If you’re ready to jump into a wellness lifestyle that looks at the big picture, then holistic living is for you! This introduction to holistic living for beginners will cover what holistic living is, the 3 elements of holistic living, qualities of a holistic life, and how to create holistic habits!
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What is Holistic Living?
Holistic living is a lifestyle that nourishes your mind, body, and soul. And although that sounds a little hippy-dippy, it’s actually quite wonderful.
A holistic lifestyle is a way of living life that lets you look at the big picture – the whole person. I like to think of holistic as being connected to a wholeness.
You don’t try to make your life better by focusing on one thing like eating well, personal growth, spirituality, or creating contributions. You focus on everything because it’s all interconnected.
A holistic lifestyle isn’t one size fits all. It just means that you observe yourself – all of yourself – and create a lifestyle that nourishes you as a whole. It's a way of thinking rather than an exact system.
It’s pretty well accepted that there are 3 parts of your life to nourish – mind, body, and soul. Some people like to separate mental and emotional or add a social element. I like to view it as just 3 parts to simplify things, but know you can expand on your holistic wellness approach as needed.
Holistic living acknowledges that all three parts of your wellbeing are interconnected. Each affects the other. For example, if you aren’t getting enough sleep (body) because you are anxious (mind), you may withdraw from your friends and family (soul). They all work together and they all affect each other.
Let's go through each of the 3 categories in a little more detail.
Tending to your mind is just as important as tending to your body.
We tend toward forcing ourselves into the expectations of what we think we 'should' do. Whether that's working harder, forcing positivity, or ignoring our emotions.
Taking a holistic approach allows us to step back and assess how we're feeling mentally. What are the thoughts and emotions going through your head? How are they affecting your life? Keep in mind that your emotions often manifest in your body.
From there, it's easier figure out what you need. For example, if you're feeling overwhelmed, you might need a mental break from creative work. If you're feeling anxious, it might bet time to step away from the expectations of social media.
It’s important to cultivate a healthy mind because our mindset ultimately controls our actions. What we think, we create.
The body part of holistic living is usually the easiest to understand because it’s physical. We can easily see and measure the effects of nourishing the body.
Nourishing the body in a holistic way involves a lot of elements.
You know that it’s important to take care in determining the foods you eat. The more you nourish your body, the better it functions. And you also know that moving your body is important.
But when taking a holistic approach to nourishing the physical body, we also take into consideration things like sleep patterns, our connection with nature, the types of products we use in and on our bodies, and the health of each body system.
In holistic living, we also focus on wellness – living in a state of good health. We want to live in a healthy state rather than fix problems as they occur.
The ‘soul’ category can be a little harder to pin down, especially if you’re still figuring out where you fit into the world. But that’s okay, nourishing your soul can help you get closer to that understanding.
Of course, nourishing your soul can mean spirituality, but it’s also so much more. Living life aligned with your values and living with purpose are both essential. Nourishing your soul requires deepening your connections with others and spending time on meaningful contributions to the world.
Over time, as you nourish ‘soul’ elements, you’ll create a deeper relationship with yourself and how you connect with and understand the world around you.
Qualities of Holistic Living
Outside of knowing that we need to nourish the mind, body, and soul, it’s helpful to understand the qualities that help us live a holistic life.
Mindfulness means being aware and present in the moment. Being mindful will help you better understand how you're feeling and what you need.
Mindfulness is key to living a holistic life because we need the presence of mind to fully understand ourselves and our needs as a whole. Additionally, the present moment is the only place where we can fully experience life and integrate growth into our lives.
You may be new to mindfulness, but I guarantee you’ve practice mindfulness many times. Any time you take a deep breath to focus, you’re being mindful. When you take time to think before you act, or take a step back from your emotions and act based on your values, you’re practicing mindfulness.
To live intentionally is to live life on purpose. When you live from a place of intentionality, you live based on your values.
Intentionality encompasses purpose, simplicity, prioritization, time management, and control over where you place your energy.
To live holistically and see the big picture, you must live on purpose instead of on autopilot. You make conscious choices that help guide you on your path.
Since holistic living involves nourishing the mind, body, and soul, it’s important to find balance. As we’ve talked about, you need to nourish every part of yourself in order to be well as a whole since everything is interconnected. Give each element the time and energy it needs so that the 3 can support each other.
Holistic living isn’t an all-or-nothing approach. Instead, find balance by incorporating small, sustainable changes into your life and grow your holistic lifestyle over time.
Remember that sometimes certain areas of your life will require more attention than others, so it's okay if it isn't a perfect balance.
Holistic living isn’t a destination, it’s a lifelong journey. It’s a lifestyle. And so, it’s fitting to live a holistic life as a practice.
Holistic living is something you must practice every day to integrate into various aspects of your life. Like we talked about with balance, there is no need to do everything all at once. Instead, create a holistic lifestyle practice by creating sustainable habits and slowly incorporating them into your life.
With practice, you’ll be able to experience continued growth along your holistic living journey.
Creating Holistic Habits
As we’ve discussed, creating habits is key to creating a holistic lifestyle. Below is a basic outline of how to create holistic habits that align with your life.
1. Meet Yourself Where You’re At
The first step in habit creation is meeting yourself where you’re at. You have to get ~uncomfortably~ honest with yourself and asses where you’re at. It’s tempting to think about where you want to be or where you think you should be.
But in order to grow and to create the lifestyle you want, it’s crucial to understand where you’re at right at this moment.
Take into consideration each element of holistic living – mind, body, and soul. Dig in to see if you can pinpoint areas that are affecting each other.
2. Focus on One Thing At a Time
You can’t do everything all at once or you’ll go crazy and you also won’t be able to make lasting change. Instead, pick one (or just a few) areas of your life that need the most nourishment, and focus on that thing. Remember that even if you select an area of your life that seems like it’s in just one category, it will be affected by and affect the other categories.
For example, if you want to have more energy you might need to create better sleep patterns (body), reduce stress (mind), and control the energy you give to others (soul). Having more energy is still a pretty big topic, so I would encourage you to break bigger topics like these into smaller, bite-sized chunks.
3. Research + Learn
Once you’ve determined the area in your life that needs the most growth, it’s time to dive into research and learning about that topic.
Since all of our holistic journeys are different, it will require research and learning on your part to discover the best strategies to implement into your life. You can find information in bookstores, on blog posts, and even on Pinterest. There are so many great thinkers and leaders in the holistic lifestyle realm, so take time to find the ones who resonate most with you.
Remember that a lot of learning comes from trial and error in your own life. It can be discouraging, but trial and error is part of the process of discovering what works best for your life.
4. Set Purposeful Intentions
Since holistic living is a lifestyle and not a destination, it’s often best to start by setting intentions instead of goals. Of course, you’ll need to break those intentions down into small goals to take action toward your intentions.
Intentions help us create a lifestyle rather than achieve a specific goal because they keep is in the present moment and focus on how we want to live each day.
Here’s an example:
Goal: Stop feeling guilty after spending money
Intention: cultivate a healthy money mindset
The word ‘stop’ in the goal implies an end result. It implies that you will not feel better (or be better) until you reach that end goal. The intention, however, can be integrated into each day in different ways as you continue to grow.
We can only live in the present. So setting intentions that help us enjoy life each day on the journey is what we’re aiming for.
5. Integrate Sustainable Action
Once you’ve set intentions, you can then set smaller goals or tasks to take sustainable action and create habits that help you build a holistic lifestyle. The key is that whatever action you take, you need to be able to sustain it over time since you’re creating a lifestyle.
As you continue to grow on your holistic lifestyle journey, these habits will change and evolve based on your needs at any given time.
Once you start to integrate changes in one aspect of your life and it becomes a part of your lifestyle, you integrate changes into other aspects of your life as well by repeating these steps. Go back to step one and re-assess where you’re at now, and begin again.
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