At a time when topics like mental health, self-care, and overall well-being are gaining our much-deserved attention, many are also starting to look into the realm of holistic wellness. What is holistic wellness, anyway? Is it just another buzzword? How do you achieve or practice it?
In this post, we’ll flesh out the concept to understand what it’s about. Plus, I hope that you get inspired by a few ideas you can do to start incorporating it in your life.
Defining Holistic Wellness
The term holistic comes from Holism, the idea that systems should be viewed as a whole. It stems from the Greek word holos, meaning entire, total, or all. It’s describing how we should be looking at the concept of wellness: as a whole.
Wellness, on the other hand, is a bit more complex. If you Google the term, there’s a huge chance it’ll display mixed results: a spa, fitness center, plant-based restaurant, and medical articles. And since it’s closely linked to health, many people interchange “holistic wellness” with “holistic health” as well.
None of these results are wrong—it just shows how multidimensional wellness is. Depending on which article you’ve read, wellness has anywhere from five to nine pillars, such as physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, occupational, financial, and environmental.
If we combine both terms, they will read as “all pillars” or “all dimensions.” In a nutshell: Holistic wellness is when your physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual (etc.) states are in harmony.
The 8 Pillars of Wellness
To better understand holistic wellness, we need to break down each pillar and know how they contribute to our well-being.
1. Physical – This doesn’t automatically mean having six-pack abs, but more on finding a physical activity that motivates and inspires you to get up and move around. It could be anything from taking yoga classes to doing Muay Thai. While it’s tempting to be a couch potato all day, exercise has been proven time and again to bring tons of amazing benefits to our overall well-being.
2. Intellectual – This aspect emphasizes nourishing your mind by indulging your curiosities. Are you filling your cup with new and exciting ideas? There’s joy in learning concepts that broaden your knowledge base! The best part is, you get to choose what these topics are.
3. Emotional – How’s your heart? Emotional well-being is a vast topic in itself. It includes being able to recognize, regulate, and express your emotions, which is incredibly challenging for many of us. Be careful in equating this with the idyllic goal of being happy all the time—instead, look at it as the process of learning how to manage what and how you feel as life happens.
4. Social – Having a reliable support system and being part of a community has a positive impact in our quality of life. Humans are social beings, and we all want to feel belonging and acceptance. You don’t need so many people in your life, either—just a few gems who genuinely have your back.
5. Spiritual – Spirituality isn’t always religion, but it can be a part of it. Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, agnostic, or something you can’t describe, fostering a spiritual connection with your divine source is beneficial. It’s accepting the magic that there’s a higher power governing our lives, and we’re not just here by mistake. Practice your faith.
6. Occupational – Ah, the subject of career fulfillment. Perhaps all of us have been or are still there, finding out what it is that’ll spark joy. But beyond finding out if your passion can become a source of income, occupational wellness covers your overall job satisfaction. Is there room for professional growth? Are you inspired and motivated to do better? Do you have a team that supports you? These things matter, too.
7. Financial – Money plays a vital role in how we live. It certainly doesn’t buy happiness, but it does allow us to have a comfortable lifestyle. How well are you able to manage your finances? Are you earning enough to sustain yourself and your dependents (if applicable)? Can you plan well and save for future goals?
8. Environmental – Where you live and what resources are available to you are incredibly crucial parts of your overall well-being. Things like your personal space at home and access or frequent exposure to nature can influence your mood, productivity, and safety.
12 Ways to Achieve Holistic Wellness
By this point, you might be feeling overwhelmed. I need to consider all of that to become happy?! Before you think that this is an impossible task, let’s backtrack a bit.
There’s no single path to achieve holistic wellness, as it’s a very personal journey. There’s no correct timeline or race to get there either. I view holistic wellness as a lifelong journey that we will continuously refine, and some aspects might get more attention than others from time to time.
This belief reflects here on my site as well—Love, Foti is just one of the many resources you can look into for fulfilling your wellness needs. In my case, I’ve chosen to discuss topics that help me achieve the road to holistic wellness. If you resonate with any of the things I do here, then I’d gladly hold space for you.
Here are a few things you can try to do to start your journey into well-being. Note that the list below is just a tiny fraction of holistic wellness and are drawn mostly from my personal experience and what I’ve seen others do. Feel free to let your imagination grow!
1. Get moving – It’s time to get an endorphin boost! Jog around your neighborhood, take a yoga class, challenge yourself with circuit training, swim some laps in the pool, hike a mountain, shoot some hoops, or improve your strength with boxing. Whatever makes you feel good is the correct answer here. Don’t be afraid to keep trying new things—that’s how you’ll fine-tune your preference.
2. Create with your hands – Thanks to the internet, there are now plenty of workshops available online! Things like learning calligraphy, knitting, bag-making, pottery, jewelry-making, painting, and so much more can be learned within a few clicks.
3. Prepare coffee or tea – Preparing yourself coffee or tea can be meditative and calming to many—myself included. Test out different flavors, find the best mix, and have fun with your experiments!
4. Practice a ritual – What’s something that calms you down that you love to do every day? It could be writing, reading a book, listening to your favorite album, sketching, or praying.
5. Meditate – There are many kinds of meditation. You can practice in silence while observing your breath, listen to a guided meditation track, write your feelings on paper, or mindfully walk barefoot in your garden. All options are okay, and you can switch them up any time.
6. Discover magic – If you’ve been curious about energy work or occult practices such as Reiki and tarot readings, I’m happy to report that it’s part of your holistic wellness journey, too. There’s no harm in getting a deck of your own or learning how to heal others.
7. See a therapist – Let’s end the stigma. Getting regular therapy is healthy! It can be a relief to know that you’re not going through things alone.
8. Join online communities – Be part of the causes you believe in, and participate! This practice is a great way to meet new people with like-minded beliefs. It could be something as simple as joining a Reddit thread or Facebook group or staying in touch with classmates from an online course you attended.
9. Pot some plants – Gardening is also extremely relaxing if you’ve got a green thumb. Plus, these companions aren’t just beautiful—they beautify the spaces they’re in, too.
10. Take a freelance gig – If you’ve got a passion for what you do, don’t be afraid to put it out there. If people like it, someone is bound to approach you!
11. Explore a new place – Travel will always be a fantastic way to enrich your life by immersing in different cultures and settings. Perhaps this is an invitation to explore areas within our communities instead of taking plane rides out of town or the country. Whether it’s discovering a new path on your walk going home or relishing the fact that you can step outdoors during this health crisis, let’s keep the spirit of travel alive.
12. Learn to say no – There is liberation in being able to say “no, thank you” to anything that doesn’t serve positivity in your life. Whether it’s a favor or toxic relationship, don’t be afraid to say no. You’re opening doors for something better, and defining your life.
Every Journey Begins with a Step
With these small steps, you can start your journey to holistic wellness. In essence, this is about choosing to put yourself first—and there’s nothing healthier than that.
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share this with your friends. Let’s make holistic wellness a common practice. 🙂