Simple Guide to Holistic Living
Oh the beauty of holistic living! Holistic Wellness can be defined as a form of whole body nourishment and healing. Healing for the mind, body and spirit. Holistic practitioners are known to use methods that aim to treat the body as a whole, rather than only focusing on the part of the body that is ill or injured. There are so many wonderful holistic practices including yoga, meditation, tai chi, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, herbal remedies, reflexology, naturopathy and Ayurveda to name a few. These are all incredible alternatives to traditional medicine that truly bring optimal healing to every aspect of the individual. I have indulged in so many holistic forms of healing and they have all made such a remarkable, positive change in my overall well-being. In addition to seeking out these healing practices, it is also so important to adopt your own unique approach to holistic living simply within the dwelling of your own personal space. I am here to share a fun, simple guide to help bring a holistic way of living into your home and your everyday life!
Clear Mind, Lifted Spirit!
Wellness of the mind and spirit is an internal work that progresses you daily toward your fullest potential of true living. Our precious mind is so complex, yet so powerful. There is a word “mushin” in Japan which means to empty your mind and accept positivity. If we could fully adopt this concept, then I believe we would have the keys to unlock optimal health. Our mind and our thoughts can have a direct affect on our physical body. If we are in a constant state of stress and anxiety, then we are flooding our system with stress hormones and wreaking havoc on the internal working of our organs. The result can show up in our physical bodies through headaches, poor digestion, acne, breakouts, hair loss, depression, compromised immune system, etc. When our mind is not clear, or at least in the working of being cleared, then we are bringing harm to ourselves. Trust me, I know that settling the mind is much easier said than done, but let’s just start one day at a time.
First, start with a good night’s rest. For me, it helps to avoid any screen time at least thirty minutes before bed to help ease me into a restful state. Good sleep is so vital for good health. Our bodies go through a healing cycle as we sleep. Sleep affects our immune system as well as our stress and growth hormones. Ideally, it is best to be asleep around the 10:00pm hour as the body does it’s reset close to midnight. However, unless the body is fully asleep it does not properly reset as it should. Good sleep has endless benefits, such as regulating stress, mood, mental health, intellectual function, alertness, appetite, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, inflammation, weight, calorie burn, energy, etc. So with that said, make an intention to set a calming mood in your bedroom, ease your mind and allow sleep to heal you.
After a restful night, wake up in the morning and exercise the mind - say a prayer, meditate, rest in silence, take deep inhales and exhales while still in bed or listen to something inspiring. Do whatever allows you to ease into an intention of mindfulness and being present. The mind can also be lifted through our 5 senses - smell, hearing, sight, touch, taste. You can infuse delightful smells in your home with a few drops of essential oil in your diffuser or burn a little palo santo for cleansing. Open your window to hear the birds sing or turn on your favorite feel good song. Read a couple pages from an inspiring book or glance at your own hand-written sticky notes full of uplifting quotes. Get out in nature to feel the sun on your skin and pick up your journal to write down three or four things that you are grateful for. Make your favorite morning tea and allow a few minutes to just sit and enjoy it. I set aside a lot of time for my morning so I tend to perform all (or most) of these, but if you don’t have the time that is okay. You can just choose one that sustains you and make it a part of your wake up routine.
Adopt any method that helps you rest in a space of contentment and inner peace. Your methods might look completely different than other people’s methods and that is okay. Do whatever works for you. A settled mind, settles the spirit. You are taking those first few moments of your morning to fill up your happy tank and intentionally welcome joy and gratitude into your space of being. Reframing your mind as soon as you wake up allows you to set up your day for beautiful success.
Move your Body, Baby!
Movement in the body wakes up our senses, gets our blood flowing and offers a physical boost both internally and externally. Don’t let movement intimidate you. Maybe your movement is an intense interval training workout or maybe a gentle yoga class. Maybe you just take a quick walk around the block or perform a few mindful stretches as soon as your feet hit the ground. You can head out to a gym or just find movement in the comfort of your own home. All of it is great! Just move my friend. Treat your body and your body will treat you. Movement allows for an increase in energy, relieves stress, helps promote good digestion, lifts your mood and offers strength to the physical body. Movement promotes a happy body with a happy mind that shoots out happy signals within the body that work into your cells and bloodstream. Therefore, with mindful movement, you are creating health from the outside in!
If you have a busy day, no worries. You can commit to two minutes or two hours, just strive to make your wellness a priority. As a yoga instructor, I always encourage my students to just come as they are, even if they don’t feel like they can give 100% of themselves on their mat that day. There is beauty in just simply showing up for yourself in the areas that can sometimes be the most difficult, but also the most rewarding and life-giving. More than likely you are waking up to a day full of responsibilities, so make sure your happy tank is full before you give of yourself to others. Remember, your wellness is important! If you are depleted, then there will be nothing to offer your family, friends, workplace, etc. The airlines have it right, you first have to give yourself oxygen (room to breathe, methods to sustain you) and then give oxygen to others.
Let’s Talk Holistic Nutrition!
Mmmm, nutrition is one of my favorite topics! The best way to approach holistic nutrition is to see it as a beautiful opportunity to love and care for your body from the inside out. It is not meant to be restrictive, but rather to offer the idea of mindful eating. Holistic nutrition is a lifestyle. It is simply whole body nutrition - nourishing both the mind and the body. Our wonderful bodies are so resilient and fully capable of healing itself from the inside out if we can properly provide it with the right nourishment to thrive. Each individual is different in their approach to accepting a holistic lifestyle. The transition usually starts with a “why”. Why do you want to start being more mindful of what you eat? Write it down and stick it on your fridge. Usually your “why” is what propels you forward, continues to keep you inspired and motivates you to be more health conscious in your approach to food. Food should never be viewed as bad. Food is what sustains us, gives us life and nourishes our wonderful bodies. Sometimes, our relationship with food requires an inner working to determine if we eat to live or live to eat. The mental aspect of holistic nutrition is when you can come to an understanding of just how important what you put into your body directly affects your hormones, mood, energy, skin, hair, etc. Changing what you eat, changes how you live. Once you are able to really grasp this concept, then it becomes easier to embark on the journey of this healing lifestyle.
Holistic nutrition has an emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods. Don’t worry, there is no need to start throwing everything out of your pantry, just start adding in more whole foods a little at a time. Believe it or not, the holistic approach allows you to bring a form of simplicity to your kitchen. The products you need are typically found on the outskirts of the grocery store - fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, healthy oils, vegetables, healthy grains and lean meats. Even better, connect with your local farmer’s market and purchase your produce from local growers. Have a conversation with the farmers to hear how their foods are being grown and cared for. Maybe grab a tip or two to start growing your own herbs in your backyard. The easiest approach for me is to avoid most things that come packaged or with a long list of unknown ingredients. Besides the lean meat, if it grows directly from the ground or the trees then it typically fits inside the realm of clean eating!
Holistic nutrition encourages a beautiful relationship with your kitchen. Use your hands to prepare nourishing meals and find enjoyment in the preparation. When you are able to make your own meals in your own kitchen, then it allows you to know the exact ingredients that are going into your body. This approach leaves no room for second guessing if your meal is truly healthy or not. I always love to encourage seasoning food with food. There is no harm in finding fresh seasoning powders from the market, but play around with the option to use whole onions, garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, fresh oregano, etc to season your food. My friend, there are so many nutrients found in herbs! So when you add your favorite herb as seasoning, not only are you giving your taste buds a little party, but you are also adding an extra kick of nutrients to your meal. Get creative and start to make your own sauces, dressings and other condiments. Pinterest is stock full of great ideas and has a lot of easy recipes to follow. Your homemade hummus or salad dressing might taste a little different than the store bought items that you are used to, but it is so much better for you, I promise! Your homemade goodness can be made without all of the extra sugar, salt, preservatives, fillers, unnatural flavoring, etc. Just try it out! Grab a friend or two and have a little Pinterest recipe party!
I completely understand that life can be super busy and it might be easier to grab and go with your meals. However, if you can find just a couple days a week to have a little date night with yourself in your kitchen, then it will be a much healthier option and also cut down on your extra spending. Get creative and have fun! You can meal prep the day before or just simplify your ingredients to make a quick, easy and yummy meal. If meal prepping or daily cooking is not a possibility, then find establishments in your area that source well and are conscious about what goes into their food. Most restaurants have at least one or two healthy options on their menu, just choose accordingly. And enjoy it!
A holistic lifestyle does not ask for perfection, it simply asks for conscious, mindful effort. Just do your best to make healthy choices. If one week you aren’t able to eat as healthy as you planned, it does not mean that you have failed. There is a brand new week right around the corner, waiting to embrace healthier choices. That is the beautiful thing about adopting this approach as a lifestyle, rather than a quick diet fix. Holistic wellness is consciously making daily decisions that promote healthy nourishment for the mind, body and spirit. One part does not work without the others. You have to find enjoyment in the process. If we are constantly dreading what we are eating, then we are missing the point. Find foods that you enjoy! If your favorite meal is a Mexican bowl from a particular restaurant then have fun getting creative in your kitchen to figure out how you can make the same dish with clean, whole ingredients. Turn on your favorite playlist, open the windows to let in a little breeze and find enjoyment in your own wonderful space. Preparing your meals can be so much fun if you allow it to be and it can also be a much healthier option of dining. Life is meant to be enjoyed my friend. Consciously making healthier choices for yourself should be an exciting experience!
Hair, Skin and Nails! Oooh La La!
Anything that is flourishing on the outside can be a direct connection to what is flourishing on the inside. So, now that we know different ways to help settle the mind and remove stress toxins, we are allowing our body to function properly which has a direct affect on cell growth for hair, skin and nails. If you want to look good on the outside, let me introduce you to one of your new best friends - WATER! Hydration is the foundation of your cells properly working together in a way that promotes healthy growth of your hair and nails, along with a million other functions of your body. The amount of water that you should drink is typically half of your body weight in ounces. Believe me, I know drinking water can feel like a daunting task to some people, but it all starts with intention. Just start with first becoming aware of how much water you typically drink within a day. Then the next day, be intentional to drink just a little more. Purchase a sustainable water bottle that you can take around with you throughout the day. Have a tall glass of warm water as soon you wake up in the morning. My favorite thing to do is to add in a fresh squeeze of lemon (or lime) in the water, as lemons are great for promoting healthy skin. You can even make it into a yummy tea!
Warm lemon water is the perfect morning treat as it is also a wonderful antioxidant that helps with your immune system, stimulates the liver, promotes healthy digestion, and helps improve elimination and detoxification. These are all things that help your body function properly; thus, promoting healthy cells for your skin, hair and nails. Other foods that are helpful are your healthy greens and foods that are rich in Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Healthy Fats, Protein and Omega 3’s (wild caught fish, spinach, kale, broccoli, spirulina, orange root veggies, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, green peppers, avocados, coconut oil, tomatoes, beets, lentils, blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, etc). Below you will find a quick and easy recipe for vibrant skin. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best ingredients for healthy skin and hair. As we are entering into the glorious fall season, there will be lots of fresh pumpkins available to make this fun concoction of goodness! So make sure to dig out your fresh pumpkin seeds before you do your carving!
Pumpkin Seed Mask
1/2 cup Fresh Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tablespoon Jojoba Oil
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Rhassoul Clay
3 drops of carrot seed essential oil
3 drops of lavender essential oil
- Add fresh pumpkin seeds, jojoba oil and honey to a high speed blender. Blend until smooth.
- Transfer blended ingredients to a glass dish and add in the clay. Make sure to stir with a wood or glass utensil as any type of metal can deactivate the clay. Option to add in your essential oils here.
- Smooth the mask onto your skin in a thick layer and let it sit on your skin for about 30 minutes to dry. After 30 minutes, use warm water and a cloth to wipe off. Use gentle upward strokes.
- Enjoy fresh, hydrated skin!
Fun Fact: This recipe can also be used as a hair mask before washing! Allow ingredients to nourish your scalp and hair for about 10-15 minutes before washing!
My friend, I am so happy that I was able to share a few, simple ways to bring holistic living into your everyday life. Just start one day at a time and allow each moment to be enjoyable. It all begins with intention and you have already taken the first step by setting aside this time to inform yourself on ways to live better. It is so wonderful to embrace a life of intentionally loving and caring for yourself and receiving it right back in return through a clear mind, lifted heart and healthy body. This holistic lifestyle choice is a joyful experience of whole body nourishment. It allows you to create healthy routines and find the most effective ways to maintain them. You are accepting an intentional way of existing throughout your day that promotes conscious, healthy choices for the mind, body and spirit. Holistic Wellness allows you to live a life that encourages you to be better for yourself and without even trying, indirectly better for everyone around you. Thus, you are contributing goodness into your life and back into the world by just simply, being!
Until we meet again sweet friends - Be happy, be healthy, be whole!