Mental Health Is Health — Are You Treating It As Such?
Holistic health includes a balanced and preventative approach to considering the mind, body, and spirit using both conventional and alternative healing methods. A holistic approach to well-being validates our emotions — mental health is health. Our bodies are wise, and those gut feelings? They’re real.
Holistic health includes a balanced and preventative approach to considering the mind, body, and spirit using both conventional and alternative healing methods. As Dr. Mark Hyman references, healthcare, as we know it, has become “sick-care,” as it mainly treats symptoms vs. root causes. There are times we will need conventional medicine, of course, and I have witnessed medical miracles firsthand. But it is not everything. It is part of a whole.
When we think holistically, we consider the other pieces of the pie. It encourages us to take inventory of our lives — not just our diet or fitness routine. It challenges us to ask ourselves how we’re really doing below the surface and empowers us to become our own advocates.
Best of all, a holistic approach to well-being validates our emotions — mental health is health. Our bodies are wise, and those gut feelings? They’re real. But we have to listen.
Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on just one or a couple of lifestyle factors, such as food, to “fix” us. We will not always be 100% “well” on every front, but we can find a realistic, sustainable balance to keep coming back to. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection and that our insides can affect our outsides, for better or for worse.
The first step is getting into the habit of listening, something we work on in 1:1 holistic health coaching. The more that muscle is used, the louder that voice gets. It’s amazing how long we go without paying much attention until our body musings escalate. They first whisper, then get a little louder, and eventually maybe even scream, “Please notice me, I’m trying to take care of you!”
What’s going on in your head? Your body? Your heart? What are you consuming beyond food? How does what you’re taking in make you feel? How are you spending your time and energy? And with who? What’s bringing you down? What lights you up? How are you speaking to yourself?
We all carry around a lot and forget that we’re in this together. We owe it to ourselves and those around us to raise a hand when we need help, letting some of it go. I believe we all take turns needing and giving in that way.
So, who and what are your healers?
Over the years, different challenges have led me to different forms of support. At not-always-sweet 16, I first discovered yoga. In college, I utilized the counseling center. As a young adult, I occasionally met with a therapist. In my late 20’s, I worked with a health coach on nutrition, Reiki energy healing, and meditation. Now, in my early 30’s, I’ve worked with professional and creative mentors, a mental health coach (a benefit of our health insurance — check yours!), studied through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, visited spiritual healers, and read — a lot.
Such resources look different for everyone. They don’t need to be a life sentence but can lead to new ways of thinking, healing, and growing.
There are healers all around us and in all different forms.
The most powerful one, though, is you.
Consider tending to your emotions as you do your body. We get physical exams, dental cleanings, haircuts, etc., regularly practicing maintenance on what is visible. Are we doing the same for what isn’t?
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I hope you pay attention to what’s inside. It’s never too early, and late is better than never. But why wait? You’ll be with yourself for a long time. Get to know each other!
A list of books that helped me do just that: