Here we are the last day of 2017 and I am feeling pumped. Odd to say that as this year has been a lot of ups and downs – moving to a new state and the loss of my father to name a couple. What I am pumped about is the realization of who I am, what my values and priorities are and what are my goals. I have been living a holistic lifestyle for quite sometime and I have noticed a complete transformation on how I react to certain circumstances, my mood, my mental state, my attitude, my outlook and I have to say it is the best feeling to be in control of your mind and your entire being. I want to share with you my tips of how to live a holistic life in this new year so you too can be in control of your own life.
What is living holistic? Just like the word means from Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system.
What this means is that to live healthy is to not just concentrate on one area: such as fitness or diet, etc. But to look at yourself as a whole being and start with your mental state, then figuring out your needs and desires to which everything else will fall into place.
Seems easier said than done right? Not a chance…it is that easy! The difference is that you have accept that you are not perfect, that if you want true change in your life, then you have to be willing to put in the work and be open minded. But how you ask? Well let’s start from the top down:
Mindfulness and Meditation
I have written about the benefits of both mindfulness and meditation and how it can help cope and deal with so much in your life such as anxiety, overwhelm, stress, focus and now for me, grief. If there is one thing to get in the habit this year is meditation. You can start 5 minutes and work your way up but do some research on what type of meditation will work for you and your schedule…but do it! I start my morning with a 10 min guided meditation some days transcendental, other days positive, confidence and then other days coping. One thing that is in common is being present and how we do that is to concentrate on our breathing. We have so much going on in our lives that we miss it or we take for granted the “time” we think we have. When you let go of the past, stop stressing about the future (or what has yet to happen) and just be in the present, it changes your whole dynamic. You start to become grateful for your breath, your being and what you already have in your life…the important things – family, friends, love. This has helped me with grieving for my dad, as it was hard to let go, I know by being present and holding on to our memories in my head everything will be ok. Being mindful for just 10 minutes of every morning, sets the mood for the day and creates a snowball effect of positivity. I have never heard of anyone who had a negative experience with meditation. So what are you waiting for?
Ack, I hate that word and almost didn’t type it, but it’s a universal word that everyone understands. But the reason why I hate that word is because it is not a behavioral change, it is temporary and on everyone’s #1 list for resolutions (another word I hate). I normally get conflicted on how to communicate the best way to change your behavior with food as to risk sounding like every other “expert” and make a blanket statement without individualizing it. Bottom line, ditch the processed crap! That’s it!
I want to tell you a story how I did it. I started with a Whole30 diet and with a lot of research and being mindful of how certain foods made me feel, I started ditching what I thought was healthy to only realize that the marketing gurus for these companies did a great job! I bought into the low fat hype, the “substitute” way of eating for the sheer fact of ignorance and laziness. I wanted to change and change I did. I became more focused, energized and overall positivity. From the Whole30 I continued to label my lifestyle as to pigeon whole my eating habits. What I came to realize (recently even) that I am not Paleo or Keto but I have gone through some trials to know what works and what doesn’t. And what worked for me a few years ago, doesn’t now…especially the older I get. So in the end, I don’t track my macros (protein, carbs, fats), I don’t calorie count, I just eat when I am hungry. I figured out the secret sauce…finally…and it wasn’t easy.
This is what I am telling you, is that it is not easy, but if you want a lifelong behavioral change you have to work at it and keep tweaking until you have a healthier relationship with food. Just remember that your body is a temple not a garbage can. Also remember that our gut health is directly related to our brain health (this is the direct result of my being focused when I ditched the crap).
I don’t care what you do or how you do it…just move!!!! One thing I caution are those who make the resolutions (there is that ugly word again), that they are going to lose 10, 15, 20 pounds in a short amount of time and how to do so is to workout endlessly for an hour (usually on a piece of cardio equipment). I applaud the enthusiasm, but not only is this not sustainable, it is not smart. First you have to understand your likes and what your body responds to well, then make attainable goals. A trainer is a good investment to anyone just starting out or who constantly do the “workout in January and then quit” thing. Not only will the trainer teach you proper form to avoid injury but will also hold you accountable…the money alone will be accountable enough! Start small, maybe go walking during lunch or walk around the office on your breaks (sometimes I walk in the nearby mall during my lunch). Stretch, do some body weight movements – squats, push ups, sit ups. Just do something at least 20 minutes a day. Once you get moving, it becomes a habit and let me just tell you, those endorphins are kick ass!
This one is very, very important! I find social media is a double edge sword. At one end it is an awesome way to gain exposure for a business and brand or to keep in touch with friends and family, on the other end it is self deprecating and full of false comparisons and sometimes too much information (the TMI affect). It is so much clutter and distraction that it can consume someone who is vulnerable and just looking for a straight answer. What I will say, is that the answer does not lie in what others say who you should be, how you should be or how you should live. It lies within you and how you find that is by soul searching. This takes time and will continue to evolve throughout your life. But knowing what your values are, what you stand for, who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world is your foundation…is what keeps you grounded for what life throws at you. I have done a lot of reading, and listen to a lot of podcasts from mentors and successful people who have dealt with adversity and come from nothing but yet come out strong. It is not so much motivation but an understanding of where I came from, what my beliefs were and are now (and how they are completely different) and the growth mindset. Read, listen to positive people, be challenged daily (this will show how you react to things), and stand up for what you believe in! This development will open your eyes to understand not only how you talk to yourself, but how you talk to others. It is also a gateway to living happier once you are grounded.
Here’s to a happier and healthier 2018
This is long, I know. The longest post I have written yet, but it is only the tip of how to live holistically in the new year. When you are reflecting today on everything that has happened the past year, don’t just look at all the bad but also reflect on all the good…and even the bad, look at it as lessons or experiences that make you stronger. Having a healthy mind, body and soul will always lead to true happiness.