The 5 Pillars Of Holistic Wellbeing: What Are They And What Practices Support Them

What do you think is the best approach to taking care of yourself?

What first attracted me to learn about holistic wellbeing is the idea that taking good care of ourselves means looking into all areas of our lives. Obsessing over one thing – be it our body image, mental health or spiritual state, is not the answer to wellbeing. Balance is the answer.

You may ask β€œbalance of what?”. Balance of the different areas of wellbeing, or the so-called “pillars” of wellbeing. The number of pillars varies according to different sources. Sometimes you will see five, sometimes seven or even as many as nine. For the sake of simplicity, I have chosen to use the five pillars as my orientation point. I use them as a basis for my online training and refer to them in many of my articles (like in the one where I recommend journal ideas to help you enhance wellbeing).

Understanding each pillar and how they all contribute to our overall wellbeing is a wonderful first step towards looking at our lives from a holistic perspective. Spend a few minutes to get to know the differences between these five areas. I have also included a few simple clues on how you can look after each of them in your day-to-day life.

Physical Wellbeing

You might be surprised that physical wellbeing is not only about having a healthy body. Yes, of course, being healthy contributes generously to this type of wellbeing. However, physical wellness is also concerned with your energy levels, endurance and sleep quality. It also entails living a life free of addiction and medication (as much as possible). 

Take care of your physical wellbeing by:

  • Eating well and hydrating enough;
  • Sleeping enough;
  • Moving your body;

Mental Wellbeing

Although they sound similar, mental wellbeing is not exactly the same as mental health. Even if the latter is lowered by a mental illness or condition, you could still experience mental wellbeing. Signs of wellbeing in this area are feeling good and confident about yourself, being able to cope with and bounce back from stressful situations, recognising your value and potential, having a healthy self-esteem. 

Take care of your mental wellbeing by:

  • Engaging in mindfulness exercises, such as meditating;
  • Engaging in activities that make you feel good;
  • Learning how to manage stress;
  • Maintaining healthy confidence and self-esteem levels;

Emotional Wellbeing

In many ways emotional and mental wellbeing overlap. The focus of this area is predominantly on whether or not you are able to recognise, understand and manage your emotions in a healthy way. A big part of emotional wellbeing is how well you are able to communicate your emotions and deal with those of the people around you. 

Take care of your mental wellbeing by:

  • Learning to recognise your emotions;
  • Learning more about emotional intelligence;
  • Finding the best way for you to release negative emotions;
  • Learning to communicate your emotions;

Spiritual Wellbeing

Although engaging in religious or spiritual practices falls into the category, spiritual wellbeing is foremost about finding meaning and purpose in your life through a feeling of connectedness to oneself, a higher power, or nature. I love that nature has its own category, don’t you? If you invest time in your spiritual wellbeing, it can become a source of powerful strength and motivation in your life.

Take care of your spiritual wellbeing by:

  • Spending time in nature;
  • Learning and practising a religion, if you believe in one;
  • Explore your purpose and what you think the meaning of life is;

Social Wellbeing

Social wellbeing is connected to the feeling of belonging to a group of people – be it at work, school, or your neighbourhood, as well as to the contribution we make to society. Being able to form healthy relationships with others, to be a part of a community and to contribute positively to these groups is important for your social wellbeing. Curiously, partaking in cultural traditions also enhances this area. As a foreigner, I appreciate that – it is nice to remember and honour some traditions of my home country even when living abroad.

Take care of your social wellbeing by:

  • Maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family (it is equally important to disengage from the ones that are not good for you);
  • Give back to society or your community – volunteer, support causes that you are passionate about;
  • Practice generosity;

We, humans, are complex beings and it only makes sense that our wellbeing does not depend on just one thing, or just one of these pillars. Examining how these five areas work in your life, how and if they are integrated with each other, and putting time into enhancing them is an effort that will be rewarded. If you are curious about how to do this work in simple ways that you can practice every day, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter and stay tuned for more useful articles

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