When someone asks you “how are you doing?” why is it that we always answer with “good ” so quickly? Almost as if by default.
So, is this true? Are you really good?
That seems to be the first thing people say, maybe because that’s easier than getting into how we really feel —why is that?
If we are dissatisfied with parts of our lives how do we go about making them better?
Well, we take an all-encompassing approach, looking at parts of our lives and reflecting on what we appreciate about them but also some ideas about how we’d like to make them better.
So what does a holistic approach to wellness look like?
What Does Holistic Wellness Mean ?
Holistic wellness is the practice of treating the body, mind, and spirit in conjunction with each other.
Holistic describes an approach to life as an integrated whole rather than a focus on a particular illness or problem. On the other hand, wellness is defined as freedom from dis-ease. Some even describe wellness as an active and continuous pursuit of personal growth. Holistic wellness helps you to achieve your optimal state so you can always live in your best life.
A holistic approach to wellness asks people to take care of themselves and manage their lifestyle as a means of healing.
Why is holistic wellness important?
When one part of our life is amiss it affects all the other aspects, that’s why taking a holistic approach to your wellness is important.
For example, when someone encounters dis-ease in the mind, let’s say in the experience of anxiety, the body also encounters sensations of a tight chest, a fast-paced heartbeat, overthinking and clouded thoughts, and even sometimes a rush of adrenaline. That’s because our emotions can elicit a response from our bodies and can affect our minds and behavior, any of these “parts” contribute to the well-being of the entirety of your being.
By looking at the mind, body, spirit, and your emotions as parts of you to be integrated as a healthy whole instead of treating them separately, this allows them to function together as a system better.
When we approach our wellness holistically, we connect the part(s) to the whole.
What are the 8 pillars of holistic wellness?
There are about 8 aspects of holistic wellness, each plays a role in how we are fully satisfied with the state of our lives:
- Physical wellness
- Financial wellness
- Occupational wellness
- Recreational wellness
- Social wellness
- Spiritual wellness
- Mental wellness
- Environmental wellness
Physical wellness relates to the importance of physical movement, hydration, nutrition, sleep, rest, and energy levels. Moving our bodies is an important part of our daily lives, not only for the physical benefits of strength, stability, mobility, balance, and coordination. Movement also helps with learning, concentration, and mental well-being. Movement is empowering and boosts energy.
When you move your body you learn its limits and often find yourself doing things you never thought you could. you don’t need a gym to get your body moving either. Something as simple as walking and stretching daily could do wonders.
Just like the things you do with your body, the things you put in your body are also important. When you eat food that is best for you, you experience healing in every part of your body. Your gut also plays an important role in your immune and mental health, so keeping it healthy and regulated is a big part of your nutrition. It is also important to consume things that add energy to your body. Food is your body’s fuel, and it is converted into energy that your body’s cells use to generate and maintain the biological order that keeps you alive. With this in mind, this also means everything you consume affects your body at the cellular level (potentially).
Another way your body creates energy is through sleep. Not getting enough sleep consistently can take a toll on our physical and mental health.
Financial wellness describes the ability to manage your financial responsibilities, income, budgeting, trusts, savings, and investments. Financial wellness also enables the ability to have stability and to be charitable with others. This is an important aspect of controlling your paradigm in society. In this day in age, there are so many ways to create streams of income for yourself, it’s just about knowing where to apply your skills and how to find opportunities and manage the opportunities found.
Next to making streams of income, is managing it, so you not only have money to spend short term but also long term. Money is a tool used to ensure that our basic needs are met and a supplement to our agency.
It has to be looked at from a different perspective than the way we are typically taught. You may have to rethink your relationship with money, what it means to you, what you do with it, and the value it has.
Occupational wellness is defined by how satisfied you are with your work, work-life balance, school, internships, volunteer work, and project opportunities. For some, there isn’t just one career path but a sole purpose that inspires many paths. Taking advantage of opportunities for growth and self-discovery is important to realizing our purpose and gaining new skills through adversity.
The definition of occupation is ”an activity in which one engages.” It is more than just a job!
There are many opportunities to supplement your income without having to participate in a traditional 9-5. Work exchange programs allow for people to travel for a low cost or even in some cases have all living expenses taken care of in exchange for some sort of labor or service. This is a great example of how you can occupy your time and fulfill your needs without having to compromise your agency, like in the case of a conventional job. It’s just about choosing and finding experiences that fulfill you, while also helping meet your needs, whatever that may be, not just physical ones. Organizations like GO OVERSEAS has tons of resources and work abroad listings to help you get started and learn more about the process.
Recreational wellness is the active pursuit and enrichment of your life using hobbies, interests, adventures, travel, projects, risks, and challenges as tools.
Play is an important part of our lives, as it helps us to experiment and learn more about ourselves what we like, what we don’t, and what we can do. It’s also a way for us to harness joy and connect to our inner child.
Social wellness is described as the sense of belonging and creating lasting bonds with your family, friends, significant other(s), relatives, classmates, colleagues, and coworkers.
American psychiatrist, David Hamburg (1998) theorized that there are 4 fundamental human needs: To have a sense of belonging in a group, to feel worthwhile as a person, and to have close, reliable, and predictable relationships.
Relationships also help create different dynamics and influences that help to shape our worldview and how we experience things. As we tend to our relationship with others, it is also important to tend to and care for the relationship we have with ourselves.
Spirituality is the nuturing and strengthening of your connection to something beyond this human and sensory experience, to the part of ourselves that is connected to the cosmos and the Divine. Which we see in ourselves and nature, every day.
Everyone’s beliefs and how they practice their spirituality are different and personal to them. Making spiritual wellness a unique journey to creating balance and harmony throughout your body, mind, and spirit. In a sense, your wellness is a spiritual practice.
Mental wellness speaks to your brain’s capacity to handle stress, worries, intellectual stimulation, thoughts, emotions, knowledge, and skills. It’s not to say you will never experience difficult emotions or states of being, but that you understand how to care for yourself in those moments when you are triggered, and as you heal further.
Our environments have a huge effect on how we approach our daily lives. A crucial variable to human development is our ecological environment. Environments are made up of systems of relationships that create different dynamics and influences that help to shape our worldview and how we experience things.
Environmental wellness speaks to the evaluation of the spaces that help to shape your best self. Environments are not limited to the relationships we have but also the physical spaces we spend our time in. It is important to have spaces of safety, among other things – like having a home that feels like a safe haven; your room, and its organization, and feeling safe in your surroundings and the world around you. Safe spaces also allow for the freedom of expression and vulnerability, which are important aspects of how we connect with ourselves, others, and the world around us.
The first step in taking a holistic approach to wellness would be to reflect on how you approach your wellness currently. What does wellness mean to you?
Use this wheel of wellness to help you create your dream life!
Question: What does wellness mean to you?
Reflect on your current way of life and see what changes you’d like to make. look at what aspect of your life you appreciate and want to experience more of, but also reflect on what changes you’d make in your lifestyle for the better.
BLVCK LXTUS articles derive their insights from reputable and up-to-date sources, ensuring a foundation grounded in the latest and most reliable information.
Hamburg, D.A. (1998). Preparing for life : The critical transition adolescence . In R.
Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando. Collaborative effects of diet and exercise on cognitive enhancement. Nutr Health. 2011 ; 20(3-4): 165–169.
Muuss, R.E. (1996). Theories of Adolescence ( 6th ed.). United states: McGraw-Hill College.