What Is Holistic Well-Being?

What is holistic well-being?

Holistic well-being was a concept we knew we had to explore in our book. But what does it even mean? Holistic might be a term we hear a lot in wellness circles. We wanted to take a few minutes to unpack what it all means.

We know that the word holistic is used a lot by wellness influencers within the Wellness Industrial Complex (WIC). They use it  to talk about a more comprehensive approach to health. Even though it can have negative connotations, the buzzword is a big part of reaching a culture of balance.

The term “holistic” is an adjective derived from the concept of “holism.” Merriam-Webster defines “holistic” as, “Relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.” Therefore, it’s used within the WIC to talk about “holistic wellness.” Or wellness that is concerned with the whole person or system.

What we learned through our research is that there are 8 forms of well-being that make up wellness. These eight forms are: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and social. If you Google the 8 dimensions of wellness, you will find a cornucopia of images and graphics of the dimensions. Honestly, there are a lot of Venn diagrams. 

While we love a good Venn diagram as much as anyone, we wanted to go a step further by showing that the dimensions are connected and interdependent. They are not static or fixed sizes based on their importance because they do not have equal weight or equal space in our lives. We knew that had to be clear in our vision of the 8 Dimensions.

The Burnout Ladies’ Wheel of Well-being:

As you can see on our wheel, each of the dimensions is connected to each other and to the central hub through the rim and the spokes. To cultivate holistic well-being, we have to recognize that everyone has all 8 dimensions of wellbeing. We have to learn to differentiate between the holistic importance of each dimension and its significance to an individual person.

At different points in your life, or at different times during your burnout, you will need to give more specific attention to one or more dimensions over the others. However, when we provide equal consideration, not weight, for the dimensions, the wheel is balanced.

So what does holistic well-being mean? It means that your wheel is balanced between all 8 dimensions. When we consider the whole person, and all it takes to keep us healthy and balanced in our culture of burnout. 

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