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The Journey To Whole Health: A Beginner’s Guide

What does it mean to be truly healthy? In today’s world of fad diets, workout crazes, and an obsession with living longer, it’s easy to lose sight of what holistic health really looks like. Achieving whole health goes far beyond eating kale salads and spending hours at the gym. It’s about nurturing every aspect of your wellbeing – mind, body, and spirit.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explore the key principles of whole health and simple ways you can start incorporating them into your life. Whole health is a lifestyle shift that takes time, self-compassion, and an openness to try new things. Consider this your invitation to begin the journey.

What is Whole Health?

Whole health is an approach to living that balances all aspects of your health and wellbeing1.

The model includes eight interconnected components:

Healthy eating: Nourishing your body with nutrient-dense whole foods. Not restrictive dieting.

Physical activity: Moving your body regularly in ways you enjoy. This looks diferent for everyone.

Sleep: Getting enough quality sleep to restore and recharge.

Relaxation: Taking time to unwind and manage stress through activities like yoga, meditation, massage, etc.

Relationships: Surrounding yourself with positive personal and community connections.

Spirit and soul: Exploring activities that nourish your spirituality, creativity, and sense of meaning and purpose.

Work-life balance: Finding fulflling work aligned with your values and interests.

Surroundings: Creating a home environment and community that brings you joy and supports your goals.

The key is balance. No one component is more important than the others. Together they allow you to thrive physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.

Why Whole Health Matters

With rising rates of chronic illness, mental health struggles, and loneliness, our conventional approach to health is failing us. We’ve been conditioned to view health as the absence of disease and to hand responsibility for it over to doctors. But true health is far more than just “not being sick.” It’s having energy, a sense of meaning and purpose, rewarding relationships, and the resilience to handle life’s ups and downs.

Whole health reminds us that health is not just physical – it’s mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and involves our environment. And it’s something only YOU can cultivate through the choices you make each day. No doctor can “prescribe” it for you. When people feel empowered to take ownership of their health journey, it directly improves outcomes and quality of life.

4 Areas to Focus On First

Transitioning to a whole health lifestyle doesn’t mean completely overhauling everything at once. Small incremental changes done consistently over time lead to big results. Here are four beginner steps to get you started:

1. Examine your values and sources of meaning.

What’s important to you? What makes you feel alive? Getting clear on your core values helps you make choices aligned with what matters most. Refect on activities and relationships that light you up. Then look for small ways to incorporate more of those into each day.

2. Tend to your relationships.

Loneliness and isolation are major risk factors for disease and early death. Make time each week to connect with people who nourish you – friends, family, neighbors, support groups. Share meals, go for walks, volunteer together. Deep social ties are foundational to whole health.

3. Try eating “real food.”

Shop the perimeter of your grocery store and fll your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and responsibly raised animal proteins. Avoid heavily processed and refned foods which provide empty calories without nutrition. Eat mindfully and listen to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness.

4. Experiment with movement.

Find activities you enjoy and start small – even 5-10 minutes a day. Take a walk, dance in your living room, garden, play with your kids. Gradually increase from there. Moving your body boosts energy, mood, sleep, and more. The key is to make it pleasurable so it sticks.

It’s a Journey, Not a Destination

Becoming your healthiest self is not a quick fx. It’s an ongoing journey of growth and self-discovery. Be patient and celebrate small wins. You’ll have good days and bad days. That’s normal! Each day is a new opportunity to pursue whole health. Over time, these positive choices compound and you’ll notice you have more energy, feel less stressed, and bounce back quicker from life’s challenges.

Pursuing whole health is one of the most rewarding investments you can make in your future wellbeing. What step will you take today? Your journey awaits.

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