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Welcoming (W)holistic Wellness

Wellness comprises so many different facets, different pieces and parts of your life.  Often, wellness gets categorized into two areas: physical wellness (having good overall health, agility and diet) and mental wellness (having a healthy relationship with emotions, feelings and thoughts).  Beyond this, though, there are the areas of wellness such as the health of your home and environment, the quality of your social support and relationships, the soundness of your financial practices, your spirituality and beliefs, your contentment with career and work, and the amount of creativity and challenge for personal growth in your life.  When working with traditional well-care practitioners, your general practitioner, therapist or specialist doctors, the focus generally steers to that practitioner’s area of expertise and rarely extends into these many other dimensions of wellness in your life.

If you think of your life as an ecosystem, with all the parts of your life working interrelatedly, you begin to see how by isolating one area of your wellness, without considering the other factors, you can miss something important.  The impacts of a drought extend far beyond lacking water for plants; it’s also about the chain of events which follows, such as insufficient conditions for microbial growth to feed insects, which then impacts pollination and also shortens food supplies for birds and animals, leaving these populations starving and necessitating they resort to eating trash, moving out of the area or unexpected death.  In this, you can see how something as simple as water becomes essential to the rest of the ecosystem which evolves around it.  Your wellness is just the same.  If you’re worried about finances, you’re likely bringing that stress into your home, leading to tensions in relationships and an uncomfortable home environment; now you’re not sleeping well, you develop aches in your body, and perhaps you feel depressed for not being able to have the things you need or want.

When viewing your wellness as interrelated across all avenues, you understand the importance of considering how your physical and/or mental health may be impacted in non-traditional ways.  This is where evaluating your wellness on the whole, from a synergistic and relational perspective, can open doors to supporting your overall wellness, across mind and body.  In the scenario above, perhaps you visit your doctor to talk about the pain you’re feeling – a traditional response is medication to ease the symptom, but it doesn’t usually look at the root of the problem.  Through a (w)holistic lens, you might take a few steps back to understand the pain started 2-3 months ago, which was when you started waking in the middle of the night.  From here, you might take another step back to realize your sleep patterns changed after you found out you’d be asked to take a pay cut or learned your rent would be increasing.  From this observation, your approach to the pain in your body would be to address the financial worries, at the root, which then restores more normalized patterns and the wellness of your relationships, home and sleep become improved.  **This is of course a hypothetical scenario, and I invite you to think of one that may resonate more closely with you.

Coming to these realizations can be difficult, especially because they’re not obvious.   There is an entire network of holistic wellness practitioners who specifically work with clients to help them make these connections.  Many times, by looking at a situation through a different lens, it opens you to shift your perception of what’s happening.  One of the key questions a holistic wellness practitioner will ask you is ‘what else is going on in your life?’  This becomes foundational to peeling back the layers and understanding the root cause, inviting you to look beyond the symptoms causing distress and back into the rest of your life.  There are many tremendous modalities to support this, many of which can be relaxing and/or fun!  The intent behind these holistic practices is to get the client back into a state of curiosity and ease, and out of stress and fight or flight mode.  From this place of greater connection with oneself, you can better listen to and see how the pieces of your life are impacting one another. 

Sound baths, massages, reflexology, Reiki, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, qi gong, wellness coaching – these are a few of the most effective and readily available holistic practices.  Personally, I can speak to my own practices of Reiki, yoga and wellness coaching, where I welcome clients to share what’s on their mind and what they’re feeling in their body.  We then work through identifying stagnant energy (mental, emotional, physical energy blocks or pain) in the body and moving it, either through meditation to connect with and alchemize it, or through yoga to process the energy through physical movement, or through Reiki to displace the stagnant bits with more supportive energies.  This gives clients space to perhaps start with the obvious and work into uncovering underlying contributors to their energetic blocks and overall wellness. 

I’ve also found great relief and increased my own state of wellness through acupuncture and massage, through dedicating time to my personal yoga practice and meditation, through breathwork, and also through sound therapy.  Recently, I had a 1:1 sound session with my friend and colleague, Dorina Leslie, who helped me process some stagnant energy I’d been carrying.  Sound (and vibration from sound) is such a magnificent conduit to access stuck energies that embed themselves on the cellular level.  Think about every time you’ve been stressed out – that ‘sticky’ energy deposits itself in your body and remains in your cells and tissues.  With sound frequency and vibration, you can tap into that trapped energy and support it to finally move out of the body.  After my session with Dorina, I felt lighter, more clear-headed and in better connection with myself; I felt relief from the sticky energy I’d been carrying around!

If you’re not familiar with holistic practices, I highly encourage you to find something that looks interesting to you.  A sound bath is extremely relaxing and detoxifying.  Yoga helps you stretch and create space to connect mind, body and spirit in union.  With Reiki, you can feel simultaneously re-energized and peaceful.  Through meditation, which may look like purposeful walking, or a seated posture, or laying and watching the clouds, you begin to quiet the mind and connect with your heart.  When you can get out of linear thinking and addressing symptoms only, you drop into a deeper holistic conversation with yourself where you can look beyond what is happening and look at what is contributing to your overall state of wellness.  And I can tell you this works in both directions – when you have those moments that everything feels easy, simple, joyful and bright, look at what is working so supportively, across all dimensions of your life, for you to be living in this beautiful state of wellness!  Wellness is so much more than just your physical and mental health; it’s about understanding how every part of your life contributes to the whole.

By Jennifer Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher, Wellness Coaching & Program Guide

*Interested to learn more about personalized sound therapy, Reiki, starting yoga or other holistic wellness practices? Visit us here.

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