Starting A Holistic Wellness Journey On Your Own
Updated: Jan 16
Congratulations! So, you've decided to empower yourself and take control of your health. The most difficult thing to do is start. But let me tell you from experience, once you get going and you begin to see results you'll feel so rewarded, so empowered you'll wonder why you took so long. Taking the time to care for yourself is also an outward expression of self-love. Love yourself enough to vow to be healthy in body, mind and spirit and commit to the process.
So exactly what is holistic health? Human beings are multi-dimensional. Simply put, we are made up of body, mind and spirit. However, experts have divided our being into eight (8) dimensions: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, environmental, occupational, financial and spiritual. To be truly healthy all dimensions must be thriving and working in harmony with each other because they are interconnected. If one dimension is not functioning well, it affects the other parts. For example, an over-weight person may have spent much money on failed diets and exercise equipment and having not achieved his goals, may suffer from a negative self-image leading to low-self esteem, lack of confidence and even depression. He may not want to socialize much, which affects his relationship with other people including co-workers which may affect his performance on the job. Failure may even cause him to lose his faith in God. If one dimension is broken, the whole being is also broken. The holistic approach to wellness focuses on treating the body as a whole rather than treating symptoms in any one area.
14 SIMPLE GUIDELINES TO GET YOU STARTED
PHYSICAL - the tangible part of ourselves
Nutrition - Eat nutritionally dense food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, peas, beans, legumes and lean meats. Stay away from inflammatory foods that cause diseases such as processed foods, added sugar, fried foods and soda.
Exercise - Start stretching, walking, jogging, enroll yourself in the gym or a fitness program.
Sleep - Get deep, restful, quality sleep every night, approximately 8 hours.
Hygiene - Start practising better personal hygiene.
Style and Beauty - Wear clothes which truly tell a story about who you are. This will make you more comfortable in your skin and make you feel more self-assured and confident. Use beauty products to improve your looks. Give yourself a facial, manicure or pedicure. Pamper yourself every now and again.
EMOTIONAL - managing our emotions
6. Talk - about your feelings and resolve emotional issues. If there is no one to talk to, start a journal. This is an easy way to identify and process your feelings.
INTELLECTUAL - stimulation of the mind, the intellect
7. Feed your brain - Read more, play brain games, learn a new language, enroll in a new class; the point is do things that expand your knowledge and build new skills.
SOCIAL - forming healthy relationships with people
8. Communicate - Don't be a loner. Make the effort to reach out to friends, family, your neighbours and co-workers. Don't keep things bottled up inside.
ENVIRONMENTAL - the relationship between you and the space around you
9. Declutter - Studies have shown high levels of cortisol (the hormone that causes stress) in people who live in cluttered spaces. Throw away useless items in your home and office and clear up your space. A clutter free workspace inspires creativity and increases productivity.
10. Spend more time in nature - This a great way to destress. Breathe in the fresh air and soak in the simplicity around you. Try to observe the life forces around you and how they function . You can learn many lessons about life by observing nature.
11. Eliminate toxicity from your life - go organic, use filtered water, make your own DIY cosmetics and cleaning products. Toxicity also includes getting rid of negative people. Surround yourself with positive people who have your best interest at heart. 12. Reduce, Re-use and Recycle - help out mother nature by doing all you can to be at peace with her. Imagine the impact on the global environment if all of us lived environmentally cleaner lives.
FINANCIAL - our beliefs, attitudes and habits concerning money
13. Take charge of your finances - create a budget and actually stick to it. Learn how to grow your money. Make paying off debt a priority.
SPIRITUAL - your connection with a higher power than yourself
14. Devotion - Dedicate time each day to spend personal, quality time with God. Stay connected to the ultimate source of strength, values and power. A deep connection with God can give you a sense of purpose and guide you to fulfill that purpose. When we know why we are here and we move towards or live each day in that purpose, there's no greater joy.
BEFORE YOU START
Everyone's health journey is different but here are some tips that could apply to everyone.
ESTABLISH YOUR PURPOSE
Why are you doing this? Establishing a strong reason, a reason that resonates with your soul, will keep you motivated on days when you feel like quitting. Avoid doing it for the approval of other people. This is about YOU and your health journey. Focus on yourself and YOUR HAPPINESS and not on the validation of other people.
RESOLVE TO COMMIT
Firmly resolve to commit to the process. Be mindful the process is life long. Remember, health is a journey, not a destination. Yes! You are embarking on a new lifestyle for the rest of your life. Let that sink in for a moment. Are you still ready?
VISUALIZE YOUR NEW SELF
Close your eyes and see your new self. What do you see? Did you shed those pounds? Are you wearing clothes that match your personal style, that truly tell people who you are? Are you fit and have stamina to do the things you really love? Hold that mental picture in your head for at least 10 minutes twice a day. Eventually your mind will buy in to that person and everything you do will move you one step closer to actually becoming that person. We become what we visualize.
Take the time to read up on what you want to know. Do you want to find out about a healthy meal plan for diabetics or a fitness program for post surgery? Educate yourself on what you want to know about and create a tailored program that fits you.
SET DEFINABLE, ACHIEVABLE GOALS
Write them down. Having clearly defined goals gives us clarity, direction and holds us accountable. Setting goals that are achievable increases our chances for success. Set goals along the eight dimensions of our being. I know you're excited to get going but avoid giving yourself too many tasks at first or you'll burn out. Pace yourself, the most important thing is to be consistent. Add a dose of patience to it and you'll be well on the road to a successful journey. Don't forget to appreciate the little accomplishments EACH DAY rather than constantly looking at the end results way down the road. It's a good idea to journal your accomplishments. Read them over monthly. Just when you thought you were not getting anywhere, you'll be stunned at your progress.
CREATE A SUPPORT NETWORK
Let's face it, changing your life is HARD. There will be many setbacks and challenges along the way, many hurdles to cross. Here is where your support network kicks in. Find a cheerleader in your corner that will motivate you to keep going. This could be a friend or family member or support group. The support group can even be online. Whoever it is, confide in them your whys and your goals. Once you trust them and know for certain they are in your corner, don't offer excuses, take their advice. There may be people in the support group who are further along the same journey. Talk to them, learn lessons from them. Become inspired everyday to push yourself and keep going.
Any improvement program should come from a place of love. Love yourself to vow to be healthy. Let self-love drive you to get up each morning and exercise before going to work or hit the gym after a long day at the office, CONSISTENTLY. If you fall, focus on your achievements rather than your setbacks. When you reach a milestone celebrate your progress.
The road may be long and rugged but the journey is possible and you're worth it! So do it today for YOU.