“Holistic” – Sounds nice, but what does it actually mean???

“Space of Grace is an online holistic wellness center.

It’s an Online center – which means that all our practitioners have adapted their skills and modalities in order to offer remote consultations and sessions, allowing you to benefit from our expertise from the comfort of your home.

It’s a Holistic center – which means that we consider and take into account the whole of you within the understanding that all aspects of our humanity are interconnected and that misalignments in one part of ourselves or our lives can ripple into other levels and parts of who we are. In the same way, we understand that the individual and the collective, the big and the small are reflections of each other. Facilitating empowerment on an individual level is our way of bringing out the best in humanity and the world at large.

It’s a Wellness Center – What is well, what is good, what is best are the questions that drive us in our personal and professional paths. Years of study, training and application have allowed us the skills to unconditionally walk with another in service and honor of what is best for them.”

— Excerpt from our ‘About Us’ page at https://spaceofgrace.net/about/

While the word ‘holistic’ has been trending in many circles, few really ‘grasp’ what it means to approach something in a holistic way and even the above short description might still leave you feeling puzzled as to “what it now really means?!?!?”. We’ll use this post to introduce a holistic framework together with examples to illustrate what sets a holistic approach apart from non-holisitc methods. As you start to see what it’s all about, it will already help you to shift how you look at yourself, your life and the world, helping you to think/see in more holistic terms, and enabling you to make more informed and all-around supportive decisions.

8 Pillars of Holistic Wellness

The 8 Pillars of Holistic Wellness is a simple framework that helps us take into consideration the whole of an individual. The 8 pillars of holistic wellness can be seen as the different aspects of our humanity that together inform what it means to ‘be me’ or ‘be you’. They are not meant to be exhaustive (in other words: we can easily define more categories or sub-categories), and they are not in fact separate (the different aspects of our lives are organically connected and flow into each other).

We’ll start by giving a short explanation of each of the 8 pillars and then look at how this all relates to holistic methods.

Here we go!

  1. Physical Wellness is pretty straightforward. It refers to your physical health and includes all your body’s systems.
  2. Mental Wellness refers to all that plays out in thought and includes effective decision making, clarity of mind, ability to focus, memory recall, as well as the nature of thoughts that have been preoccupying you and your ability to work with those thoughts constructively.
  3. Emotional Wellness refers to your ‘emotional body’ – the extent to which you feel overwhelmed with emotions and feelings, the type and nature of the emotions that have been coming up as well as your ability to direct them.
  4. Social Wellness refers to the way you relate to others, who and how you are in your relationships with others, the kind of relationships you build and to what extent they are supporting the best of you or the worst of you.
  5. Spiritual Wellness refers to your spirit, your heart, your beingness – the eternal spark of life within you. Spiritual wellness can be informed by religious or spiritual practices but can more broadly be defined by the extent to which you feel fulfilled within a purpose or as part of a larger whole, as well as the extent to which you are supported on a path of personal growth.
  6. Financial Wellness refers not merely to the state of your bank account but includes your relationship with money, to what extent you feel financially empowered or disempowered, your tendency towards saving or spending, how you ‘show up’ at work or in in your business, how generously you share or how likely you are to hoard.
  7. Sexual Wellness refers to our level of connection, comfortability, understanding and acceptance of our own sexuality and the way in which it finds expression.
  8. Environmental Wellness refers to our relationship with our greater environment, such as nature and the animal kingdom – the extent to which we feel connected to and part of the natural world. But it also includes the environments we create or choose to live in and the extent to which they support us or stand in the way of the best of us, and vice versa.

Looking at the 8 pillars of holistic wellness, it doesn’t seem all that insightful. There’s an ‘obviousness’ to it that, yes, there is ‘a lot’ to being human. We’re not just a body, we also have thoughts, emotions and feelings and on top of that we have social, spiritual, sexual, environmental and financial needs.

What sets holistic wellness apart form non-holistic methods, is not the ‘knowing’ that these pillars exist, but to actually consider all of them and their interrelationships in any given moment.

Holistic Methods vs Non-Holistic Methods

We’ve been educated to ‘think in boxes’. In English class, an English teacher teaches us about the English language. When we’re in Math class, a math teacher teaches us mathematics. And when someone struggles with mathematics, they will tend to seek the support of a math teacher or math tutor to help them overcome their struggles.

It’s been the same with our well-being. If we have physical issues we go to a doctor, if we have mental or emotional issues we go to a psychologist, when we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis, we seek out a spiritual leader. We treat each pillar of wellness as though it exists in isolation of all the other pillars. In the same way, we treat each issue as though it is an individual/stand-alone issue with it’s completely independent origins/causes, and so, solutions.

We somehow completely overlook the fact that we’re ONE individual, ONE unit, and that ‘who we are’ in any one of the pillars of wellness can and does affect who we are in other pillars. For instance, if we entertain fearful thoughts (Mental Wellness), we’ll start feeling stressed out (Emotional Wellness). We might shut ourselves off from our loved ones (Social Wellness), because we’re too preoccupied and consumed with what it is we’re stressing about. Our body’s immune system can take a hit from the stress and we can fall ill (Physical Wellness).

Again, there’s an ‘obviousness’ to it. Once you’re shown the connections it’s like “oh yeah, I always knew this, of course”. So, when we’re talking about holistic methods – it’s really, actually nothing ‘special’ or ‘strange’, but rather down-to-earth and obvious. All it means is that a person is considered in their entirety when looking at how to support them in overcoming/changing an issue in their life. It’s to take a WHOLE-istic view of who someone is and see how an imbalance or misalignment was created that affects them on multiple levels as well as seeing how to most effectively correct this imbalance or misalignment to restore effective functioning in the whole.

Holistic Methods and Time

When you start to ‘take stock’ of the issues in your life – not only the ‘glaring big problems’ that are staring you in the face, but also the subtle issues/aches/disturbances that are bothering you (but that you so far still manage to ignore) – not only on a physical level, but across the pillars of wellness… well, it can be overwhelming to say the least. But why? Why is it suddenly overwhelming when we identify them all, and name them all? We live with them every day, yet suddenly, when you write them down or list them out loud, their burden is felt and we are filled with a heavy dread, this belief that ‘there’s no way we can solve them all’.

The great thing, the grace, about holistic methods is that – all those seemingly individual issues, that are taking place or felt in different parts of yourself and your life – are not separate issues at all. If you think about each issue as a stand-alone issue that you must overcome, then yes, gee, there’s a lot of issues and it’s going to take a lot of time to change or overcome each one. But when you remember that an imbalance in one pillar of wellness ripples into the other pillars, you realize that many of those issues are connected, and that you don’t need to see 10 different specialists to tackle each issue individually – but that you need just the right person who will consider you in a holistic way to support you most effectively in bringing the whole of you in balance and alignment with the best of you.

Holistic methods are notorious for taking time, because they are gentle methods that activate and harness your innate ability to heal yourself. Nothing from the outside is ‘done unto you to make you better’ – it’s rather an activating of your built-in capacity for self-healing in an extremely specific and precise way. Because it’s not a covering up or a cutting out, but a genuine healing process, it takes time. However, due to their holistic nature, these methods do end up saving you time, because you are not just taking on one issue at a time. You bring all of yourself to the table, to bring all of yourself back into balance. In the long term you’ll spend less time looking for solutions for each of your issues (or ways to manage them) and will have more time to actually enjoy a life that reflects and honors the best of you.

If you’re not sure what to do with this information exactly, I suggest you complete our free holistic wellness assessment. It’s a quick and easy way to map out the issues in your life using the 8 pillars of holistic wellness. Upon reviewing your assessment, our team will reach out to you with a suggested way forward to bring the whole of you back into balance and alignment with your utmost potential.

The first step to change is and always has been to see where you’re at right now. You can’t plot a course to a new destination when you don’t know where you currently are. It’s the same with ourselves. It takes that uncomfortable moment of being honest and vulnerable with ourselves about the points we’re struggling with. In many ways, that first step is the hardest part of the journey, after that, the healing can begin.

We’ll continue in posts to come to highlight more aspects and benefits of holistic wellness. Thank you for reading and stay tuned!

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