Most people approach their health and wellness in very separate, specific, and disconnected ways. We understand health as just the absence of sickness or disease. That's totally valid but it lacks the understanding of a broader approach, like holistic health care and wellness. You should assess your wellbeing on a wider spectrum. It's not just about avoiding the yearly outbreak. There are more factors involved.
Holistic health care and wellness are sustained by 8 pillars. We are about to get into all 8 pillars and, fingers crossed, through getting to know them we can learn how to strengthen each of them.
Remember, no two people are alike so how you strengthen your pillars may be different than how I or someone else would. The only real commonality is that it takes a holistic approach.
The Physical Pillar
You may be thinking, "Physical? Well, that's just exercise!" Don't get me wrong, regular physical activity is very important to your health. It's just not the only aspect of it.
Factors of Physical Wellness:
Getting the appropriate amount of sleep: personally, I know this can be hard to achieve and I'll tell you all about the ways to achieve it in its own article.
Attention to hygiene: TAKE SHOWERS AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH
Develop a healthy diet
Get regular physical activity
Questions to Ask While Evaluating Your Physical Wellness:
Are you getting enough sleep? If not, what are a few barriers blocking you from restful sleep?
What is the first meal you eat and what is it usually?
What is the biggest form of physical activity do you do daily?
How often do you shower or wash?
I know that sleep can be hard to get, especially a restful night's sleep. Here are a few tips that may help:
Avoid screens 30 minutes prior to bedtime
Develop a relaxing wind-down routine each night
Blockout unnecessary lights and noises. Blackout curtains and white-noise machines can help. I recommend listening to this song.
The Nutritional Pillar
The physical and nutritional pillars are intimately tied together. But it's important that they are represented by their own pillars. Nutrition is personalized based on age, sex, activity level, and body chemistry. Like I said, no two people are the same.
A balanced diet feeds your body and your mind. The USDA says that half your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruits while most of the other half is dedicated to grain and the rest divided between protein and dairy.
Acquiring the essential macro-nutrients for day to day energy is very important. Unfortunately, most of us don't get recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. In fact, many adults take vitamins and supplements to try and make up for that deficiency.
How Can You Strengthen Your Nutritional Pillar:
Pay attention to your diet and your supplements
Identify any stressors/time commitments that may make eating a regular balanced meal difficult
When you strengthen this pillar, it'll make strengthening your other pillars much easier. Here are a few tips that may help you out:
Diversify your portions! Eat colorful fruits and vegetables. This'll ensure you get those yummy macro-nutrients
Look at your portion sizes to help with weight maintenance
Replace refined grains with whole counterparts for fiber
Try looking at a few videos/shows/podcasts to get some meal ideas
Your Emotional Pillar
Emotional wellness is assessing, identifying, and effectively sharing those feelings with others. Crazy, right? Well, it's very important because the ups and downs of life will take you on a rollercoaster. However, the better you process, manage, and understand your feelings, the easier the ride will be.
Here are a few tips that may strengthen your emotional pillar:
Create a list of the people you would feel most comfortable talking to/trust the most and contact them when times get rough. Asking for help can be hard but having a quick reference may make it easier
Look into a therapist or counselor. Sometimes an unbiased party makes expression easier
Write those feelings down! Talking isn't the only way to rid yourself of bad feelings. Often times, letting yourself write out everything that's bothering you (even if it doesn't make sense) can help you relieve the tension and prevent an emotional explosion
No, I'm not talking about social media, though it is a good way to connect with the rest of the world. I'm talking about those real-life personal relationships because despite interaction sometimes being a lot, it is important for us to be healthy.
Having those social relationships and interactions gives you a support system to rely on and go to when you're experiencing life's struggles. This pillar can't be neglected or understated because having the ability to turn to someone and having them support and understand you is extremely powerful. Yes, it does take time and energy but it's worth it. It'll stay with you your whole life.
Here are a few tips to building a strengthening your social pillar:
Check out social networks like MeetUp to meet new people or try going to community events and volunteer services
Schedule a weekly get together with friends and regularly reach out to your out-of-state friends
Remember snail mail and pen pals? Try starting that up again cause there's nothing more endearing than a handwritten letter
The Spiritual Pillar
This pillar will be different for everyone because it's a very personal piece of your health and wellness. For some, it may be a bigger role in their life than others.
Spirituality is most commonly referred to as a sense of purpose, meaning, or direction. Without this sense, morals/values can slip while upending life's balance. You can cultivate your spirituality through meditation, prayer, or other activities that bring you closer to nature.
Maintaining spirituality is different for everyone. It has nothing to do with religion or a type of belief system. It's about personalizing your journey. The way you strengthen your spirituality is completely up to you. Personally, I meditate and take walks around parks or my neighborhood.
Check out these tips to start taking charge of your spiritual journey:
Keep a journal. Much like the emotional pillar, writing regularly can keep you accountable for your goals whilst clearing your mind
Dedicate a bit of your time to yourself every day, whether it be prayer or meditation or anything to be free of distractions, major activities, and interruptions
Choose and write down your top three values and reflect on them often. They can act as your guide through your everyday decisions
Your intellectual wellbeing is continuously engaging your mind. Doing this will help you build new skills or enhance the skills you already have. It helps you learn and grow. Ways to engage your mind can depend on the person and/or mood. Brain games/puzzles can be helpful as well as scholastic endeavors. Even stimulating conversation can be a big thing for both you and the person you're talking to.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Take up a self-reflective activity
Join a book club or get a library card
Look at continuing education classes at community colleges
Sign up for a free language program to learn a new language
Understanding Your Financial Pillar
Now I'm not talking about being completely secure with your financial situation. That would be asking a lot and so far, I think I've been pretty darn reasonable. I'm talking about living within your means while planning appropriately for your future. I know it can be tough to accomplish but there are some baby steps you can do that maybe a little more manageable.
This pillar seems like the least interesting but strengthening it can lead to strengthening your other pillars in your journey to holistic health care and wellness. Did you know that financial struggles are among the top stressors in the USA? That's a big oof. But taking the small steps will get you on your way to betterment!
These are a few key tips to get on track:
Make paying your debts a priority. One of my high school teachers has incredible credit because of this and she is very stress-free
Create a budget with some help from online systems like Mint or through a personal budget planner
Put aside a set amount every month for non-essentials like entertainment, dining out, and other recreations
If you're saving for something, break it up into manageable amounts and set a deadline for yourself. Each time you achieve it, you'll feel AMAZING!
The Environmental Aspect of Your Life
Well, it is what it sounds like. The environmental pillar is all about your personal surroundings as well as the larger community you live in. More specifically, your relationship with your environment.
Some Questions to Help You Evaluate Your Environment:
How do you support your environment?
How does your environment support you?
What makes you want to be in this environment?
Strengthening your environmental pillar can help you personally and the community around you as well as globally. The more you care and help your environment, the more it will care for and help you.
Here are a few tips to consider:
Individual: Keep a clutter-free workspace to inspire creativity and productivity
Neighborhood: Join your local clean-up effort to reduce waste and promote recycling
Larger Community: Cut back on those car trips. Try walking, doing everything in one go, or taking the trolley. Carpooling can also help
Reaching your optimal holistic health care and wellness level isn't instantaneous. Sometimes, strengthening a pillar takes time and energy. But you know what? You deserve that time and energy. So do your friends and family. Remember that it's okay to take a mental health day or indulge yourself with a favorite food. But you are worth it!
8 Pillars of Holistic Health Care and Wellness was researched, written, and edited by Emmalie Roberts.
Disclaimer: This is by no means prescriptive and holistic health does NOT advise against getting medical attention if needed. If you're experiencing an illness/disorder/physical impairment/etc. that requires conventional medicine to maintain/aid/cure please continue. We are not medical professionals.