Holistic health and wellness is a term in circulation nowadays. It was in fact, a very popular concept in ancient India and China, where they believed in considering all aspects of health to treat a disease. The practice gradually fell out of favor due to the radical shift in modern medicine.
Nowadays, lifestyle diseases are on the rise due to high stress, exposure to harmful chemicals via pollution, and abundant junk food. Modern medicine can regulate these diseases, but not eradicate them. They can only be fought with the power of holistic health and wellness. Holistic health looks beyond the symptoms of an individual and seeks to heal from the root of the issue. Even conventional medicine has started recognizing the importance of holistic health, increasingly intertwining it in traditional treatment plans.
What Does the Term Holistic Health and Wellness Mean?
The word holistic means of the whole, and wellness means the state of being in good health. Holistic health and wellness refer to the practice of taking into consideration, the body, mind, and spirit when treating an illness. It recognizes them as one interdependent and interconnected unit. When the issues affecting these are treated individually, the overall health of the body improves. Holistic health considers the whole person and how they interact with their environment. Usually, holistic approaches use a combination of nutrition and activities for healing. These activities may include movement, chanting, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, etc.
The basic steps in achieving holistic health include:
- Listing down your health problems
- Finding the root cause through various diagnostic tests
- Eliminating the potential causes with natural methods
- Purifying the body of toxins
- Introducing healthy nutrients in the body to heal and replenish
Levels of Holistic Health and Wellness
There are 3 main levels of holistic health and wellness – Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. Each of these levels encompasses certain elements.
At the primary level, the wellness elements are physical, intellectual, and spiritual. Physical wellness is achieved by exercise, nutritious food at the ideal time, and adequate rest. Intellectual wellness concerns learning capabilities, problem-solving, and nurturing creative skills. Spiritual wellness is accomplished by meditation, self-actualization, and self-awareness.
At the secondary level, the wellness elements are emotional and financial. Emotional wellness involves emotional awareness, understanding, and acceptance of feelings. Financial wellness is accomplished with good earnings, potential savings, and secure investments.
At the tertiary level, the wellness elements are vocational, social, and environmental. Occupational wellness is achieved by leveraging talent, capabilities, responsibilities, and goals. Social wellness is attained by empathetic capacity, social skills, and building trust. Environmental wellness is attained by using green and organic products, undertaking green initiatives, and optimum resource utilization.
The 8 Elements of Holistic Health and Wellness
Let’s look at the 8 elements of holistic health and wellness in detail.
The physical element of holistic health and wellness refers to the body. A healthy body is one that is free from injuries and diseases. Since all the elements are intimately connected, a decline in physical health directly affects other forms of health. Staying physically healthy allows you to carry out your daily activities without undue strain or fatigue.
You can take care of your physical wellness and stay healthy at home by:
- Exercising regularly for at least 10 minutes to combat diseases
- Eating nutritious food like fruits, vegetables and avoiding junk food.
- Eating meals on time and refraining from skipping meals.
- Following intermittent fasting, if suitable.
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water to detoxify the body and maintain its pH.
Intellectual wellness implicates lifelong learning, application of knowledge, and sharing knowledge. Increasing mentally engaging activities helps improve your overall health while simultaneously decreasing your risk of developing mental illnesses. Intellectual wellness boosts your decision-making skills, focus, and memory.
You can take care of your intellectual wellness by:
- Exercising your mind to engage in finding solutions to problems.
- Striving to grow intellectually and remaining curious about your environment.
- Avoiding the use of drugs, excessive drinking, and harmful activities which can interfere with your cognitive skills
- Indulging in healthy discussions through community platforms for knowledge sharing
- Trying out new and creative things or nurturing old hobbies.
Social wellness is about connecting with members of your community to form positive relationships. Having an in-person connection helps you feel interconnected and tethered to the world. It is a powerful tool that can help you experience and respect diverse cultures. Social wellness enables you to adapt to new situations and people with confidence and ease.
You can develop and foster social wellness by:
- Volunteering for community activities and participating in social causes.
- Listing your social needs and reflecting on the values you would like to share and build with your community
- Meeting and networking with new people for career growth
- Treating other people with respect and maintaining healthy boundaries.
- Letting go of relationships that do not serve you any longer.
Emotional wellness means the ability to navigate your feelings. This means identifying, assessing, and effectively sharing those feelings with others. Being emotionally sound makes it easy to identify stressful situations and seek help. Emotionally well people retain positive emotions for a longer time and are comparatively more resilient.
You can cultivate and improve emotional wellness by:
- Journaling regularly to evaluate your experiences and increase self-awareness
- Practicing being present at the moment with gratitude
- Feeling your emotions rather than trying to suppress or deflect them
- Creating a list of those who support you and how best to contact them
- Seeking out a certified therapist or counselor in times of need.
Spirituality is commonly viewed as having a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning in your life. Spiritual wellness refers to building a secure mind and body connection. It is built on the foundation of values, beliefs, faith, and ethics. Spiritual wellness allows you to find your inner peace and tide over life’s challenges.
You can identify the aspects of spiritual wellness and develop them by:
- Spending time alone and reflecting on your thoughts
- Praying, practicing yoga, or meditating either individually or in group guided programs
- Traveling and exploring places to experience natural, geographic, and cultural diversity.
- Participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values.
- Being aware and appreciating the differences in opinions and values
Vocational wellness refers to finding satisfaction in the work that you do. Participating in work that provides personal growth and is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle is important. Vocational wellness is subjective, based on your conditioning.
You can foster vocational wellness and career growth by:
- Increasing your awareness of the career opportunities available to you
- Pivoting towards work opportunities that are personally meaningful and rewarding.
- Maintaining a positive relationship with your colleagues.
- Finding a sustainable balance between work and personal life.
- Creating personal benchmarks to measure work satisfaction and productivity.
- Keeping your workspace clutter-free to inspire creativity and productivity.
Financial wellness is your ability to meet current and future needs using monetary resources. It is measured by your preparedness to handle a financial crisis. It encompasses the ideas of living within your means and making informed financial decisions. Increasing financial wellness also increases your quality of life.
You can make sound decisions for your financial wellness by:
- Setting realistic financial goals and working around them.
- Prioritizing paying off debt.
- Creating an emergency fund.
- Setting aside a fixed amount of money every month as savings
- Preparing for short-term, long-term needs, goals, and emergencies.
- Creating a retirement plan if you’re in your mid 30’s or above
Environmental wellness refers to your interaction and response to the natural world. It is affected by your immediate personal surroundings as well as the larger community in your neighborhood and workplace. Going the extra mile to live an environmentally friendly life and conserve the world’s natural resources, serves you as well as the planet.
You can cultivate and improve environmental wellness by:
- Understanding how your social, natural, and built environments affect your well-being.
- Surrounding yourself with positive people that support you.
- Fostering a culture of respect and gratitude.
- Taking steps on an individual level to mitigate pollution, by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
- Reducing your carbon footprint with conscious consumption.
Keep Exploring Holistic Health and Wellness
A holistic approach towards health is the path to a happy and fulfilling life. It can help you achieve deeper levels of wellness and prevent diseases. You can start by focusing on one pillar at a time and move ahead gradually. Practices like water fasting, juice cleansing, and plant-based eating are good stepping stones to initiate the first pillar i.e. physical wellness. Other pillars can be approached subsequently, to build a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Balance For Life is an active promoter of wellness-oriented lifestyle choices. We offer retreats that help you recharge, refresh, rejuvenate and take control of your body. Begin your journey into holistic health and wellness with us!