Holistic… it’s a popular buzzword, and if you tend to read anything geared towards natural health, whole foods or alternative healthcare, it’s probably a word you see thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean? It’s attached to all sorts of subjects, without many clear explanations about what it entails or why it’s important. I’m hoping to help in that regard.
In general, a holistic lifestyle means that one takes a whole body approach to overall health and wellness. It is an over-arching mindset that the body, mind, spirit, and emotions are interdependent systems, and that if there is an imbalance in one, it can manifest as issues in another and/or issues in overall health. People with this mindset have typically made a conscious choice to live their life – and heal issues that may arise – using natural means, whenever possible. It also means that there is an intentional effort to observe everything as a whole; your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health all hold equal importance.
Typically those who embrace a holistic lifestyle make good nutrition and clean diets a huge priority, and tend to view food as medicine. When an issue arises, alternative means of healthcare tend to be sought out before mainstream alopathic care. Herbalism, homeopathy, essential oils, chiropractic care, chinese medicine and ayurveda are just a few examples of the plethora of options out there for those that seek them out. These varying modalities tend to become primary means of treatment because of the belief that you should seek out the root cause of the issue, and assist your body in healing instead of fighting your body and masking symptoms with traditional pharmaceuticals.
Exercise is hugely important to those living a holistic lifestyle. Not only are there the obvious superficial benefits to being fit, but there tends to be an emphasis on activities that encourage circulation, lymph system function, mindfulness and being in tune with your physical body. Yoga and pilates tend to be popular choices, but many other active options obviously exist.
Mind, spirit and emotion tend to be very much intertwined, so intentional activities related to these are oftentimes similar and overlapping. Religious practice, meditation, coaching and counseling/therapy are popular ways that many choose to attend to these body systems and their needs. That being said, there really doesn’t need to be anything so formal. Making healthy relationships a priority in your daily life can be – and often is – enough to satisfy the needs in this area. Coffee with your best friend or a diner date with your spouse can go a long way to satisfying your soul! Hobbies that you enjoy also fit in here, as anyone who enjoys gardening, crafts of varying kinds, or playing/enjoying music can attest. In addition, feeding your intelligent mind is a common need of many, so research, reading, learning a trade or skill and just general perpetual learning and growth are common pleasures. My personal observation is that those who put an emphasis on this type of lifestyle tend to have an entrepreneurial bent to them, and enjoy careers or hobbies that enable them to live more intentionally.
In summary, holistic lifestyles emphasize the whole of who you are. It means respect for yourself, your body, your mind. It means appreciating the cycle of life around you. It means putting positive relationships and life situations as a priority. It means fostering perpetual personal growth – in ALL areas. Most of all, there is an attention and reverence for peace and wellness.
What about you – tell me what Holistic Living means to you. Tell me which areas hold the most importance to you, and how you nurture them. What questions do you have? What are your goals to improve?