How to Use Integrative Wellness on Your Journey to Optimal Health
What’s integrative wellness? What’s the connection between integrative wellness and optimal health?
Your journey to optimal health is like a road trip that you take over and over again.
Road trips can require lots of planning and test your patience at times. But road trips also give you something to look forward to. They enrich your life and your relationships. And they give you something to look back on fondly. Why not associate these positive feelings with your everyday health and wellness practices?
Read on to discover more about how to use integrative wellness on your journey to optimal health.
Are you headed for optimal health?
You may not know it, but you’re an explorer. In fact, you’ve been on a journey since the day you were born.
Where are you going? One place or another.
All your life, you may have thought you would end up in a specific location, only to discover that you didn’t like it once you arrived. Or, maybe, you found that the road you were on only appeared to be headed in the right direction. Instead, it carried you to some far off place you never imagined. Or, maybe, you’re just getting started, with just a vague sense of where you want to end up.
Whoever you are, and however far you are along your path, one thing’s for sure, your lifelong road trip will bring many adventures: smooth and rough patches, clear skies and stormy weather, feasts and famines. You will need to meet the needs of both yourself and your vehicle, your body and your mind.
For all your forward motion, from time to time, you’ll need to stop and check your progress. To acknowledge where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed.
There are plenty of ways to take care of yourself and ensure that your travels are long and full of joy and satisfaction. But, according to an integrative approach, there are seven core areas that need attention if you want the adventure of your dreams. Read on to discover how each core area supports you on your journey to optimal health. Click through the subheadings to discover more about integrative wellness.
Core Area #1: Sleep: Rest Stops
When you travel, where do you sleep? Are you the kind of person who books a 4-star hotel way in advance, or do you simply pull off to the side of the road when you can’t keep your eyes open a moment longer? How do you manage your sleep routine?
A good night’s rest is a necessary lead-in to a good day. But over the course of your life, the way you sleep establishes rhythms that influence the progression of both your mental and your physical health. A commitment to good rest means a commitment to healthier practices in a number of other areas including the way you eat.
Core Area #2: Nutrition: Fuel
When you travel, what do you run on? Do you eat lots of fast food, explore the local restaurants, or pack a picnic basket? How do you manage your meal planning?
Whether you’re talking about the car or the driver, the right fuel keeps everything running smoothly. This means not only considering what food goes into your body, but also how much you eat and how often. Whether it’s reflected in scarcity or excess, typically, the standard American diet fails to provide the necessary nutrients to ensure a healthy lifestyle. The proper fuel will provide you with the energy needed to meet the challenges along your journey.
Core Area #3: Movement: The State of Your Vehicle
When you travel, what do you do to stretch your legs? How do you ensure your “vehicle” is running properly? How do you manage your exercise regimes?
Movement is a vital aspect of all living beings. Like your car, your body carries you through your life. So, investing in your body for the long haul is essential to your lifelong journey. Movement and exercise serve to support both physical and mental health. So, a movement routine will help ensure both longevity and mental stability.
Core Area #4: Relationships: Traveling Companions
When you travel, who do you take along for the ride? How long will they be your traveling companions? How do you manage your social support networks?
Choosing the right companions for your journey is another critical aspect of your journey to optimal health. The people in your life have the most significant influence on your personal development. They contribute to your habits, interests, and practices. In fact, a deep, personally meaningful connection can fundamentally change who you are. And not just in the short term because you carry these relationships in your memories, too.
Core Area #5: Resilience: Roadside Assistance
When you travel, how do you handle breakdowns? How do you fix what’s not working and get back on the road? How do you manage stress?
No matter how well-intentioned and committed you are, sometimes you will fail to meet your health goals. It could be injury, or illness, or even something less tangible like tragedies, external complications, mental illness, etc.
Thankfully, your character is not determined by what happens to you, but rather by the actions you take in response to these moments of disappointment and pain.
Wellness isn’t just a series of beneficial actions. Wellness is also the philosophy that underlies them, the will and the ability to lift yourself up when you’ve been knocked down. You can bolster a healthy attitude toward hardship with healthy habits and wholesome support systems. But, ultimately, your ability to respond resides within you.
Core Area #6: Spirituality: Why you Travel
When you travel, what are the reasons for your road trip? What do you hope to accomplish? How do you mange to live your values?
People often spend too much time doing what’s expected of them and not nearly enough time wondering why. Purpose doesn’t have to be grandiose or epic. It doesn’t have to unravel like some literary tale. Instead, a sense of purpose may simply reinforce your desire to do exactly what you’re already doing. What’s most important is that you’re in touch with yourself—your mission, aspirations, and purpose—and that you strive to bring your values and your actions into alignment with one another.
Core Area #7: Environment: The Landscape
When you travel, what landscapes will surround you? What vistas do you prefer? How do you mange your connection to nature?
While you’re on the road to your destination, don’t forget to enjoy the scenery along the way. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that you’re connected to a web of life all around you.
Humans are great a creating things from natural elements and bending them to serve a function distinct from their original settings. Buildings grow into towns, grow into cities, grow into nations. Such modern achievements can easily pull your attention away from your natural surroundings, thereby creating a kind of nature starvation.
Sometimes, a quiet moment, a deep breath, and a beautiful landscape can go a long way towards restoring your sense of calm and well-being.
Interdependence: Bringing it All Together for the Road Ahead
Integrative wellness and optimal health are connected through sound lifestyle choices in all seven core areas of health. Each core area can deepen the connection between your mind and your body, as well as the minds and bodies of others. The pursuit of optimal health though integrative wellness is a lifelong journey, a road trip that you’ll take every day for the rest of your life. Why not have fun? Why not make it an adventure? Why not hire a tour guide and travel partner?
If you want support on the next leg of your wellness journey, give me a call or send me an email. I’ll work with you to clarify your vision and plan for a successful outcome. Along the way, I’ll be there to encourage your efforts, to celebrate your progress, and to troubleshoot your breakdowns. Read testimonials from satisfied clients.
Be well and enjoy!
P.S. I received my training as an Integrative Wellness Coach from the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. I also hold a PhD in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona.
Disclaimer: The information provided through this Website is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. Always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program.