Holistic Health: 7 Aspects That Make It So Important
You may have heard about holistic health as an all-encompassing approach to wellness. It can even be complementary to Western medicine to address health issues and improve quality of life.
While there seems to be a recent newfound appreciation for holistic health, these ideas are far from new. Many holistic health practices including yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and ayurveda have roots going back centuries.
Are you curious about why holistic health is so important and how you can incorporate it into your life? Read on to learn more!
What Is Holistic Health?
As an approach to health and wellness, holistic health considers everything: your mind, body, spirit, and environment.
Holistic healthcare looks at you as a whole person for optimal health, rather than just focusing on a single part. Think of it as a camera pulling back from a closeup. You go from seeing just a small single part to a fuller picture, which may tell a more complete story.
See, a holistic health practitioner acknowledges that we are made up of many interconnected parts, and we are also part of a bigger, interconnected world. When even just one small piece is out of whack, other parts of the system are affected as well. To properly tend to any one single issue, we must examine and tend to all areas of our lives.
Holistic healing differs from many mainstream approaches to medical care and conventional medicine, which often hyperfocus on specific symptoms as isolated to a single part rather than pulling back to examine and address the fuller picture.
To achieve optimal overall wellness, a holistic health approach emphasizes the importance of finding balance in all overlapping areas of our lives for the utmost self-care.
7 Aspects of Holistic Health
While we typically think of health in relation to our physical health, a holistic medicine approach encourages us to be mindful of seven interconnected aspects that can affect our wellbeing: physical, mental, social, emotional, intellectual, vocational, and environmental health.
1. Physical Wellness
Our physical wellness typically gets the most fanfare in the health world. When we are out of balance in some way, physical symptoms often manifest to alert us of the issue, though it may not always be clear what exactly is causing it.
Taking steps to care for your physical wellness can help maintain balance within and boost your overall wellbeing. Tending to your physical wellness can look like this:
Getting Enough Sleep
It is recommended that adults get anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Sleep allows the body to engage in several vital functions such as rebalancing hormones, rebuilding worn-down muscles, recharging neurons, consolidating memories, and bolstering the immune system.
Moving Your Body
Moving your body in a way that feels good for you — be it dancing, walking, running, playing a sport, or stretching — can help increase blood flow, maintain healthy blood pressure, support heart health, and lower stress levels.
Drinking Enough Water
Drinking water is easy to forget, but it is vital to support your cognitive function, energy levels, and digestive health. Fill up a reusable water bottle to help you stay hydrated!
Being mindful of how different foods affect you is another way to boost your physical wellness. Eating nutrient-rich foods that give you energy and make you feel good can help improve overall wellness.
Upgrading Your Personal Care Products
If the ingredients list on your personal care products feels overwhelming, you aren’t alone.
Too many personal care products use harsh chemicals and plastics that can irritate the skin or even throw off our endocrine system (no, thank you).
Building an awareness of our sensitivities, learning more about different ingredients, and seeking out clean ingredients that feel good on your skin and in your body can help.
2. Mental Wellness
Our mental wellness encompasses our cognitive function and the way our brain activity connects to our overall health.
Keeping the mind active and open can help ground you mentally and support your wellness. Some tips to support your mental wellness include:
Challenge Your Brain
Engage in problem-solving activities and learning opportunities to keep your mind sharp. This can look like doing crossword puzzles or logic games or taking a class or lecture on something you find interesting and intellectually stimulating.
Choose Brain-Boosting Foods
Consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 acids, such as berries, leafy greens, and dark chocolate can support your cognitive function.
Pursue Creative Endeavors
Engage the creative side of your brain with creative endeavors you enjoy, be it writing, sketching, knitting, creating a vision board, or even doing projects like making your own candles or soaps!
3. Emotional Wellness
Caring for our emotional health can help us feel balanced, capable, and confident in the day-to-day — not to mention the benefits it has for our nervous systems.
While we don’t often prioritize our emotional health as much as physical and mental health, holding space for our emotions and finding safe ways to process them can help elevate our mood and reduce stress, which will benefit all aspects of our health. Here are some ways to tend to your emotional health:
Talk to Someone
Seeking out support systems is so valuable. Speaking to a therapist or even a trusted friend or family member can be a powerful way to help navigate and process tricky emotions.
Mindfulness is a state of being that helps you stay in the present moment and build awareness without judgment. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to increase oxygen flow, lower stress, reduce tension, and even shift the brain into alpha wave mode, promoting calmness and creativity.
Taking a meditation class or downloading a meditation app can help you further explore mindfulness practices.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
For many of us, it’s easy to focus on the negative and lose sight of the good, but this way of thinking actually takes a toll on our wellbeing. Keeping a gratitude journal and jotting down things you are thankful for each day can help you be more intentional in your mindset.
Naming gratitude can nourish our hearts — metaphorically and literally. Research has found that keeping gratitude can help us feel happier, improve sleeping habits, and may even lower the risks of chronic diseases like heart disease.
4. Social Wellness
Just as our bodies are made up of smaller, interdependent parts, we are also parts of a larger, interdependent community.
Building connections with others and engaging with a community can help fulfill us emotionally, keeping us happy and bettering our overall health. You can care for your social wellness by:
Making Time for Friends and Family
Sometimes it can feel like we are too busy to prioritize personal connections, but letting them fall completely to the wayside can affect our wellbeing. Finding time for a lunch date, walk, or even a phone call with those you care about can help you feel balanced, happy, and connected.
Plug In to Your Community
Volunteering or joining groups or organizations where you can connect with others who share your interests and passions can help boost your social wellness.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Your social wellness should help nourish your emotional and mental wellness, not harm it. If you find that some relationships in your life are regularly depleting your energy or causing negative feelings, setting boundaries is a healthy way to care for your overall wellbeing.
5. Spiritual Wellness
Your spiritual wellness is all about connecting more deeply with your inner self and with the world around you, and it is one main facet of alternative medicine. For some, spiritual wellness involves praying or connecting with religion, while for others, it involves finding peace in connection with nature or your core values.
How you engage with your spiritual wellness is a deeply personal choice, and there is no wrong answer.
Some examples of what spiritual wellness can look like include:
Taking Time in Nature
Walking or sitting in nature and noticing all the different forms of life and how we all interact can help you feel more connected to the larger world.
Deep Breathing and Grounding Exercises
Especially when you are feeling overwhelmed, grounding yourself in your environment can help provide a sense of inner peace.
Making Time for Relaxation
Practicing meditation, yoga, or other calming activities can nourish your spirit and help you feel more centered.
6. Vocational Wellness
Filling your time with activities that you find meaningful can help nourish your spirit and enrich your life. Whether you do this as part of your job or outside of work is up to you, and both are completely valid ways to help find fulfillment and contentment in your day-to-day life.
Follow Your Passions
Engaging in work or activities that you find challenging, exciting, and meaningful can help bring joy into your life, supporting your overall wellness.
7. Environmental Wellness
Lastly, we have environmental wellness. The health of our planet impacts our own personal health in large and small ways. By becoming more aware of how our actions impact the world around us and taking small steps to care for the environment in our daily lives, we are benefiting our own health and that of generations to come.
Here are some ways to connect more deeply and sustainably with the environment:
Gardening can be a soothing way to connect deeply with your natural environment surroundings. Plants can help absorb toxins from the air while growing food supports sustainable agriculture. Not to mention, gardening can reduce stress and nervousness, increase blood circulation, and even improve memory function.
Create Sustainable Habits
Whether reducing your use of single-use plastics or starting a compost bin, the small changes add up and can help you feel more fulfilled and emotionally balanced in your daily life.
Switching to Waste-Free Personal Care Products
Swapping out plastic and chemical-filled personal care products for ones that are made more sustainably can help reduce harmful toxins from entering our atmosphere, waterways, and even our own bodies.
What Are the Benefits of a Holistic Wellness Approach?
Nothing exists in a vacuum, and what affects one area of our lives will naturally spill over and affect other parts of our well-being as well.
With a holistic approach, you build an awareness of different aspects of wellness — and tending to each one in harmony. This can help you better understand the ways each aspect intersects for you personally, and guide you in making informed lifestyle changes that address the root of an issue rather than just the symptoms.
Forming holistic practices and choosing modalities that feel right for you can help you feel more confident, positive, and centered and can even help alleviate chronic discomfort as you become more in tune with your body and the world around you.
Incorporating Bite Into Your Holistic Health Journey
At Bite, we want to make it easy for you to take control of your own health and make choices that nourish your overall wellbeing. We also believe that our well-being is intrinsically connected to that of the environment. Caring for one cannot come at the cost of the other.
That is why we create sustainable, plastic-free, and cruelty-free personal care products made with clean ingredients that are good for your body, soothing to use, and gentle on the planet.
Thinking about all aspects of our wellness at once may feel overwhelming, but even small changes can have a big impact. By reading this article, you’ve taken an intentional step to learn more about how to care for your overall well-being, which is something to be proud of!