Wellness is the ultimate state of wholeness that can be achieved by a human being. It is the physical, mental, spiritual, and practical utopia of the human experience. While both proper nutrition and adequate levels of exercise are crucial components of wellness — they are merely two of the eight pillars that comprise the collective entity of holistic wellness.
The word holistic means that the different parts of one thing are all intimately interconnected to form a whole. In terms of holistic wellness, this means that a person is treated as a whole. The 8 pillars of wellness include, physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental. From viewing the human body as a whole made up of interdependent parts, to prescribing natural remedies and medicine as an alternative medicine solution for healing the body at the root of the issue.
Holistic healing is an ancient approach to medicine that emphasizes the study of the mind, body, and spirit. The practice of holism is not a new medical concept since the introduction of holistic medicine dates back in time 2500 years ago but is extremely relevant to us today, especially professionals in the demanding workplace.
5 Key Health Benefits of Holistic Wellness
1. Improved Emotional and Spiritual Wellbeing – Holistic therapy such as personal counseling and the practice of meditation and mindfulness can have a positive impact on your emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
2. Improved Social Wellbeing – All humans thrive on real human connection and interaction. Holistic wellness teaches and encourages you to work on social relationships and in-person connections.
3. Improved Mental Wellbeing – Holistic wellness encourage you to prioritize their mental health every day. This can be achieved through mindfulness and actively seeking out educational opportunities. Regular exercise and improved gut health are also key to a clearly functioning mind.
4. Improved Physical Wellbeing – Holistic wellness encourages optimal physical health through regular exercise, prioritizing sleep, a healthy, and a well-balanced diet.
5. Disease Prevention – Holistic wellbeing is focused on healing a person as a whole, rather than just a set of symptoms. This means that the long-term prevention of disease is also a major health benefit.
Holistic Wellness for Today’s professional
Professionals are beginning to expect wellness programs as core workplace offerings. However, research from Thomsons Online Benefits found that only 40 percent of employers prioritize employee well-being in their benefits strategies. But holistic wellness should be prioritized and you do not have to wait for your organization to achieve this.
Samantha is a clinical social worker, certified yoga teacher, kids yoga educator, and wellness blogger living in Colorado with her husband. As a wellness advocate, she is passionate about sharing holistic wellness practices with others, especially helping professionals. Her wellness blog, Balanced Social Worker (BSW) shares practical and sustainable wellness practices that help you prioritize self-care, find balance and live mindfully.
Check out our Q&A with her below and follow her social links for more tips on how to prioritize your wellness.
Please can you tell us about your journey, and how you first got interested in yoga?
I went to my first yoga class in 2017, and it took me a while to return to another. I felt out of place and unseen. I was dealing with chronic pain from a car accident, and sensitive knees from years of basketball-related injuries. I was hoping that yoga would provide me with a low-impact way to exercise. At the time, I had no idea what many of the poses were even called and struggled to follow along, with not much guidance from the teacher. I walked out of that class feeling discouraged.
I attended a few more yoga classes intermittently with friends but really started to find a love for the practice when I started practicing at home with my husband following videos on YouTube. It wasn’t until 2019 that I started developing a more consistent yoga practice.
In what ways has yoga impacted your life and health?
Yoga has been a complement to my overall wellness journey. In 2017 I adopted a plant-based/vegetarian lifestyle around the same time I started engaging in physical exercise more regularly. I was doing High Intensity Interval training 4 times a week, and yoga was a great way to stretch and give my body the rest it needed after hard workouts.
Through the practice of meditation and yoga, I have started to live more mindfully. Overall I have become more aware of the mind-body connection and feel more confident in my body.
What does balance mean to you — and how do you create it in your life?
Balance to me means living mindfully, feeling grounded and holistically well. I create balance in my life by setting intentions, meditating, journaling, engaging in some form of physical movement/activity, getting energy from eating plant-based foods, and sleeping 8+ hours a night. I strive to do all of these things every day.
What non-related issues (e.g., sleep habits) do you believe are important to pair with a yoga practice?
Connecting with your breath is important to pair with a yoga practice. I get the most out of my practice when I am in the present moment and connected to my breath because it helps me link my mind to my body. I think developing mindfulness practices off the yoga mat is even more important than the physical practice of yoga.
What advice would you give someone who feels uncomfortable with the idea of trying yoga?
Yoga is a journey, and we’re always learning something new. It is a process-oriented practice that can teach you a lot about yourself. There are 8 limbs of yoga, and the physical practice (asanas) is just one part of it. You can use the tools of yoga to help you to become more grounded and connected with yourself.
Remember, all bodies are meant for yoga. Trust yourself, be gentle and patient with yourself, and make it your own.