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How to Start a Holistic Lifestyle

When you hear “holistic lifestyle,” what comes to mind? Maybe it looks like that friend who wakes up, makes their bed, takes a walk, goes to yoga, drinks their green tea, meditates, and does a full skincare routine – all before 8 AM. Or maybe you think of that person who has a thriving career and a full social life, yet never seems overbooked or stressed by it.

In reality, a holistic lifestyle is all about balance and mindfulness – whatever that looks like for you. While we might hear a lot about diet tips or workout plans, there’s so much more to a vibrant, healthy, holistic life. And luckily, it’s within reach for anyone who is willing to prioritize and intentionally choose the life they want to live.

What is Holistic Living?

To understand holistic living, it’s helpful to define the word “holistic” itself. According to the dictionary, the holistic philosophy is “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” Put simply, holistic living means caring for all parts of yourself – mind, body, and soul – and considering them all as vital to your well-being.

While we often think of health in distinct categories like diet or fitness, a holistic approach reminds us that all parts of us are deeply connected and impact each other. Even physiologically speaking, emotional and physical pain are processed in the same exact part of our brains. Like a stool with three legs, if one leg is deficient, it can make the whole thing unstable. Similarly, holistic living acknowledges that true health is only possible when mind, body, and soul are nurtured and in balance.

Beyond that, a holistic lifestyle is going to look different for everyone based on their values, schedule, and goals. Rather than an “all or nothing” approach, go for balance and remember that every little step counts.

Benefits of a Holistic Lifestyle

  • Improved overall physical health
  • Boosted productivity and creativity
  • Reduced stress and improved mood and emotional resilience
  • Greater clarity in goals and habits
  • Increased satisfaction with life and relationships

How to Live a Holistic Lifestyle

If you’re looking to create a more holistic lifestyle or just incorporate some more practices for mind-body health, here are some ideas to get started.

1. Identify your values and goals

What one person considers to be a key part of a holistic lifestyle might not hold any importance for another person. That’s why it’s so important to take time to reflect on your personal values, purpose, and goals and decide what “holistic” means to you – and what’s realistic for the season of life you're in right now. It can be helpful to look at a list of values (like this one from Brene Brown), journal, or talk this through with a counselor, mentor, or trusted friend. What do you want to prioritize in your life? Where do you feel like you’re knocking it out of the park? Is there anything that feels out of alignment? Getting clear on what matters to you will help clarify where to invest your time and energy.

2. Eat foods that make you feel your best

It’s easy to overcomplicate things when it comes to food and diet, but it comes down to what makes you feel energized and healthy while still allowing you to enjoy the foods you love and live your life to the fullest.

For some people, that might mean eating intuitively or following a plant-based diet, while for others, it might mean meal prepping or eating clean 80% of the time and indulging guilt-free the other 20% of the time. Focus on staying hydrated and getting a wide variety of nutrients by eating a colorful array of whole foods like fruits, veggies, healthy fats, protein, and fiber-rich grains, and you’ll be well on your way to feeling your best!

3. Find movement you love

There are thousands of workouts out there to choose from, but the “best” one is the one you love doing. Lifting weights or going for a run definitely count – and so does dancing, biking, swimming, hiking, kayaking, playing tennis, taking a group fitness class, walking, and even doing yardwork!

Whatever it is for you, make time to move at least 30 minutes per day, or more if your job involves a lot of sitting. Moderate daily exercise is great not only for your physical health, but can also help improve mood and cognitive function.

4. Get some sleep

It’s a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: if you do nothing else on this list, focus on getting plenty of high-quality sleep. It only takes a couple of nights of poor sleep to see how it can affect your focus, mood, creativity, motivation, and even hunger.

Aim for 7-9 hours per night to set a healthy foundation. It can be helpful to create an evening wind-down routine that includes shutting off the screens several hours before bed and enjoying your favorite relaxing activities like reading, journaling, listening to calming music, or just snuggling with a pet for a bit to help you drift off more easily.

5. Make time for quiet and reflection

Holistic living also includes caring for your soul. Whether it’s a spiritual practice, gratitude journaling, meditation, prayer, breathwork, yoga, therapy, time in nature, or a simple self-care practice, make space for a little silence and self-reflection in your weekly rhythm.

In our noisy world full of notifications and distractions, it can be challenging to make time to truly process experiences and emotions. Practices that connect us to ourselves, a greater sense of purpose, or a higher power are integral to a holistic lifestyle.

6. Prioritize relationships

Areas of the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives are called “Blue Zones.” Along with their diet and movement habits, one thing all the Blue Zones have in common is that inhabitants prioritize and nurture their social relationships.

In fact, studies find lower rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and possibly even cancer among those who have strong social bonds and loving relationships with family and friends. No matter how busy life gets, make time to connect with loved ones, say hi to neighbors, call that friend you haven’t seen in a while, share a meal, or join a local club or organization.

7. Get outside

The average American adult spends just five hours per week outdoors. If you have an indoor or remote job, it takes intentional effort to get outside – but the benefits of nature are wide-ranging, from improved memory and creativity to lowered stress and improved health markers.

A big day of hiking or a camping trip can be especially restorative, but taking your exercise outside, sneaking in a 10-minute walk at lunch, or sipping your coffee on the patio all help you reap some of the benefits – and Vitamin D! You can even take normal daily activities like playing a game with the kids or meeting up with a friend to a local park or the backyard.

8. Build habits and routines

Feeling overwhelmed about creating a more holistic lifestyle? Creating habits is one of the easiest ways to make these practices stick – and many of them can be combined! Habit stacking is a method of adding new habits you want to build onto habits you’ve already mastered. For example, do your daily exercise outside for some fresh air or listen to a guided meditation while you shower. (Tip: The Superhuman App has audio meditations for skincare, walking, cleaning, and more!) If you already drink coffee every morning and want to remember to take a daily vitamin, put your vitamins in the same cabinet as your coffee cup. Now you’ll remember to take it when you pour your daily cup! You can follow this principle with any routine you’re trying to build.

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