What holistic health is and why it matters I've found makes a difference to the quality of life I have and for that matter the positive impact I can have on others too. Holistic health is even a contributing reason to creating the Live Well Health Essentials brand as I feel it's important to look at all ways we can treat our body to achieve a healthier, happier life.
The idea of ‘being healthy’ can be measured in many ways and often concludes in a variety of numbers, specifics and scientific diagnoses that sometimes don't provide an individual with the entire picture of what a healthy body, mind and spirit look like. Holistic health brings together all the variables rather than focusing on one thing and that's why I like it.
While western medicine has brought incredible benefits and life saving advancements, it typically looks at the body in sections and singular symptoms rather than an individual's entire system as a whole.
A ‘holistic’ approach to your health enables you to consider alternative treatments, complementary health care and to achieve optimal wellness in all areas (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social) you have to see the entire body system for what it is as a whole.
What is Holistic Health?
So what is holistic health and why is it important?
Holistic health is defined as a form of healing that looks at an entire person: mind, spirit and body. These processes often involve multiple forms of complementary healthcare, medicines and alternatives which may overlap with modern day medicine but will stretch beyond the singular symptoms and support more than just the physical being.
The 360 Approach
Practicing holistic healthcare is a 360 approach. It's looking beyond the surface level of physical maintenance and peering into all aspects of your life physically, emotionally, socially, mentally and spiritually to notice areas of concern and improvement. When you take a step back and view your body as a whole rather than separate areas, it enables you to live each day in the happiest, healthiest and most beneficial way - as we find when a particular area is in stress, it is more often than not that other areas have been impacted too. Of course we recommend always consulting with a professional for any health and medical advice.
It has been proven that the happiest people are ones who allow themselves to form genuine and deep connections with the people around them. While we know this isn’t everyone's cup of tea, connecting with friends, family or even local communities can help improve an individual's social wellness.
Thanks to technology a social life can be a blend of in person and virtual opportunities:
- Group Activities: Getting involved in local events: this could be through a sports team, church, even your kids school, participating in local community activities is one of the best ways to support your overall social health and happiness (even if this means stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then)
- It's a Date: Keep in touch with your friends: whether this be catching up for a coffee, swim or walk - even simply a phone call, keeping regular contact with your friends is super important.
- Boundaries: now I know this goes against what we said before, but recognising and being aware of your social boundaries plays a massive role in protecting your social well being. Setting boundaries with the people in your life that can cause added stress or toxic energy will help keep you in a safe and positive mindset. Do not be afraid to say no to social situations if you believe it might negatively affect your health.
- Virtual Chats: now these have come to prominence globally as various lockdowns have been implemented to varying degrees since 2020, but the reality is technology and virtual chats can be used ongoing for a variety of reasons. These include keeping in touch with friends interstate or overseas, time poor and unable to catch up in person.
The idea of spiritual wellness has definitely become more mainstream and accepted in recent years. There is often confusion with religious beliefs and while these two ideas do overlap occasionally, spiritual well being focuses more on the connection between your soul and the world around you. Spiritual practices can be temporary and one off activities however best results are seen when consistency is applied.
Inviting spirituality into your lifestyle is a new concept for many of us, so to make it easier we have thought of some small inclusions you can begin to introduce in order to strengthen that connection with your well-being:
- Meditation: quite possibly the most popular ‘spiritual’ approach and arguably the easiest… it’s just sitting still right? Wrong, sitting still and clearing the mind is something that takes a lot of practice. Try starting each day meditating for a minute and gradually build from there when you become comfortable with it. This allows you to start your day from a place of calmness, peace and centred gravity.
- Gratitude: Bringing gratitude and thankfulness into your everyday routine can be a game changer. I am a strong believer that the more positivity you present to the universe, the bigger return you will get. This goes for everything in your life, even the small things. Some simple ways you can begin doing this is: journaling, being mindful of what you are grateful for and reminding yourself of this.
Our mental health matters. It affects how we think, feel, and act with life situations. It's also a factor in how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and ageing.
It's important to note that mental health can be impacted by a number of things including: biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry, life experiences, such as trauma or abuse, family history of mental health problems and lifestyle, such as diet, physical activity, and substance use.
If you are struggling regarding mental health, what I recommend is to contact one of the many resources available to assist. You can speak to your GP or contact one of the following:
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
Physical Health has great benefits for the body and even for the mind too as exercise releases endorphins. Great ways to simply get more movement in your day include:
- Moving your body: this is one of my favourites especially for those days that are busy at work. If I can't get a 30 minute walk in or get to visit the gym, I focus on being able to park the car just that bit further away when out and about so I get a 5 minute walk in instead of a 2 minute walk in. With several stops and errands in a day these minutes add up!
- Sleep: another important factor in achieving physical health is getting enough sleep per night. Healthy guidelines recommend 8 hours sleep a night for adults. Giving yourself the ability and amount of time to rest helps you to be healthier.
- Eat: The cliched saying 'you are what you eat' sticks in my head. I like the healthier approach to life, so rather than being too strict on eating habits, what helps me (and could help you too) is to consider the 'healthier' approach. It's not about cutting out treat foods, but rather look for and have healthier versions of your favourite foods. I figure if I eat healthier, I am healthier.
In the spirit of being healthier, here's my go to salad for summer time: