Taking an Holistic Approach to Health to live well
World Health Day 2021 is today – are you living a healthy and active life after 50?
The American Holistic Health Association defines Holistic Health as :
Holistic Health is actually an approach to life. Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible. With Holistic Health people accept responsibility for their own level of well-being, and everyday choices are used to take charge of one’s own health.”
My approach to a healthy lifestyle is to not just focus on one area but the three areas of life – physical, mental and spiritual. You cannot be totally healthy unless you are taking care of each of these areas and each area is connected. For example when you exercise your body becomes fitter, but your mind is also affected in a positive way by relieving stress, your spirit feels uplifted. Exercise is a wonderful holistic approach to your health.
10 tips to Creating a Holistic, Healthy Lifestyle for Life
The first step is to accept that you will change your lifestyle for life. Not just for a few weeks but for your life time.
2. Build a positive relationship with Food
Forget the fad diets and quick fixes. Use the JERF principle which is JUST EAT REAL FOOD. Crash dieting or following the latest fad may help short term but unless you change your relationship with food you will continue the spin cycle of losing weight, gaining weight, feeling bad.
3. Avoid Processed Foods
Try to eat natural produce as much as possible and avoid packaged or processed foods.
4. Abstain from or reduce Alcohol & increase your water intake
Three years ago, my husband and I decided to abstain from alcohol. I wasn’t a heavy drinker but felt I wanted to take the focus of drinking during the evenings as a habit rather than actually enjoying it. Alcohol has become such a huge part of society – after work drinks, drinks to relax, drinks for celebrations. That doesn’t mean that I won’t have the occasional glass of bubbly on special occasions but I have found that removing the alcohol has had positive affects on my body as well as my mind. I have proven I don’t need alcohol to enjoy myself and my body and skin are looking and feeling much better.
Staying hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day is important for good health. Carry a water bottle with you always and keep drinking! (Water that is!)
Did you also know that sometimes you think you are hungry or craving food when in actual fact you are dehydrated? So before you reach for a biscuit, reach for your water bottle!
This is the time our bodies recover and our minds relax. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to our overall health and well-being. Not sleeping well? You could be anxious about something or it could be as simple as leaving the mobile phone and laptop outside the bedroom.
6. Stay Socially Connected
Make time to catch up with family and friends or join a social group. Studies have proven that staying connected is an important part of staying healthy especially into later life.
Make time each day to have some time for yourself. Include time to pamper yourself with massages or indulge in a long soak in the bath to relax. Nourish your soul by doing something you really enjoy – just for you! Make regular check-ups a priority especially tests such as mammograms, cervical tests and a general health check up.
8. Practice Mindfulness
Being present in the moment can help to reduce anxiety and stress. Focusing on something as mundane as brushing your teeth will clear your mind of the worries of the day. Taking a few moments to breathe slowly will help you to stay clear headed and able to cope with the stresses of life.
9. Daily Movement
Notice, I didn’t write Exercise? To many people, ‘exercise’ can be a chore but if you look at incorporating some movement into your day you achieve the same results. Go for a walk and explore your surroundings, try yoga or pilates or even dancing! Simply doing some stretches when you get out of bed each morning will help to strengthen your body. Find something you enjoy doing and move! 30 minutes each day is optimal and you will definitely feel the benefits in body, mind and spirit.
10. Focus on a positive attitude
Being positive is important for your mental health but it isn’t always easy to be upbeat all the time. It is important to recognise that humans cannot be happy or positive 24/7. Accept there will be times you are feeling down or out of sorts and find ways to overcome these feelings. One way is to write down or reflect on what you are grateful for in your life. Another way is to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Moving rather than moping about will lift your spirits. If you find that keeping a positive attitude is difficult, then seek professional help – there is no shame in asking for help.
By following these 10 tips you will discover that life can be happy and healthy and you will find the motivation to make this a permanent lifestyle change.