Health isn’t merely the absence of disease; it’s a state of total physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing. The term “holistic” has become popular in the health and wellness arena, which describes a perspective of health that considers multiple areas as a whole.
According to Dr. Corinne Weaver, holistic doctor and clinic director at Dr.CorinneWeaver.com, optimum health revolves around a few simple yet powerful lifestyle commitments. Prioritizing sleep, movement, deep breathing and even forgiveness soothes the body, mind and spirit – the true definition of “holistic health.”
While living a holistic lifestyle means something different for everyone, incorporating the following fundamental practices and principles into your life will contribute to better health and increased vitality, no matter your age, gender, geography, or lifestyle.
Drink More Water
“Water is a bare necessity, yet it is amazing how many people get it indirectly in the form of sodas and other beverages. Water affects your entire being. It is, in many ways, the very definition of “holistic,” says Caleb Backe, the health and wellness expert behind natural products company, Maple Holistics.
It’s important to aim for a minimum of 8 ounces of water a day, but it’s also beneficial to plan a “detox” period consuming only water for a set period of time. “A week, two weeks, 40 days, 90 days, whatever it is….do it, and watch how it affects you.”
Make Movement Part of Your Daily Routine
Many of the cultures with the longest living people in the world don’t go to a gym every day to get exercise; they simply experience natural movement throughout their day that helps keep their bodies strong and minds sharp.
“Reassess how much you are moving,” advises Caroline Topperman, Pilates instructor and writer at Style on the Side, as the first place to start.
“You can do whatever makes you happy and increases your heart-rate but if you aren’t used to working out regularly, start with a twenty-minute walk in the evening, stretch and then give yourself some quiet time to meditate. Gradually start adding more exercise like Pilates or yoga which both help strengthen your mind-body connection while helping you get stronger and fitter.”
Get More Sleep and Keep a Consistent Schedule
“Sleep is one of the most fundamental aspects of wellness, but it’s often overlooked. Getting an
adequate amount of sleep helps to fight diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Plus, studies show that healthy sleep patterns improve mood, increase productivity and boost memory,” says Dr. Sal Raichbach PsyD from Ambrosia Treatment.
Since sleep is already a part of your daily routine, the goal is to optimize the time you spend in bed. “Make sure that you’re dedicating the recommended 7-9 hours for bedtime, free of distractions like smartphones. Getting on a consistent sleep schedule is also helpful. When you’re consistent with falling asleep and waking up at the same time your body will naturally learn when to power down.”
Maple Holistics’ Backe agrees with starting a sleep schedule.
“Focus at first not on when you go to sleep, but on when you wake. Strive to wake up at the same time every day. Go to sleep when you are tired, and get up on time. It won’t be the same hours each night, but if you pull this off, your body will adapt to your schedule, and not the other way around.”
Adopt Uplifting Affirmations and a Positive Mindset
To achieve true holistic health, you must think of the body, mind and spirit as connected systems. Try to incorporate something that benefits each of these vital areas every day.
“For the mind, that includes positive messages and meditation,” advises Anita Perry, author, educator, yogi and blogger behind YogaAnita.com. “This can be as simple as a suggestion, i.e., I am going to have a great day today! always focusing on I statements, (and) not trying to change another.”
Additionally, consciously try to reduce the amount of negativity in your daily life, from conversations to visual consumption.
One way Backe from Maple Holistics achieves a negativity detox is to “stop consuming news all day. You subject yourself to some pretty harsh and gut-wrenching things when you watch/read/listen to the news. And it has become so people are way too desensitized for their own good.” Decide on an amount of time, be it a week or two, and unplug from all news sources.
“Let that FOMO slide right off. You may experience some withdrawal, but it is the price
you need to pay for being better.”
Dr. Weaver adds, “Breathe deeply throughout the day and especially at night to help calm your nervous system and relax from the stress of the day.”
Choose Natural Remedies Over Synthetic Options
“Acupuncture, massage, herbal elixirs, essential oils and several other remedies can be used to create a holistic life,” says Stephanie Beveridge, Fitness Guru at Stephanie Beveridge.com. “Having the option of trying something natural first is a great way to feel empowered at home while allowing your body to heal itself naturally.”
Pilates instructor Topperman also believes in the power of whole foods over processed alternatives. “Reassess what you are eating and focus on adding more organic whole foods into your diet. Increase the amount of vegetables and fruits you are consuming. You can do a natural detox by reaching for green tea which provides anti-oxidants and keeping your sugar intake to a minimum.”
Health Starts from Within
Living healthy doesn’t need to be hard. By incorporating some or all of these practices into your day-to-day life, you will begin to experience better health and a confidence boost as a result.
“Living well means acknowledging your insufficiencies, and gathering the
strength and courage to become better despite those shortcomings.”
“Start with your own mind and your own words,” suggests Backe. “If you don’t believe in yourself and in what you could be, why should anyone else bother to do so?”