The concept of holistic health has gained popularity in recent years. It’s one of the latest buzz words that conjure images of sitting crossed legged, meditating with your eyes closed in a lush green field. Or the woman standing on one foot in an impossibly unbalancing yoga pose as she looks out at sea. As these images cross your mind, you are probably wondering, what in the world does this new age Tom Cruise foolery have to do with making me a better leader.
Well, I’m hoping to shed some light on what are holistic health tips for leaders. By the end of this article, you understand the importance of holistic health and how it can help you maximize your leadership skills.
Before we begin, leaders should understand
- What is holistic health?
- What are holistic health benefits?
- How can you start incorporating holistic health into your life?
Holistic health is not any single one of the following things:
Quackery. With an abundance of questionable therapies and popular diets, I believe holistic health denotes a person who values overall well-being.
Meditation. A “relaxing” practice to get you back to your Zen place when all you want to do is hit the snooze button.
Wellness. Stuff like your kale and chia seeds; holistic health should be an attitude. What you think about yourself, and your body determines how you feel about yourself. Wellness also means asking yourself what you’d like to see a change in your life. It’s a decision. It is not just a trend or a fad.
What is Holistic Health?
When I am referring to holistic health, I refer to all aspects of a healthy leader, which encompasses the mind, body, and soul. As leaders, we should strive to keep all three elements optimal. I’m not saying that we should all look like the Rock or Jillian Michaels, that everyone should become Buddhist monks, or that keto is the new miracle diet. However, leaders must treat holistic health with the same respect we treat our professions.
As leaders, we want to take advantage of every tool in the toolbox to help reach our goals. #unlitleadershipBrian D. Matthews
What are Holistic Health Benefits?
We all know the importance of health and fitness, but we seldom associate health and wellness with good leaders. Leaders typically leave health and fitness discussions to the “bros” and yoga fanatic blogs except for meditation and mindfulness. I’m here to tell you that you are making a huge mistake if this is your thought process. If you are not making health and fitness a priority, you are limiting your ability to maximize your potential. You may also be at risk of slowing your progress towards reaching your goals.
Before you go click off this blog, try to consider what are holistic health benefits.
A focused mind
Most leaders are either “results-focused” or “people-focused.” Very few can strike a balance between the two. Leaders who can focus equally on results and people motivate people to be their best, without losing sight of the bigger picture. We should all strive to be this type of leader. By incorporating a holistic health approach, you are stacking the deck to increase your chances of success.
Control over your health
If you ask yourself, what are holistic health benefits, control over your health should be at the top of the list. Holistic health can help you regain control of your health because it provides a holistic approach to wellness and illness. There is no magic pill to “fix” your body or a simple exercise that will instantly get you in shape. You are ultimately responsible for your well-being.
A prolonged lifespan
Leaders thrive on stats, research, and facts, and the benefit of holistic health is supported through research. A recent article from Research in Gerontological Nursing provides research supporting existing health care systems starting to focus on a holistic construct that includes physical, social, and environmental components to extend our lifespan.
A balanced, healthy lifestyle
Holistic health encompasses a complete life. There are several benefits associated with holistic health that, when achieved, can help you live the life of your dreams. You don’t just want to focus on your physical health; you also need to focus on your mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Reduced sluggishness and lack of motivation
Though overall fitness is important when I consider what are holistic health benefits that will help me currently, motivation comes to mind. Your energy can be affected by several things, including rest, diet, exercise, and mood. Hence the importance of incorporating a holistic health approach. The balancing the benefits of exercise, diet, spirituality, and the mind, you are maximizing your potential to stay focused and energized, leading to better productivity
How to get started. What are holistic health practices I can implement?
So what are holistic health practices you can begin to implement? There are so many different types of holistic health out there. As you might expect, each one of them has its school of thought in terms of what works and what doesn’t work. It can be overwhelming when you start reading about holistic health if you don’t know where to begin.
Here’s the good news there are plenty of resources—one organization. My wife owns Parami Wellness, a mental health counseling center that offers various holistic services, such as reiki, yoga, and psychotherapy. We can also refer you to others outside of our expertise to ensure you can incorporate other aspects of holistic health such as nutrition and exercise. When reaching out to folks be sure to receive a good understanding of what are holistic health practices that are right for you.
Be prepared for change
What are holistic health challenges? Change is at the top of my list. If you are not healthy, the change can be a difficult adjustment. However, a critical skill set of an experienced leader is the ability to adapt to change. Take on getting healthier just as you would any change management task. Start small, identify the areas you want to improve, slowly, and consistently integrate aspects of a healthy lifestyle into your daily life. Set realistic, achievable milestones. As a leader, you already have the tools needed to succeed. You need to reframe the objective. Your objective is to incorporate and prioritize health.
Tailor your approach
If you have read any of my blogs, you know I harp on a leader’s ability to be consistent and self-aware. These leadership characteristics are just as crucial to health and fitness as they are in other aspects of leadership. When incorporating and prioritizing health and wellness, you must do what works for you. My wife is a certified reiki and yoga instructor, and therefore this is a critical component to her health wellness. On the other hand, I have been slowly building my home gym over the years and enjoy weight training. However, we both appreciate the benefits of meditation.
What works for you may not work for someone else, and like any agile plan, you must tailor your health and wellness to meet your goals. The added benefit for those just embarking on their health and wellness journey is that they are more likely to remain consistent with a personally tailored plan.
Develop a plan
In my younger day, many accused me of having “chicken legs” because I focused more on upper body exercises than lower. As I aged, this training method limited my overall fitness levels because I lacked core and lower body strength. Similarly, those who exercise but can’t control their diet do not maximize their diet and exercise plan. You can regularly eat right and exercise, but you fail to exercise and strengthen the mind. All your work may be for nothing when you succumb to stress and mental fatigue.
Therefore, leaders must balance multiple aspects of health and wellness into their plan. You want to incorporate a holistic approach, just as with any comprehensive plan you would develop in the workplace.
As a leader, you know the importance of prioritizing your efforts to ensure success in your organization’s most critical areas. Time is finite, and we will never have enough time to accomplish everything. Great leaders have learned how to maximize their limited time by implementing time-saving tools/ techniques in the workplace.
We know that spending a little extra time preparing and planning now saves many headaches later down the road. However, leaders often struggle when it comes to prioritizing our holistic health. Just as leaders strive to prepare appropriately and plan to ensure workplace success, leaders should show the same vigor when planning and preparing their holistic health plan. Think about it, is the extra 30 mins of exercise worth increased energy throughout the day? What about five minutes of meditation to increase your focus leading to better productivity? When put in these terms, health, and fitness quickly rise on the priority list of most leaders
The Unlit Leader’s Pro Tip
Experienced leaders schedule everything. Most leaders are busy, and there are usually more requirements than there are hours in a day. Therefore, if it’s not on the calendar, it may or may not get done for many leaders. I have a calendar time scheduled for meals, workouts, and meditation, among out things, to help me stay on track. It would help if you treated your holistic health the same way.
To best serve as a leader you must employ the best version of yourself. If you want to bring your best you must consistently self-improve, whether you are increasing your self-awareness, emotional intelligence, or incorporating a holistic approach to your health and fitness. Ask yourself, what are holistic health benefits and what are some of the challenges that may impede my success. As you go solidify your goals for the new year, ensure you prioritize your mind, body, and soul. I would love to hear how you plan to improve your holistic health and fitness in 2022, drop your comments below or share your story on Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter, or Instagram.