Holistic health is a buzzword right now, but what’s all the fuss really about? And what exactly does holistic health even mean?
Well, the reason everyone is talking about holistic health is due to the fact that, unlike other approaches to health, it aims to support a person as a whole: body, mind, and soul. It's based on the understanding that all these aspects affect your overall health.
Essentially, what affects your mind, affects your body.
Think back to when you were feeling overwhelmed mentally, did you suddenly get a migraine? Break out in acne? Or maybe you struggled to sleep? If yes, then you have experienced how your mental and emotional health can affect your physical health.
One of the most frequent physical symptoms of stress is stress rashes, which unfortunately I and some of my friends have experienced first-hand. Stress rashes can affect the entire body but normally appear on the arms, chest, neck, or face.
The goal of holistic health
The goal of switching over to a holistic health approach is to create balance within the body, so a deeper connection with the self can be fostered. It means combining complementary methods of (natural) healing, such as pairing nourishing foods with alternative healthcare practices like acupuncture, for example.
How can you start your holistic health journey?
First of all, it’s important to remember that holistic health is about finding what resonates with you to experience wellness on a deeper level. To help you along your path of self-discovery, we've put together an overview of alternative healthcare practices and journal prompts that you can consider to stay healthy - physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially.
For Your Physical Health
Physical wellness centers around the fitness and performance of our body. It consists of many components, such as cholesterol and glucose levels, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), the functioning of organ systems, the musculature of the body, your overall strength, stamina, and endurance, and so on.
- Journal prompts: Are you getting enough sleep? Enough movement? Which part of your body feels tense today?
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Acupuncture is a holistic health treatment that promotes self-healing through the stimulation of meridian points. It can relieve period cramps, can help with menopause, and more! However, TCM is about so much more than that, so take some time to learn about it. We have published many articles about TMC in the past.
- Ayurveda: In 2019, we predicted that Ayuverdic herbs would make a comeback. Since that prediction, Ayurveda has only gained popularity. It encompasses a wide range of practices. Abhyanga is my favourite; it’s a warm oil massage that stimulates the lymph nodes and nervous system.
For Your Emotional Health
Just as essential as our physical health, especially since it can affect our physical health if it is not prioritized. Emotional wellness involves the ability to engage in emotional self-regulation and to maintain an emotional detachment from the emotions you are experiencing (and the consequences that may come with them).
- Journal Prompts: Are you ignoring your feelings? Are you using food to mask your emotions? Do you need to seek mental health support?
- Therapy: If you’re in need of therapy, don’t feel ashamed. Mental health is a problem in Malaysia just like in any other country and the more it’s talked about, the more it’s normalised. Due to the spike in anxiety caused by the pandemic, the Malaysian Mental Health Association is now offering free emotional support sessions.
- Switching Your Diet: Did you know that more than 90% of serotonin is produced in your gut? Your brain and gut are intimately connected. Keep a food journal and note how you feel physically and emotionally after meals or, if you can, hire a nutritionist.
For Your Mental/ Intellectual Health:
In reality, mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. While these types of wellness overlap, the biggest difference between emotional health and our mental health is our cognitive abilities that affect how our brain functions.
- Journal Prompts: Are you stuck in mental (thought) habits? What thoughts can you unlearn? What new perspectives can you embrace?
- Meditation: There are many meditation techniques available and now that meditation apps exist it’s a practice that’s more accessible than ever. Download Headspace and find a meditation technique that works for you in order to de-clutter your mind and in turn, ease tension within your body.
- Yoga: As a practitioner and teacher of yoga, I can say with confidence that yoga teaches you how to be mentally kind to yourself. It requires you to push yourself, to trust yourself, and most importantly, to dedicate yourself to growing. At the same time, it forces you to become aware of your thoughts and how you can change them.
For Your Spiritual Health
Spiritual health is all about how you connect with your inner soul and the greater world around you. It means something different to everybody. Experiment and learn how you prefer to nurture your spirituality and set off time for it regularly. This will make you feel more at home.
- Journal Prompts: Are you content with your connection with yourself? If not, how can you connect with yourself on a deeper level? What daily practices can you incorporate into your life to nurture this connection?
- Breathwork: Breathwork is one of my favourite at-home practices and another topic that we have written about many times before. It’s an immensely powerful way to connect with yourself and can be used to effectively clear trauma, too. This video by an accredited breathwork teacher is a great way to get started!
- Sound Healing: As a certified sound healer, I’ve written about the benefits of sound healing before and yes, there is scientific research to back it up. If you want to know what it’s like to float in between your conscious and subconscious mind then look for a sound healing studio or class near you!
For Your Social Health
Social wellness is focused on your social interactions and friendships. As humans, we depend on each other and crave a sense of belonging. When you engage in positive social interactions, you are rewarded with a sense of belonging.
On the other hand, toxic relations can be harmful to your health.
- Journal Prompts: Are you setting boundaries with others? Do you need to say ‘no’ more? Do you feel genuinely connected to your friends?
- Just Say No: Forget what Nike says, if you don’t feel comfortable or ready to meet someone then just say no. You don’t need to lie either because real friends will understand and will be proud of you for prioritizing yourself (or at least, they should be).
- Limit Social Media Usage: Instagram can be toxic, especially if you’re checking the app upon awakening and before sleeping. Besides the endless cycle of comparison, it can lead to ingenuine connections. If you’ve caught yourself focusing more on snapping that perfect shot of your outing instead of being present during your outing, then it’s time to limit your social media usage.
Keep in mind that when switching to a holistic health approach, you should always do what feels best for you as a whole being – even if that means trial and error-ing numerous holistic healthcare practices until you find the right balance.
Ready to get started with your holistic care journey?
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