Six Key Pillars To Holistic Health & Why You Need to Know Them
Holistic self care begins with knowing and understanding the six key pillars to holistic health and caring for your “whole” self. However we typically focus on our physical ailments because it is easier to work on or “fix” what we can see. As difficult as it may be, you can eventually lose weight, strengthen your muscles to alleviate pain and tension or take vitamins and supplements to balance out deficiencies. But what happens when you’ve done all of that and although you feel better than when you started, you continue to struggle on some level. This is why holistic health is so important. But what is holistic health? How do you look at yourself holistically?
What is Holistic Health
Holistic health encourages you to recognize the whole person that you are, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually. Rather than focusing on symptoms, holistic health encourages going deeper and understanding what’s causing the symptom in the first place. More often than not, when you find and treat the root cause, the symptoms go with it.
Six Key Pillars To Holistic Health
The six key pillars to holistic health are:
When developing your self care routine, make sure that you are addressing each pillar. Depending on what is currently going on in your life, you may allocate more time and energy to one pillar over the others. The key is to make sure that you don’t neglect any one pillar. Let’s break down what each of these pillars are and what they would look like (with examples) in your everyday life.
Physical Holistic Health
Your body is the vessel that you are living and experiencing life in. So taking care of it is important. If your body is performing optimally, then it makes taking care of the other pillars that much more difficult. Have you ever tried to sleep when you’re in pain? Almost impossible to do without pain killers and other modalities.
This is why you need to adopt a self care routine that has some focus on the body. Here are some self care ideas to add to your routine:
- Adding fresh fruits and veggies to at least one of your meals per day
- Walking out in nature for at least 30 minutes
- Drink more water
- Strengthen train to keep your muscles and bones strong
- Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep
- Improve your posture
These are just a few examples of physical ways to improve your health holistically.
TIP: Try implementing one of these things into to your routine every 21 days. This will give you enough time to form the habit and help you do it more consistently.
Mental Holistic Health
The holistic approach in regards to your mental health is similar to physical holistic treatment. We recognize the symptoms however we treat the person as a whole looking at how all the other five areas can affect your mental health.
Here are some ways you can start taking care of your mental health:
- Mediate - start with 5 minutes
- Take regular social media breaks
- Practice mindfulness
- Join a support group or private therapy/counselling
- Learn how to create and enforce boundaries
- Practice gratitude
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms
Over the last decade it has definitely less taboo to talk about mental health however we still have work to do individually to make sure that we seek help when we need it, speak up and express ourselves and implement seemingly small but daily habits to get us closer to better mental health.
Emotional Holistic Health
You’ve probably heard of IQ, have you ever heard of EQ? EQ stands for emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the one’s ability to perceive, use, understand, manage and handle emotions. The state of your emotional health can both positively or negatively affect your relationships - with self and others.
Here are some ways you can start improving your emotional intelligence and taking better care of your emotional health:
- End relationships with negative, toxic, unsupportive or difficult people
- Accept your feelings without judgement
- Learn to forgive yourself and others
- Learn to let go
- Start taking responsibility for your life
- Prioritize your needs
Working on your emotional health can be challenging when you don’t know where you start. I highly recommend reading the book “ Letting Go” by David R. Hawkins. Letting Go describes simple and effective ways to let go of things in our lives on our way to enlightenment. How to truly surrender and experience a fuller, happier life in all of the areas we talked about. Check out more about the book - Letting Go: The Pathway Of Surrender.
Spiritual Holistic Health
First and foremost, spiritual health can be both religious and non religious in nature. Everyone no matter what religion you prescribe to (even if you believe there is no God) can benefit from spiritual self care. We all have a spirit and it comprises of our intellect, emotions, fears, passions, and creativity. Taking care of your spiritual health gets you to look deeper within, questioning and challenging what we’ve been taught as well as what we believe as truth. It’s a life-long journey of discovery, rediscovery and looking beyond yourself.
Add some or all of these tips to your self care routine:
- Dedicate time for self reflection
- Spend time in nature
- Cleanse your space and energy
- Test your limits (don’t be afraid to take risks in line with your needs and wants)
- Unplug (social media, alone time etc)
If you’ve reached this far you’ve probably noticed that a lot of the self care examples can benefit all six key pillars to holistic health. Everything is connected, remember that!
Social Holistic Health
The ways in which we form healthy and positive relationships with others. We are social creatures - yes even you introverts! We crave healthy relationships and connections with others. Research has shown the link between social relationships and our overall health. So once again we see the importance of making self care in all of these areas a priority.
Here’s how you can improve your social health:
- Learn to break the cycle of holding on to toxic relationships
- Recognize how people influence you and vice versa
- Ask for what you need from others - we are not mind readers!
- Respect and love yourself - everything stems from within
- Engage in hobbies and extracurricular activities
- Learn to be comfortable alone - you can’t expect people to enjoy your company if you don’t
- Get comfortable with saying “No”
Intellectual Holistic Health
Intellectual health refers to being open to new ideas and experiences, and the desire to increase understanding, improve skills, and continually challenge yourself. Your mind can be a beautiful place. Don’t be afraid to explore it, dispose of limiting beliefs and adopt newer concepts. Here are some ways to do that:
- Develop a growth mindset
- Read more
- Learn a language
- Try something new regularly
- Stay curious
- Question things you don’t understand or have doubts about
- Seek truth over being right
- Travel - expose yourself to different cultures and ways of life
- Play brain games
Remember that when it comes to improving your intellectual health, it’s all about being open to new ideas, tapping into your creativity, discovering more about yourself and your potential, thinking critically and expanding your knowledge and skills.
How To Take Care Of Your Holistic Health
The short and long term benefits of taking care of all six key pillars to holistic health are endless. No need to overwhelm yourself or make things complicated. Start with just a couple of ideas from any one of the pillars - one step in a better direction is better than staying where you are. Taking care of yourself holistically simply means taking the whole person into consideration versus parts of you. Let that be your focus and you will be one step closer to living a more balanced, healthy and meaningful life.