“You can eat alkaline foods until the cows come home,
But if you’re a miserable SOB, you’re acidic.”
– Nancy S. Mure, U.S. author and holistic nutrition practitioner
I suppose there are some people wandering around the surface of this planet who would hear the phrase “Holistic Health,” and think to themselves: “What is this new happy, hippy b******t they’re throwing at us now? Another social media buzzword for the masses? Another anti-Big Pharma conspiracy theory?”
Yes, I’m pretty sure there are many people who’d give up a very similar response. You may even get the odd one who gets it word-perfect. Who knows?
However, there will also be a sizeable proportion of people who think something along the lines of…
“Ok, I get it. A new phrase for something a fair few of us have been doing for centuries, I think you’ll find. And it’s not really about alternative medicine or stuff like that. It’s simply acknowledging there an interconnection and balance between the body, the mind, and the spirit that is the essence of good health, and practising that knowledge.”
And those people, dear reader, would be right. They would also be stating the reason I personally practise holistic health, and would recommend it, as I’m doing now, to others.
Let’s get one thing clear: I’m a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, nearly a decade into a clean and sober life. When I went through detox, if I hadn’t have had professional medical support, and good old “big pharma” drugs helping me with the withdrawal process, I may well have died. That’s a fact. Without detox, according to one of my physicians at the rehab, I’d have died anyway.
However, the drug and alcohol detoxification program in question used the holistic approach, in the correct belief that my addictions had seriously damaged not only my body, but my mind, and, yes, my spirit too. It wasn’t just the “detox, 12-Steps and don’t-come-back” approach of other rehab facilities. They treated the whole person, in the holistic way. That meant detox, good nutrition, regular exercise, counselling, group therapy, education, and living with fellow recovering addicts for a 6-month period. 12-Steps was optional, but recommended.
I’ve never been back. I said my tearful goodbyes and eternal thanks a long time ago.
Our digitally-instant world isn’t good for our holistic health, either the body, the mind or the spirit. Here, for you, are 8 essential habits to reach holistic health:
If you’re still feeling a little sceptical, you’ll look at that subheading and think maybe it’s time to see what so-and-so posted from their vacation in Alaska… Seriously – breathing. Simple, natural, essential to life, and you’d be surprised how many people just take it for granted.
Using controlled breathing as a simple relaxation technique, a way of removing the anxiety and stress from your life, has been around for eons. And it’s exactly what your cardiovascular system needs – just 3-5 minutes of deep, controlled breathing every day.
Nutrition & Hydration
Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is not about losing weight, eating just lettuce, or literally feeling like you’re starving yourself. For your holistic health, eating properly is about eating what you like – in moderation, and always eating plenty of protein and essential fats. Always.
Lower your alcohol intake. Stay hydrated. Water is on this planet for a purpose.
As we traverse our daily lives, we often forget to top up our energy level in the correct way. Natural energy boosters such as berries and nuts, such as almonds, are healthy, energy providing, and easy to keep in a little bag in your pocket so they’re wherever you are.
And don’t worry about having to knocking your caffeine-intake on the head. Remember, moderation. Caffeine is good for the metabolism in small quantities.
Lose 2lbs a week, do 20 press-ups before bed, or walk the dog twice a day for 30 minutes? No, that’s not the kind of goals you need. However, you do need goals like how much time you spend on your favorite pastimes, how often you see your friends, and time spent disconnected from this digital world of ours. Far healthier!
Never forget to reward and praise yourself. That’s it – no more.
Our lives are as hectic as we make them. Everybody has work, family, school, whatever. What is important is ensuring you have free time – time just for you to decide to spend however you see fit – as long as you do so in a positive way.
A big one – a big, physical health one. As someone journeying along my personal recovery road, I know for certain that old adage is true – a healthy body does equal a healthy mind.
You don’t have to hit the gym everyday (you can even stay well clear of fitness clubs if you want); however, you do need to be active, you do need to get that heart-pumping every day, and you must never forget to have fun doing it. And I’m not just talking about se.. Oh, you understand. Good.
If you’re not connected to the world outside, in terms of social, physical contact with the people around you, life can end up feeling pretty meaningless. Be with people, not just online with them. Actually see them smile with what you say. That’s not just holistic, that’s common sense.
Happy, Hippy Whatever
Still think this is happy, hippy whatever? Try this. We live in a world where every third person is clinically overweight (and a fair few are starving, I might add – go figure). Losing weight if you are that third person, and eating healthy are obviously important to your physical well-being. But that’s only part of it. Consider yourself in your entirety, not just how many inches around the waist you are. You are so much more than that.
By concentrating on the entire you by pursuing and following these 8 essential habits – breathing, nutrition and hydration, energy, goals, rewards, free time, exercise, and people – you will feel a million times better – your body, your mind, and your spirit will be healthy and balanced.
What do you do to keep yourself healthy? Is it all just exercise, exercise, exercise? When was the last time you gave your happiness a work-out? Please, do leave a comment below to share. And breathe. And then smile.