As the New Year approaches, people often take stock of their life and vow to make changes in the year ahead. Even with good intentions, an unfortunate reality is that many people fall off the bandwagon a few weeks into the new year because they’re unable to make lasting change. If you want this year to be the year you get out of old habits, a holistic lifestyle could be the secret to success you’ve been missing out on.
What is a Holistic Lifestyle?
A holistic lifestyle is one that is balanced across mind, body, and spirit. Adopting a holistic lifestyle means taking care of your mind by reducing stress, taking care of your physical well-being, and feeding your spirit, either through a traditional religion or other wellness practices.
A holistic lifestyle may be good for you, but how can it help you make change? Quite simply, the practices of a holistic lifestyle benefit you and your loved ones by reducing the barriers to growth and equipping you with positive tools for mental and physical well-being. With better tools and fewer bad habits, you can make progress on your path instead of giving up. Better yet, you will enjoy the journey!
Holistic Changes to Make in the New Year
Physical well-being is important to your overall health and your energy levels. When you don’t feel good and don’t have enough energy to get through the day, no wonder you can’t make change. By taking care of your physical wellness, you can have more energy, more vitality, and even a more attractive appearance.
As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat,” so the cornerstone of physical wellness is healthy eating. Reduce the amount of sugar and artificial substances in your diet by choosing whole foods over processed foods. Swap cuts of meat, choosing lean over fatty meats. Save favorite foods that might be unhealthy (such as bacon or chocolate) for an occasional treat. If you try to cut these foods out all together, it might increase the risk of binge eating after a bad day. As you clean up your diet, you will feel better and have more energy and you may notice the pounds begin to come off.
Working out helps your mind and body, because it reduces stress, builds muscle mass, and keeps you moving. Sitting is one of the worst things you can do for your body, and the antidote is physical activity. Start small if you have been sedentary, for example by taking 10-minute walks in the neighborhood. If you lack motivation to work out consistently, ask a friend to work out with you or find a fitness class near you. Classes build accountability because you pay upfront and most people don’t want to waste money.
Spirituality is part of the trinity of holistic living, and your spiritual practice can take any form. For some people, it’s attending a church or temple service. For others, spirituality is spending time in nature. Others express spirituality by living out their values, for instance by volunteering in the community to demonstrate compassion.
If you practice a faith tradition, attend regular services or develop daily or weekly rituals in which you connect to your religion. If you don’t have a faith tradition but want to, consider this your chance to explore different religions and see what speaks to you. If you have no interest in religion, consider what you value and how you can live in alignment with these values for a simple yet effective spiritual practice.
If you feel overloaded by stress, you are not alone. Many people suffer from high levels of stress and do not know have to protect their mental well-being. Increasing physical activity releases hormones that reduce stress, so there’s another reason to hit the gym. Learning positive habits that protect your mental well-being will further reduce your stress load.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to calm your mind and reduce symptoms of anxiety such as racing thoughts. Meditation can be as simple as following your breath as you breathe in and out. Practice for a few minutes at a time to begin to cultivate a meditation habit.
One of the best ways to counteract stress is engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy, so find time to do things that make you relax and unwind. Cut out negative self-talk, which is a habit many people aren’t even aware they engage in. If your mind is constantly critical of your actions, it’s hard to feel good about yourself.
One simple way to reduce negative self-talk is to notice every time you’re criticizing yourself and write it down. If you do this for a single day, you’ll get an idea of all the unhelpful criticisms you engage in and how drained you feel as a result. Then you can start to notice every time you’re picking on yourself and redirect your mind with a positive affirmation.
Adopting holistic lifestyle habits will lead to a more positive outlook on life, which can help you stay on track toward your goals. These habits can also transform your friends and family by changing the ways you relate to other people. There are many benefits to be gained and no down sides to taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.