Growing up is a beautiful thing. We go from being small enough to fit in the palm of someone’s hand, to our first words and steps. Then we develop relationships, go to school, graduate, and become adults. Our journeys are unique and so are our experiences. Everything we go through contributes to the shaping of who we are.
In my case, I would say I wanted to grow up a bit too fast. I was eager to look and act like an adult way before my time. That type of thinking led to me trying alcohol and getting drunk for the first time at age 9. I loved the way it made me feel, so against my better judgment, I kept drinking. By age 13, liquor was no longer having much of an effect on me, so I started experimenting with harder drugs. Meth, cocaine, ketamine, and marijuana were among the many drugs I tried and got addicted to.
Fast forward a decade and I found myself getting thrown in jail on drug-related charges. That time was particularly difficult for me because my predicament forced me to stop consuming drugs and alcohol. If you’re not familiar with withdrawal, I can tell you that it’s not fun. After many sleepless nights and dark thoughts, I got through it
When I was released, rehab provided me with the tools to get my life back on track. I learned about fighting cravings and the road to a successful recovery. Yet, with a blank slate, I still felt lost and unsure of myself. A brief phone call with my sponsor taught me that I should try and counter all the negative ways I had been treating my body with healthier, more productive activities. That’s when I started learning about holistic health.
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Having a holistic lifestyle means understanding that your body’s physical, mental and spiritual health all work together in unison. If you have an illness or you don’t feel well, you learn to analyze the origin of that sickness. You focus on being healthy not just by physical standards but by mental and spiritual ones as well. Whereas in traditional medicine, only the symptoms are treated. Among the many practices are yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and so on.
Your energies are classified into three categories: spiritual energy, physical energy, and mental energy.
Spiritual: is developed through practices that involve dedicating yourself to spiritual beliefs. This could be under the form of religion or religious traditions.
Physical: has to do with body health. The food you eat, how much exercise you get, spending lots of time outside and having healthy habits.
Mental: similar to spiritual energy, mental energy focuses on ways to keep your mind healthy and free of mental health issues. These include addiction and depression. Yoga is a popular form of mental energy practice.
Holistic health is a big lifestyle change, and it can be kind of overwhelming at first. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry because you’re not alone. In this article, I’m going to talk about 5 simple steps that can get you on your way to holistic living. These are small initial changes to your life that you can implement and lay the groundwork for a gradual shift to a healthy life.
Let’s get started:
1. Unplug From The World
Have you seen anyone recently that didn’t have their phone with them at all times? They are completely in sync to these gadgets. We use them to check our Facebook and other social media sites. Also, watch the news on TV for hours on end. Every waking moment is accompanied by technology. Sometimes, you need to disconnect.
The first step is for you to rediscover the beauty of a sunset. Or, spend a couple minutes every day just staring out the window. Go on a hike with some friends and find a viewpoint. In essence, do anything to stay away from your email or your Instagram, even if it’s for an hour a day. The benefits of reducing your time online are plenty; even if it’s just for one day!
2. Get a New Hobby
Hobbies are great. I’m sure you already have one at this point, but what if you were to pick up another? Hobbies reduce stress and increase levels of happiness in an individual. It just so happens that stress is one of the main reasons for relapse in recovering addicts. A hobby is usually recommended upon my release from the clinic.
Even if you’re not great at having a hobby, there’s plenty of stuff you can try. For me, basketball started off as my hobby and is now my passion. I love getting together with friends and shooting hoops. I’ve met lots of new people from the games we play against other teams. It’s an excellent combination of exercise and deepening my relationships with existing friends.
3. Change Your Diet
Improving the way you eat is all about self-discipline. You need to be able to say no to soft drinks and junk food. Eliminate drugs and smoking from your life. Cut down alcohol intake to the bare minimum. If you don’t feel confident that you can do that, then start slow. Get rid of one habit after another. Remember to set goals. If you try to drop everything at the same time, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
If you need some help, you could look into holistic diets. They’re full of nutrients. In the end, a diet change comes down to buying different products when you go shopping for groceries.
4. Practice Mindfulness
When you practice mindfulness, you learn to appreciate the present moment. Whether it be the emotions you’re feeling, the food you’re eating or the sights you’re seeing, you learn to take a step back and rejoice. This is especially important in our noisy world. People are always in a hurry, always have work backlogged, or meetings to attend. Mindfulness counters the chaos of daily life by allowing you to take a break from it all.
It’s easy to start. Once you notice a moment you’re having, you stop everything you’re doing and embrace it. It can be done at work or at home; anywhere. The benefits of mindfulness are well-researched and proven!
5. Sleep more
We all love to get as much sleep as possible, but sometimes our lives don’t allow us to get the amount we’d like. The way I did it, was that I started going to bed earlier instead of waking up later. I realized that the only thing which was keeping me awake was the television. I’d stay up for countless hours and know I’d regret it the next morning.
Sleep benefits your mental health as well as your physical health. People don’t place as much importance on it as they should. Often times we neglect sleep to do extra work, or because we can’t shut our eyes quite yet. Don’t make any excuses. Do everything you can to get those full 8 hours. Change your schedule around to make sure you have time to sleep. It all starts with giving it the importance it deserves.
To conclude, those are the 5 initial steps that can accommodate your schedule while still moving towards holistic health. I get it, sometimes our current work lives don’t allow us to invest the time and energy in a practice such as yoga, which requires dedication. While you may want to progress as quickly as possible, know that it doesn’t work that way. You can’t wake up one morning and say to yourself that you will change every aspect of your life to become healthier. It needs to be gradual. You need to set realistic goals to reach while rewarding your own accomplishments. Above all, determination is a must. Good luck!