Taking a holistic approach to your health means looking at yourself as a whole person. Health problems are often not just isolated issues, and different aspects of your health can play into each other. One simple example of this is that you’re not feeling very well because you have a cold. You might not be in a very good mood, either. One health issue can affect others, leading to more problems that all need to be addressed. When you take a holistic approach, you can make sure that no stone remains unturned to keep you healthy. If you want to take a holistic approach to your health, here are some of the things you can do.
Pay Attention to Your Diet
Regular exercise is important for staying healthy. However, it’s not the only thing that you need if you want to keep fit. Your diet is also important for your health, whether you want to lose, gain, or maintain weight or get all of the nutrients you need. Your diet plays an important role when you’re trying to recover from illness too. You can read an article where American Addiction Centers reviews the importance of nutrition in substance abuse recovery. When you’re eating the right things, you give your body the fuel it needs to get better.
I am, by no means, perfect in this area. I’m on the food struggle-bus a lot. We don’t have access to many fresh foods like those in bigger cities, and boy, trying to get my carb-loving family to take the initiative to cut a celery stick and dig out the peanut butter is nearly impossible unless I set it out in front of them. Anything that takes effort in my home for my family is probably the biggest challenge in making better choices. And, I suppose, if the carbs aren’t brought into the home, they’re not there to be eaten. We easily become lazy in this department, as many people do. When I say “lazy,” I mean it in a way that it takes effort to choose, purchase, and eat more wisely.
Perhaps it would be good for me to look at my food story growing up for insight into this, too. Growing up, carbs were the cheapest thing to buy. I did not grow up eating balanced meals. And that, my friends, is a hard habit to break. Something to work toward for sure – healing that food story. Do you have a food story? I bet you do if you’re on the food struggle-bus. Just las we all have a money story, we all have a food story, too.
Care for Mental Health
The mind-body connection is one of the key things to pay attention to if you want to take a holistic approach to health. Your mental health and the way your mind works can affect your physical health, and vice versa. When you have physical health problems, it can affect your mental health for various reasons, whether it’s because something in your body is affecting your mood or because the change in your life is getting you down. Poor mental health can lead to less care for your physical health too. That’s why it’s essential to take care of both together.
I also lean toward the belief that our bodies respond to what’s going on in our minds and the thoughts we are most focused on in our lives. If we’re focused on the doom and gloom of life, we’re likely to behave as if life is doom and gloom, and there’s nothing to be joyful about, right? Likewise, if we put our thoughts on a pedestal and truly pay attention to what we’re telling ourselves throughout the day or all of the problems we’re focusing on – we can see that those thoughts are likely harming our bodies.
This is what grief does to us. It swings the pendulum of joy in the opposite direction, and we must work daily to find balance. We must not neglect the sad, angry, or fearful feelings; rather, we must feel them to heal them, so we are not consumed by them.
Use a Health Tracker App
Keeping a close eye on your health, and the healthy things that you choose to do can help you to feel a sense of control. A health tracker app, perhaps paired with a wearable fitness tracker, is a great way to put yourself in control of your health. It can help you to get an overview of different aspects of your health, from exercising and your diet to practicing meditation and mindfulness. Different apps will offer varying features that might come in handy.
I personally wear a Garmin. I wanted a tracker that looked more like a watch. Also, before I gave up alcohol, my Garmin showed me how it negatively impacted me for up to 12 hours after. It was fascinating to see how consistently alcohol was adding stress to my body. I also see the same spike in stress during sleep when I’ve been gone shopping for a whole day. Crowds, lines, and shopping, in general, are not things I enjoy and are taxing to my energy. Another stat I’m able to monitor is how my cycle, step count, and so forth impact my sleep and stress throughout the day. I have found the Garmin to be very accurate, too, compared to my count when I’m on my treadmill. Using a health tracker for insight into your health is a great place to start. However, when you’re utilizing it to obsess over your step count, as I did years ago when I first got a FitBit, it is counter-productive to your mental health and overall well-being.
Find the Right Doctor
If you want to take a holistic approach to care for your health, it’s also a good idea to find a doctor who will do the same. Whether you’re looking for a primary care doctor or trying to find the right specialist, you need someone who will treat your whole person, rather than zeroing in on specific problems or symptoms and disregarding other factors.
I recently was referred to a naturopath a good friend who shared an educational video on hormones and how she approaches hormones holistically. It was eye-opening to me. I wish I could share it but, it was shared with my friend’s private community. This naturopath indicated that a female’s spit should be used to show accurate hormone levels and that they should be taken throughout the duration of a menstrual cycle to determine when any hormone dosage needs to be adjusted. She added that our hormones are directly related to our liver and tied to all bodily functions. So, hormones are pretty darn important. If you haven’t heard of “fatty liver,” look it up. Now, imagine how “fatty liver” is impacting your hormones and your entire body!
To take a holistic approach to your health, you need to consider every part of yourself. It’s also helpful to have support from health professionals who will do the same.
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