recommend completing these check-ins on a regular basis so that you can chart your progress!
Set Goals for Yourself
When it comes to holistic health, everyone has different strengths as a result of their priorities, life circumstances, etc. After identifying the areas that you want to focus on improving, set a few goals to really kick start the process.
One thing I want you to focus on, however, is setting process goals rather than product goals. Here’s the difference:
Process goal: Intended for long-term changes and developing habits, focused on the journey rather than a specific destination
Product goal: Set for a short-term outcome, or “project oriented” with an endpoint in mind
While any type of goal can provide motivation, process goals are much more effective at inciting a change in lifestyle. They also allow room for failure, resiliency, and ongoing personal growth.
Let’s look at a few examples of process goals:
Physical: I will turn off my phone 30 minutes before I go to bed in order to get better sleep
Mental: Each morning I will make a list of five things that I am grateful for.
Emotional: I will meet a friend for lunch at least once every week.
As you can see, there’s no real end date to the above goals, and honestly no way to officially check off that you’ve achieved them other than on a day by day basis. In my opinion, the success of process goals is accomplished when the action becomes a habit. At that point, it is second nature to take those extra steps to care for your health and wellness.
As you make positive steps towards improving your holistic health, it is important to recognize your progress.
Accomplishments, however small, are worth celebrating. This recognition will even serve as motivation to keep moving forwards!
Incorporating mindfulness and gratitude into your daily life will work wonders for all aspects of your health. To implement on a daily basis, follow these steps by writing in a journal, or simply thinking to yourself:
Notice your surroundings through all five senses
Savor and absorb the good things that happen throughout your day
Express gratitude towards others
In difficult circumstances, positivity is easier said than done. But it’s all about the process - challenges will come your way, and success will be found in the way you choose to face them!
When one aspect of your health is out of wack, the others suffer as well. To live your happiest, healthiest life, you must commit to finding balance. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it!
Make sure to download and complete the holistic health checklist I've linked below, and come back to checkout our holistic health series as we dive more into each of the eight dimensions over the next two months.