What Is Holistic Living?
How to live a holistic lifestyle
I feel like the phrase “holistic living” or “holistic lifestyle” brings upon many connotations even though the concept is actually quite simple.
There isn’t one set way to live holistically. Holistic living looks different for everyone. I know there is so much information out there that it can get overwhelming.
I think if you understand what this term actually means, you’ll see that it isn’t that daunting to add these concepts into your life. You just need to take it one step at a time.
What does the word holistic actually mean?
In terms of “holistic medicine,” this phrase means looking at the whole person instead of looking at each part individually. Sometimes this gets lost in modern western medicine because healthcare practitioners have become so specialized. I feel that this is good in some ways because these specialists know so much about one specific system, but I think that the whole person needs to be looked at as well.
It’s important to look at the entire person because everything is connected.
From a non-medical standpoint, holistic means looking at something in it’s entirety instead of just looking at individual aspects.
Now that you know the definition of the word, how can you apply this to your life?
Holistic living means to take care of your entire being.
Meaning, you need to take care of yourself from a physical, mental, and spiritual standpoint.
These three are connected together which is why it is important to work on of all of them. If you aren’t taking care of any, don’t get overwhelmed! We’ll take this one step at a time.
A good example of a simple connection in our body is when you are trying to lose weight. Maybe you’ve been working out consistently, but nothing happens. But you never changed your eating habits and you still eat a lot of processed unhealthy food. You need to combine nutrition and exercise to attain your physical goals just like we need to combine the mind, body, and spirit to take care of our whole self.
It’s pretty common that we remember to take care of ourselves from a physical standpoint and forget about the mind and spirit. This is probably because physical health is much more straight forward than the other two parts of holistic living. I also feel like it’s the basis for the other two. So if you are not working on any of these, physical health is a good place to start!
Let’s look at these three aspects in a little more detail.
1. Taking care of the physical body
I think this one is pretty straight forward. As with anything, you can make it complex but I like to break it down into four parts.
1. Eat healthy:
Choose minimally processed whole foods when possible and eat your fruits and veggies! Make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Also, make sure you are getting the right ratio of carbs, fats, and protein. If this overwhelms you, consider working with a dietician to get you on the right track!
2. Exercise and move your body:
Our bodies are meant to move. You don’t have to do intense cardio to count as exercise. Just going for a walk counts as movement! Find what you enjoy doing because then you’ll be more likely to be consistent. If you sit a lot for work, try to schedule in breaks where you get up and move around throughout the day.
If you do sit a lot, you might like my free 5 day program to reverse the effects of sitting: click for it here
3. Get adequate sleep
This one is probably easier said than done for people who have trouble sleeping. There are many natural options out there to help you sleep so find what works for you. Maybe yoga or meditation could be helpful. I do have a post that has 3 yoga poses to help you unwind before bed that may be helpful if you have trouble sleeping.
4. Know when to give your body rest
As important as it is to exercise, we also need rest. If you use weights to workout your arms for multiple days in a row without a break, this is going to lead to issues. Remember to give your body the rest it needs. Having a self care ritual is a nice way to remind yourself to rest and relax.
Now, each of these can definitely get pretty detailed and I’m sure there are more aspects than just these 4 things to physical health. But overall, if you are doing these 4 things, I think you are doing a great job at taking care of your physical body.
2. Taking care of the mind
I know this one can be tough for people because sometimes taking care of your mind brings up stuff that we would just rather not deal with. Trust me, I have been there and still find my self struggling with this but you know what? Even though I struggle with this sometimes and would rather not deal with it, I feel a million times better mentally now compared to when I was just ignoring it.
I also combine emotional health with taking care of the mind. Emotions can effect all parts of our bodies so they are important. It is important to let ourselves feel our emotions because otherwise they can start to present as physical symptoms or they can block our positive energy.
That being said, it is also important not to hold onto negative emotions for too long. An emotion technically only lasts for a short period of time, but when we attach the emotion to something like a memory, we keep reliving that emotion. Re-living negative emotions only holds us back in life. Dr. Joe Dispenza is a great resource to learn more about this. I am currently reading his book “Becoming Supernatural” and it is truly fascinating.
I think a great way to work on the mind’s health is to be open to learning. Learning is how we keep our mind healthy whether it’s reading, listening to a podcast, or watching a video on something we want to learn. This can be anything you want, if you want to learn how to knit or something that totally counts.
I also think it’s important to take the time to learn about having a positive mindset and self improvement. There are so many great resources out there for this.
Having a gratitude practice is also a great way to take care of our mind. A gratitude practice could be something as simple as writing down three things you are grateful for each morning. This helps your mind start to focus on the positives instead of negatives.
3. Taking care of the spirit
I think so many of us hear the word spiritual and think it’s the same as religious. You can be both religious and spiritual but you can also be spiritual without being religious. Religious is when you are associated with a specific more organized group of beliefs. Spirituality is an individual practice. I have nothing against being religious but I just want you guys to know that they don’t have to go together.
There are many ways to tap into your spirituality. Like I said this is an individual practice so this will look different for everyone. Some ideas to get you started include:
1. Yoga: Many people don’t realize that yoga is actually a spiritual practice. This is how I started my own spiritual practice! I think it is a great way for people new to working on spirituality because many types of yoga are also a physical practice. Remember how the mind, body, and spirit are all connected? Well working our physical body through yoga can help us take care of our spirit.
2. Meditation: Meditation is great for spirituality because you take away all the distractions in the external world. It’s also good for the mind but then again, all of three aspects of holistic living are connected so technically everything we’re talking about is good for all three, the mind, body, and spirit.
3. Try to consciously be aware of your surroundings: The more we are living with awareness and living consciously the easier it will be to connect with our inner spirit.
4. Look for the connection in things, because everything is connected: Like the mind, body, and spirit are connected, so is everything else in this world. The more we start to see this, the more our spirit will be awakened.
Everyone can benefit from working to incorporate holistic living into their lives. Like I said before, take it one step at a time guys. I know that is what I say for everything, but that’s because it’s true. When we take on too much at once then nothing gets done. So choose where you want to start and add on from there.
I’ve created a free checklist to help you to get started with holistic living. You can find it by clicking here: FREE HOLISTIC LIVING CHECKLIST!
I can’t wait for you to see all the benefits that a holistic lifestyle can bring.