What is holistic wellness? Why you should view your wellbeing holistically

holistic wellness; woman on her back in a pool of water, smiling

I’ve had what could probably be referred to as multiple “phases” in my wellness journey.

The competitive athlete.

The obsessed gym goer on a strict diet.

The try-to-do-it all socially, while still maintaining a certain fitness level.

I’ve learned a lot from my parents, coaches, teammates, and other mentors. 

I’ve also taught myself a lot about proper form in the gym, how to properly recover and how to prioritize mobility work.

Despite having always lived a generally fit lifestyle, focused on movement, exercise, and following an 80-20 rule when it comes to incorporating good nutrition while still allowing myself to enjoy foods, I’ve still reached points in my life where I felt those habits weren’t quite enough.

Even with all the health knowledge I learned, I still struggled. 

Exercise could no longer take away every stress in my life. I found it hard to follow what I knew was good for me when it came to the lifestyle habits I’d spent so much time in my life cultivating.

What was missing?

That’s precisely what my latest “phase” has taught me. 

What is holistic wellness?

If I had to pick a single word to describe what holistic wellness is all about (to me, anyway), it would be balance.

And here’s why.

Holistic wellness is an approach to your overall health and wellbeing that looks at a variety of factors as all being interconnected.

It’s looking at the whole person — your physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs. It’s rooted in the understanding that each of these aspects of life affect our overall health. If you are not doing well in one aspect, it affects you in others.

I’m sure you can think of an example or two that pops into your mind to fit this. Maybe it was a time where you were at your best physically, but were struggling mentally or socially. Or, you were doing great in the social or spiritual realms but at the expense of your physical health.

Take a minute to reflect and see what comes to mind.

Why is holistic wellness important?

If you don’t take a diverse, well rounded, and open minded approach to what it means to be healthy, at some point in life you will find yourself not feeling your best and unsure (guilty even) as to why.

It’s all connected.

If you’ve reached a point in your life where you feel lost or stuck, like you’re drained day to day, unfulfilled, or struggling to get by despite following all the standard healthy practices, you’re not alone.

Whatever your specific symptoms may look like, I’ve come to learn one thing.

You’re either 1) not aware of all the pieces of the “well-being” puzzle, or 2) not effectively looking at all of them.

And as a result, you may feel confused. 

Confused as to why you:

  • don’t feel your healthiest — confused as to where certain issues are coming from (i.e. pain, digestive issues, increased anxiety, changing moods or a number of other physical and mental side effects)
  • struggle to feel grateful
  • can’t seem to consistently enjoy all aspects of life as much as you know you should

A holistic view looks to fill in some of those gaps. Mental health is not separate from physical health and vice versa. Emotional health and spiritual health can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Holistic wellness includes:

  • How and what you feed your body
  • How and what you feed your mind
  • Emotional and spiritual needs
  • Re-connecting at a deeper level to your body and what it’s telling you
  • Movement
  • Personal growth
  • Self-Awareness
  • Breaking bad habits & building/maintaining good ones
  • Building self confidence & improving your relationship with yourself
  • Healing
  • The environments you’re in
  • A resilient, flexible & adaptable sense of identity
  • Understanding the role of your conditioned past — thought patterns & behavior patterns and the role they STILL play in your life
  • Understanding the role of your ego in day to day life
  • Tapping into your subconscious
  • Understanding the mind body connection
  • Learning & unlearning
  • Letting go & surrendering
  • Trust
  • Finding peace
  • Managing stress
  • The quality of the products you use
  • Prioritizing your self-care; boundaries, rest, recovery, your needs etc.
  • Social aspects including support circles & close relationships/authentic human connection
  • Allowing space for multiple priorities & embracing a variety of experiences
  • A certain level of uniqueness to each individual
  • A lifelong journey
  • Mindset

Holistic health is daily energy, an optimally functioning body, enthusiasm, peace, and presence during the good and the difficult moments of this beautiful life.

The crazy (and cool!) thing, is that what you think you’re struggling with (example: finding the motivation to work out and lose some weight) might actually become a simpler problem to solve once you look at the different pieces of the puzzle together (taking the same example: when you prioritize building a diverse sense of self & better understanding your conditioned past, it becomes more effortless and feels more empowering to make better food choices & move your body).

While this may sound daunting, it’s actually liberating.

I’m not saying you need to take a deep dive into EACH area. Not at all. You can be healthy and feel fulfilled without doing so.

I simply want to bring your awareness to how much is at play, and you pick what resonates with you or what may require more attention in your unique situation.

And that brings me to my next point.

Holistic wellness is NOT:

  • A one size fits all recommendation
  • A rigid set of guidelines to follow that ensure or guarantees a specific outcome
  • A quick fix
  • A destination

From this list, you may be thinking, Wow. All that is a part of health? Because if you’re like a lot of people, you may categorize a lot of the items on that list as values rather than inputs to your health.

I challenge you to think of all the pieces of the puzzle, and to regularly and consistently look at how it all impacts your health and well-being. It really is a journey where you are your best guide. But, I know it can feel like a lot.

Where do I start? What should I focus on? How do I find the right balance for me?

If you’d be interested in some guidance, send me an email!

And if one area of holistic wellness most interests you from all that I mentioned, leave a comment and let me know!

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