Holistic health

Holistic health

What exactly do I mean by the term “holistic health”, what does this mean for me and what I am currently doing for my holistic health. I’ll tell you a little more about this in this article.

Definition of holistic health

So what do I mean by holistic health?

For me, holistic means body and mind.

In English, I find the term mind much more appropriate than the German term Geist. The term Geist is too restrictive for me and can sometimes also be misunderstood. Mind, on the other hand, means the spirit, the soul, the meaning, the thoughts, the understanding and so much more. So for me, mind describes what I mean much better. A holistic view of what we cannot grasp, but what makes such a difference in our lives. Mind is therefore about mental, spiritual, social, emotional and behavioral issues.

The body, in turn, is less ambiguous. Everything we can see and touch. But of course also our organs, muscles, joints, tendons, etc. So the body that is normally treated by the doctor.

For me, holistic health means health in body and mind. A health in harmony with the important areas. In my opinion, one can never be viewed separately from the other. Because if I am missing something physically, I am often missing something mentally and vice versa as well. There is a reason, that there are now psychosomatic clinics and integrative health promotion.

My personal experience

Only recently and very intensely, I felt this inseparable connection again. Because of my hay fever, I am currently receiving acupuncture and treatment from a good friend. Chinese medicine is so much more focused on the connection between body and mind, and so we are currently working intensively and holistically on my hay fever.

My experience of treating hay fever at the ENT doctor was completely different. I was prescribed medication (which, among other things, made me very tired) and the desensitization could not continue, due to a severe allergic reaction. The doctor then ended my treatment, and he put me off for more tablets.

However, this is not an option for me. I don’t want to have to rely on pills for the rest of my life or as long as I have hay fever to somehow get through the summer. Therefore, acupuncture started as my last chance and has now become a great interest of mine. I think that even if my hay fever is hopefully no longer noticeable at some point or may even disappear completely, I will continue to deal with Chinese medicine.

Our current health system

Our current health system is designed for profit. Medicines should be sold and actually a complete recovery of the people would not make sense – because who would then still earn something. Therefore, we will postpone drugs that have side effects that in turn need to be treated. A negative cycle that is often not really easy to break through.

I don’t want to demonize drugs and “school” medicine here. There are good reasons, as well as many diseases and situations, in which it is precisely these that save lives. They therefore definitely have their importance and correct status.

At the same time, I think it’s a shame that the focus is on treating the symptoms. Instead of tackling the problem at the root and healing people holistically, we work on the surface. I think that has to do with the economizing of medicine.

I find it all the more important to deal with the topic yourself and to take your own health (at least as much as possible) into your own hands again.

Holistic health in everyday life

So, if holistic health is health in connection with body and mind, what can I do to live as healthy as possible?

I’ll try to give you a few examples of what can be done. In addition, there are definitely 1000 other ideas and possibilities for a holistic, healthy life.

I would also like to show you what I do personally and thus also that life is simply imperfect, and you can only give the best in the respective situation. Maybe I can motivate or inspire you with one or the other idea to do something for yourself and your health. At the same time, it helps me to expand my mental „highway“ and think positive thoughts about my holistic health as often as possible.

I would say this is my very first tip. Deal with the topic of holistic health positively if you want to actively change something about it.

Move

Of course, I can’t write about holistic health and ignore the issue of exercise. So I’ll just start with that.

Yoga

My enthusiasm for sports started with yoga about 7 years ago. About 6 years ago I took a yoga class and that’s when I can say that the fascination of yoga for me began. Since then, I’ve been practicing yoga almost every day, in the morning as part of my morning routine. I just felt for myself that this was a nice and quiet start to the morning for me. For the last 4 years I have been doing yoga mainly at home and alone, for myself. For this, I continue to make YouTube videos, especially with Mady Morrison. I just felt that instructions were good for me, even if I could do most of the videos that I make regularly without instructions. In general, I can highly recommend practicing yoga in a class, at least at the beginning. The individual postures are also very much dependent on the execution, which is why the correction from the outside is still very important here, especially at the beginning.

Yoga combines movement and relaxation wonderfully. Similar good results are achieved with Qi-Gong and Thai-Chi, for example.

Another important point in yoga is breathing. Completely underestimated in everyday life, and at the same time such a valuable asset that carries us through the day. There are different breathing techniques, also called pranayama. In Ashtanga Yoga, for example, we practiced Ujjayi breathing. Breathing through the nose, that narrows the glottis and creates a sound like the sea. Breath can both relax and energize overall. Breathing can therefore be used wonderfully during sport, but also for relaxation.

Workouts

For over a year now, I’ve been doing relatively intense sports at home. For this I also use YouTube videos with workouts. Meanwhile, I also dare to do workouts with weights. But I only started to train with my own weight. I have now found a rhythm for myself in which I do sport around 4-5 times a week for around 1 hour each time – including warming up and cooling down, of course. I always do strength and endurance training alternately. Mostly HIIT workouts or Tabata as endurance training. I can currently recommend workouts from Mady Morrison, BodyKiss and growingannanas. I like to alternate between the three because the intensity varies a little.

Movement in everyday life

In addition, because of our dog, we go for a walk for at least an hour every day. I have to honestly say that without the motivation from Koda, I probably wouldn’t walk that much. And of course we also have days when it rains a lot, or we are not feeling well or Koda, when we do not go out or only for a short time. All of this is perfectly fine, and you shouldn’t put yourself under any pressure about it.

In addition, I started cycling again this year, and to be honest, I had to find my way back into it after a break for years. Together with Koda, it is currently still a challenge because he cannot run that fast in the long term. So he trots most of the time, and we drive very comfortably at about 10 km / h. In the long run, this is quite exhausting and boring at the same time. So we decided, that we will buy a bike trailer. So he can come along and sometimes run along and then rest in the trailer in between.

Activities that are not primarily part of typical training are also referred to as NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis). These include walking stairs, hand movements, rocking feet, etc. A very good article wrote „Frühlingszwiebel“ (in German) about this: With NEAT, you can also reduce your physical activity, even through small activities that we incorporate into everyday life.

Recommendations

Of course, you don’t have to exercise that much. For example, the Federal Ministry of Health in Germany has given a minimum recommendation of 150 minutes per week of endurance training, moderate intensity (e.g. slow walking) and 75 minutes per week of endurance training with high intensity (e.g. jogging, fast walking, HIIT training, …). In addition, muscle-building training should be completed about twice a week. It can therefore be enough to go for a 30-minute walk 5 times a week, and additionally jog or exercise for 15 minutes 5 days a week. Overall, the WHO calculates that around 21 minutes of exercise a day is sufficient for adults to support their health, and that any further exercise has an additional positive effect on overall health.

Altogether, I can therefore say that exercise is incredibly good for me personally. I have rather low blood pressure, which is why exercise also helps me to have more energy in everyday life and to feel fitter. Of course, sport and exercise can also help to reduce or prevent obesity. But my focus is more on having a positive influence on overall health through exercise.

I noticed that I prefer to do sport in the morning, which is why I have now mainly integrated this into my morning routine.

Nourishment

Another important point for holistic health, in my opinion, is diet. A healthy, balanced and satisfying diet.

Basic nutrition

For example, I took a closer look at the topic of basic nutrition. Roughly explained, there are basic and acidic foods. The body is both basic and acidic, so it needs a good balance between the two. Alkaline foods mostly compensate for acidic foods. With an alkaline diet, a lot of fruit and vegetables are eaten, in particular. I found good information on this from Carolin Kotke (in German), among others.

Vegan

Since we are vegan, mainly fruits and vegetables are on the plate anyway. In addition, we eat a lot of legumes, soy products (such as tofu and seitan) and also substitutes for cheese, milk, cream and yogurt.

I would like to eat without processed foods as much as possible, but I realize that I am currently not at that point. Sometimes it just has to be quick, or I feel like having a “cheese sandwich” and then for me a healthy, balanced diet also includes not forbidding myself these things, but rather consciously enjoying them and to feel in my body, whether they are good for me or not.

Supplements

As a vegan, at some point you will deal with the topic of supplementation. Since the argument always comes from all sides that one should just pay attention to the vitamins, you cannot do otherwise. In the beginning, I actually just supplemented everything that came to my mind.

Vitamin D3, K2, B12, magnesium and calcium, potassium, selenium, iodine and folic acid, zinc, iron (although I know when it comes to iron that I have always been and still am deficient).

Now I’ve had my blood tested, and my supplementation so far has actually been quite good. I currently have no deficiency and can now even take vitamin D3 & K2 as a cure every 6 weeks. I now take all the others alternately, every 2 days. In this way, I give my body the opportunity to balance everything itself and continue to provide it with all the necessary supplements.

Overall, I can really only recommend having your blood values ​​checked in order to be certain. Nowadays, due to the heavy cultivation, there is simply no longer everything we need to stay healthy in the soil. Therefore, if medically necessary and appropriate, supplementation isn’t something bad, but in my opinion a good addition to a healthy diet, regardless of whether you are vegan or not.

Ayurveda

In addition, I am currently very interested in Ayurveda and I would like to take a closer look at the topic. Overall, there are a few nutritional tips in Ayurveda.

The most important thing that I am currently also taking to heart is that fruit should no longer be mixed with other foods as often. Fruit are digested very quickly, in contrast to grain, for example. If both are eaten together, the fruit cannot be digested quickly and will begin to ferment in the stomach. This can lead to stomach pain, gas and general malaise. To prevent this, you can simply take a break between fruit and other foods.

It is also recommended avoiding raw vegetables if your stomach is already troubled. I’m currently trying to do that too, even though I still find it difficult. You can find more valuable tips e.g. at Rhadi on YouTube (in English).

Intuitive eating

I have been dealing with intuitive eating for a few weeks now and am really enthusiastic about the topic. Intuitive eating as I understand it, combines mindfulness, knowing and listening to your own body and a relaxed relationship to your own body and to food. With intuitive eating, attention is paid to the body’s natural feeling of hunger and eaten accordingly. Without any prohibitions, waivers or coercion. What children can do from birth and only unlearn as a result of interventions by adults, can then be painstakingly learned again as an adult.

I think it’s important that we eat the food we want (without feeling guilty). In the program “Intueat” from Dr. Mareike Awe (in German), which I am currently doing, I am learning exactly that. A very nice sentence that I have always thought since then is that you should make yourself that food, a loving mom would make her child. I almost always automatically come up with the more healthy alternative. At the same time, I also notice days when my body and I would like something sweet or processed, and then I can eat and enjoy that too.

Thinking that we learned from childhood that food is a reward and sweet something special or something bad makes it really difficult for us to deal with food. But slowly I can learn to no longer divide food into good or bad, but it is good for me or not. However, the whole thing is a process, and I am happy to write an update on it again.

Altogether, I am currently very impressed with intuitive eating and practice it every day. It actually works a little better every day, and whenever I discover real feelings of hunger, I am the happiest woman.

Drink

Of course, drinking should not be neglected either. I generally prefer water and tea. In Ayurveda, it is said that warm drinks are best tolerated.

Personally, I like to take turns. In the mornings I drink rather warm and again rather cold throughout the day. Then warm again in the evening

Overall, it is important to drink enough for your own body. I find general information such as 2-3 liters a day rather questionable. Every-body is different, some need more water, some less. Drink as much as you are thirsty and if you are hungry, first drink something because that can also be a sign of thirst. In summer, the requirement is of course a little higher than in winter, as the body also loses water through sweating. But your body should normally signal this to you by being thirsty.

Relaxation

Relaxation is an important part of holistic health. Nowadays, we are practically constantly hectic. In yoga, this is called monkey mind. The point is that, even if we don’t feel like we are doing anything – like watching television or something like it – our head is always working.

Today, we rarely manage to really relax and calm our mind down. In yoga that would be the elephant, who is calm, serene and leisurely. The ideal way would be for the monkey and the elephant to become friends and walk the path together, with the monkey riding the elephant. So the calm mind carries and accompanies the excited and energetic.

But why is relaxation so important for my holistic health, you might be wondering. As explained earlier, our mind is related to our body. So when our minds are not doing well, we are not doing well physically either. This is really noticeable, for example, in the widespread disease burnout. A state of exhaustion due to daily stress. Therefore, it is really important to deal with your own relaxation options.

Meditation

Meditation is a great option. In studies with Tibetan monks, Benson was able to find out that meditation works to even control body functions. During meditation, they could raise or lower their body temperature and thereby dry the wet sheets that were wrapped around them. This shows how incredibly effective meditation can be in influencing the mind as well as the body.

After about 6 years of meditation, I myself still practice guided meditations, currently by Laura Malina Seiler and Veit Lindau (both German). I just have a very strong monkey spirit that I am still learning to tame? I find heart meditations to be particularly effective. So meditations in which you concentrate on your heart. I have actually had very nice experiences with meditations and can therefore recommend them to you with all my heart.

Gratitude and mindfulness

Otherwise, I can also highly recommend practicing gratitude every day. That generally helps to be more positive, and that can also help the immune system immensely.

Mindfulness training, in the form of mindful eating, walking or just sitting and looking, also help me to relax a lot. So I was able to train my brain to see small things like blooming flowers and others like that and to absorb them.

Positivity and spirituality

Positive psychology has also become a huge part of my everyday life. That’s why, my mottos are “I make the world as I like it” and “where your mind goes, your energy flows”. I believe with all of my being that we determine what happens to us, and that it all begins in the mind. And as long as I think positively, stay in trust and thereby share this feeling with the world, I will also attract this energy.

Of course, spirituality is an important topic that unites relaxation and self-image. A belief in something can explain the world to us and thus relax a lot. At the same time, I can identify myself through this belief and find security.

Self-confidence and self-image

Another important part of holistic health is to what extent I trust myself and what self-image I have anchored about myself. Personally, I am currently allowed to work a lot on the subject. But day by day I feel more that I am good and enough the way I am. And a positive self-image, trust in my own abilities and thus also self-healing powers help me to be and stay healthy in any case.

It is also important to feel your own self-efficacy on a regular basis. That means experiencing doable tasks and mastering them. This way I know what I can do and what I can trust myself to do. Self-efficacy strengthens our self-confidence and our self-image.

At the same time, of course, it is also important that you get to know yourself well. This is the only way you can know what your body needs and what is good or what is not. If I know what is good for me, I can do it more and slowly reduce the rest until I have established positive and beneficial habits for myself.

Resilience is another important term in this context. Resilience describes positive resistance forces in a person. Of course, there are also external protective factors that help you stay healthy. But here I want to refer to the inner ones. Resilience is made up of the external and internal protective factors and results in the individual resilience.

Personally, I would say that my past makes me quite resilient. This is certainly also due to my personality, among other things, that I am not shocked so quickly and that I was able to learn early on to regulate my emotions. Therefore, it is not all negative when we have bad experiences. As a result, we grow and experience how resilient we are. I find it very empowering to know that I am resilient. This gives me a sense of self-efficacy and that I will master many different, difficult situations in my life.

Holistic Health Summary

Altogether, I can summarize that body and mind are closely connected and therefore, in holistic health, are also dependent on one another.
We have an incredible number of opportunities to do good for our holistic health, and that is – I think – very empowering.

Please don’t let all the options and possibilities overwhelm you. It is better to see for yourself what you are already doing for yourself and your holistic health, and then see which other routine you would like to establish for yourself. Start with a mini thing and set achievable goals for yourself. Because let’s not forget – self-efficacy is an important component!

To establish everything that I now do – and not always perfect every day! – it took me 6-7 years. So please don’t let my suggestions on how I do it demotivate you, but just see it as an idea of ​​how someone can do it!

I look forward to reading from you if you have ideas yourself what can be done for holistic health or what problems you have.

Now I wish you a fabulous, energetic and healthy day,

All the best,
Ronja

PS:

Tobias Esch (in German) wrote a wonderful book on the subject, which also inspired me a lot for the article. Der Selbstheilungscode – Die Neurobiologie von Gesundheit und Krankheit. Really recommendable and at e.g. ReBuy also cheap, sustainable and easy to get. (I do not know if it is available in English)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.