Holistic medicine involves the use of alternative therapies such as massage or acupuncture paired with traditional health care. One-third of American adults are adding holistic medicine into their health care routine, according to a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health survey.
This approach centers on the idea that there is no separation between our physical, emotional, mental or social wellness. And that to have good health, all components need to be cared for.
Consult with your doctor to see if any varieties of holistic medicine would benefit you. But in the meantime, there are many affordable ways to approach your health holistically.
- Practice mindfulness. Whether this takes the form of prayer, yoga or meditation, mindfulness is an important part of holistic living. Take a few minutes every day to clear your mind of negativity. This is especially important during the extra stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Draw your attention to the sources that make you happy. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to find balance and gain new perspectives.
- Eat clean, eat local. We’ve all heard the expression “you are what you eat.” Fueling up with the right nutrients will benefit your body. But studies have shown that it also gives you more energy and brainpower too. One of the best ways to save money on healthy, in season produce is to buy from local farmers and vendors. Or, consider growing your own healthy produce this summer.
- Get active, stay active. The main focus of holistic health is making sure that you are listening to your body. Exercise improves mood, boosts your immune system and encourages better sleep habits. There are many different resources for getting active, even with busy schedules. Go to a new yoga class now that more outdoor and socially distanced options are opening up. Or see if your employer offers any discounts on gym memberships as gyms and fitness centers begin to slowly open. If you’re not comfortable working out in a group during COVID-19, try cleaning as a workout, getting outside more or working on the yard to get moving. There are also so many free fitness videos and podcasts available online. Try a video or workout routine from the comfort of your home.
- Plant a tree. Or tulip bulbs, a rosebush or an herb garden. Gardening has a variety of health benefits, ranging from weight loss to decreasing stress. The National Institute of Health recommends 30 to 45 minutes of gardening three to five times per week as a way to combat obesity. Gardening can even lower blood pressure and stress levels. If you don’t have a garden plot or a backyard, that’s okay. Use hanging baskets, a windowsill or even small flowerpots. Check out these tips on container gardening.
- Drink more water. Staying hydrated is one of the most important steps to leading a healthy lifestyle. Even mild levels of dehydration can have negative effects: from mood swings to headaches to stomach cramps. The Institute of Medicine recommends an average of 3 liters of water a day for men, and 2.2 liters for women. These recommendations can vary depending on a variety of factors— your level of physical activity, your age, even the weather. Make sure you listen to what your body needs throughout the course of the day. One easy way is to try drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would drink 75 ounces of water throughout the day. If you find water boring, think about infusing your favorite fruits and vegetables. From cucumbers to mint, lemons to watermelon, add your own creative twist.
There are many more ways to incorporate holistic living into your daily life. Be sure to ask your doctor about more options to help you stay healthy and feel your best physically and mentally.