Holistic Athlete Health - How Do We Take Care of Ourselves Best?

Holistic.

This is a word that gets thrown around often these days, so often, that it may be slightly confusing as to what it really means. As with all words, there is a dictionary definition but it is healthy to approach this “holistic” health idea in a very individualized way. Every human has their own specific needs in the areas of mind, body, nutrition, sleep, and other factors that contribute to OVERALL health and well being. All of which are essentially interconnected contributing to the WHOLE health of a human mind, body, and spirit.

Holistic by definition

Adjective -

PHILOSOPHY
characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

MEDICINE
characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.

The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) describes it this way:

"Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible."

Mind, body and spirit — these aspects of each patient are considered to be intertwined and essential to achieving optimal health. Human beings are comprised of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual elements is another way to look at it.”

Although there is a healthy balance of each area, my holistic approach to my health will look different than yours. This is important to recognize very early as it is easy to compare yourself to others based on what you see or read on the internet, magazines, or TV of your friends, family, professional athletes, and others.

Think about holistic health as having a handful of buckets. Each bucket is labeled. 

Sleep, nutrition, exercise, work, you time, friend time, family time, and so on. It may be that every day, the amount or emphasis on each bucket is filled differently dependent on the time or phase in one's life. Accepting that on a given day, week, month, or year, one bucket may be needing more attention than the other is vital and very normal. I think the most difficult part about approaching health in a holistic way is realizing that it can’t and won’t always look the same. As humans, we are all creatures of habit, so learning to let go of strict routine and listening to our mind, body, and spirit combined is the first step to Holistic Health.

RISE Blog Contributor

Jess Rocheleau