*All information below has been provided by Jess Hatheway, founder of The Wholistic Picture.*
Hey new friend! I'm so happy you have found my guide for 8 Sustainable Habits for Wholistic Wellness! We take a bit of a different approach here at The Wholistic Picture for wellness and I encourage you to keep an open mindset when thinking about the WHOLE picture (see what we did there) of your wellness. Often times we get so caught up in society's diet culture and what those around us "think" we should be doing for our wellness, that we lose sight of our inner voices and cues of what each of our unique bodies, minds and spirits truly need.
Here we will go over habits that have helped myself and my community to change our lives. Some of these habits we often lose sight of and do not see as part of our wellness. I encourage you to reflect on each of these habits and where you stand with them currently in your life AND how you can improve upon them moving forward. All of these habits work closely together to make up our "whole picture" of wellness. Once we dive into each of these habits separately, we can also soon see how when one of these habits is off kilter, it can easily interfere in not only other habits listed in this guide, but in many other aspects of our lives as well.
The Importance of Self-Care
Everything starts and ends with YOU. Now that may be a harsh statement for some, but it is our reality. You know when you take a flight and the attendant explains how to put on your oxygen mask. They go on to say make sure you put on YOUR oxygen mask before helping the person next to you? Guess what? That's the same with LIFE. You cannot care for your kids, your spouse, your fur babies, your friends, your family, your job, etc. well without first caring for YOURSELF well.
Ideas for Self-Care
Reading a book
Watch a movie in your favorite pajamas with your favorite blanket
Taking a bath
Giving yourself a facial
Brushing your teeth/washing your face/showering (nightly routine)
Go to the gym or get your body moving
Take a new class or learn something new that you've never tried before
Go on a walk
Indulge in a spa day
Drink your favorite hot beverage, or hey maybe a glass of wine!
Have a lunch date with a friend or family member you haven't seen in a while and feed your soul.
2. Personal Growth
The Importance of Personal Growth
Personal growth and personal development, another habit that a lot of people DON'T do. Here's the deal, you can absolutely, 100% love every moment of your life right now, as it is, while still leaving space for personal development, learning and growing. It does not mean you are flawed; it does not mean you are a bad person or dislike your current circumstances, it simply means that you desire and appreciate fulfilling your destiny and true essence of the amazing individual you are and always have been!
Ideas for Personal Growth
read a personal development book (there are SOOO many out there and no they are not all the "woo-woo" kinds, some of them feel just like your BFF speaking the truth into your soul...find what one's jive with you)
listen to podcasts (again...same as above, sometimes you may not like the person's voice, or the way their message comes across, don't give up, try again)
take a class, seminar or workshop in something you have wanted to learn more about go to a personal development conference...because there is nothing like being submerged around that positive energy!
3. Mindful Nutrition
The Importance of Mindful Nutrition
Diets suck...let's just call a spade a spade. Most of us have tried one in our lifetime, some of us have been dieting since we were children and one thing most of us have in common is that they didn't work, we were often miserable on them, we were victims to the scale, rigid with negative self-talk and body shaming and/or often times ate so much before or after our "diet time frame" that it sent us right on the roller coaster to do it all. over. again.
Mindful nutrition, anti-dieting, intuitive eating, breaking diet culture...all these terms are slowly gaining some light. What they all have in common is striving to do the following:
breaking dieting culture and evaluating what thoughts/feelings are brought up when people around you are dieting, advertisements encourage dieting, etc. getting in tune with yourself and body awareness recognizing hunger cues, fullness and why we eat
feeling which foods fuel you, what foods make you feel bad and making an empowered choice based on those feelings finding sustainable nutrition practices that work for YOU and your body
4. Physical Activity
The Importance of Physical Activity
Get out there and MOVE. This does not have to look like going to the gym or lifting weights, physical activity can take so many forms. I also encourage everyone to also find their SOULMATE workout. My soulmate workout is fitness boxing, for others, bless their souls, it's running (not my jam) but that is the beauty of finding what works for UNIQUE YOU. Physical activity helps to create energy, it produces endorphins, dopamine and serotonin...all those happy hormones that boost our mood. It can also be a great way to meet new people, build community, relieve stress and so much more!
Ideas for Physical Activity
Go for a walk or run
Take a yoga class
Try a new fitness class
Play with your kids or grandkids workout at home
Take up hiking or other outdoor activities
Go indoor rock climbing
Play Wii or other active video games
Go dancing or take a dancing class with your spouse try out a trampoline park! The options are endless
5. Stress Management
The Importance of Stress Management
Oh, good old stress, we all have experienced it and it can come from all aspects of life, from all angles and sometimes all at once. Managing that stress is extremely important for our well-being! Stress can cause so many negative effects in our life including; headaches, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, chronic fatigue, muscle pain, poor immunity/sickness, risk of high blood pressure, upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation...and more. Did that get your attention yet?
Another important note on stress and diet culture is that unknowingly we often times are chronically stressed when we are on a "diet". Constantly obsessing, constantly experiencing negative self-talk about our bodies, worrying about every single move we make and food we put into our mouths, self-sabotaging...all of these things can lead to chronic stress. Why would something that can cause so much stress and heartache be so widely accepted by our culture? Why would you put yourself through something that would cause all of the negative effects of stress listed above and then some?
Ideas for Stress Management
Do a stress evaluation: figure out WHERE exactly your stress is coming from and reflect on a few ideas on how to change it...after all YOU ARE IN CONTROL of your decisions and actions always
Journal and Reflect
Meditation and Yoga
Deep breathing and mindfulness practices slow down and time manage
Declutter your space
Get enough sleep
Listen to music
Don't take on too much
Hold space for FUN
6. Healthy Relationships
The Importance of Healthy Relationships
Now we're not just talking about romantic relationships here (although those need to be healthy too) we are talking about the relationships with family, friends, your kids, yes, your spouse. And here's the kicker, the relationship with YOURSELF. That was curveball wasn't it? We often times do not take into consideration the relationship that we have within our own bodies and minds.
Everyone has heard the "You become most like the five people you spend the most time with" quote, right? This also means that any stress that is caused or any upset that is occurring within those close relationships is magnified more than any other relationships we have. Those five people are a great place to start, but rebuilding, reconciling and building new relationships is also so important to continue to strengthen your "healthy relationships" muscle. If there are people in your life that lift your spirits, fill you with joy and support you be intentional about surrounding yourself with those people more. If there are people that drain your energy, put you down, bring negativity with them everywhere they go and simply are not the greatest people to be around be intentional about limiting your time with them and/or setting boundaries with them. Note: Sometimes those people that you may need to start setting boundaries with and see less can be family and some of the people closest to you. I know it's difficult, but when it comes to protecting your energy and well-being it is truly necessary.
Ideas for Healthy Relationships
date nights (weekly is ideal and no, these don't have to be extravagant!)
schedule monthly friend dates
text or call a friend whenever you think about them, even if it's something little that reminded you of them
reflect on who carries negative energy in your life and who carries positive energy, then make the adjustments necessary for setting boundaries where needed
The Importance of Hydration
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water! Water is one of the most important pieces of our wellness because it directly affects many of our bodily functions that we don't even realize. It keeps us energized and helps fight against fatigue. Water helps lubricate our joints and keeps our muscles functioning at their optimal level. It ALSO helps with workout recovery. Water helps flush out toxins and unwanted bacteria from our body. It helps maintain healthy digestion and bowel movements. Water promotes healthy skin, heart function, brain function and so much more. Many of us do not get enough water every day and experience dehydration symptoms. The good news? Drinking water can have a direct and immediate effect on many of those dehydration symptoms.
Ideas for Hydration
drink at LEAST half of your body weight in ounces of water each day (example: a person weighing 150 pounds should
drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water each day) *This needs increased if you work out or are very active! Not a fan of water? Try sparkling flavored water or other flavored water. A huge fan of soda/pop, but want to transition away? water down your favorite with half
club soda or seltzer water
Drink out of a straw...trust me it helps you drink more
8. Sleep and Rest
The Importance of Sleep and Rest
Oh man, sleep and rest, something most of us do not get near enough of. I love me some sleep, but when other parts of our lives are off balance, if we are experiencing stress or anxiety, going through a lot of transition, supporting a family, etc. sleep can be a difficult thing to obtain. On top of getting enough sleep, getting enough relaxation and rest in our lives is another piece of wellness that our hustle-minded society does not always allow. Sleep and rest are two ways that our bodies reenergize, rebuild and recover. Most adults need anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep and it has been found that women need more sleep than men.
Ideas for Sleep and Rest
Have grace with yourself; Girl, you can do ANYTHING in your life that you dream, but you cannot do EVERYTHING all at one time. Have grace with yourself, particularly in times of transition, to be patient with yourself and allow for rest and relaxation so that you can continue to move forward towards your goals.
Know your body; know how many hours you need, find out what length of nap works best for you, try new bedtime routines and relaxation techniques
From your findings above, create a bedtime ritual and lifestyle that lends itself to support what your body needs most because remember we are all unique and may need different things than others!
Plan for relaxation; whether it be a weekend away with your spouse or best friend, a time to allow yourself to read your favorite book, scheduling a bath time, planning for a glass of wine and a movie, whatever it may be plan for it and ALLOW yourself to enjoy that rest
A letter from me to you...
Thank you for taking the time to read my guide of 8 Sustainable Habits for Wholistic Wellness! As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, wellness is a very personal journey that needs to be unique to YOU. It has taken me YEARS to develop, mold and find what works best for me and my body, a journey that I will continue to be on for the rest of my life. Speaking from experience there is NO QUICK FIX anywhere that is sustainable. The key word there being SUSTAINABLE. If you have tried wellness practices in the past and they didn't work for you, TRY SOMETHING ELSE! Don't just give up on yourself and your wellness, try, try and try again. Failure is your teacher, not your enemy.
Know that you are absolutely never alone on this journey. I hope you will use this guide to kickstart or reinvigorate your wellness practices! So, you may not have been taking the best care of yourself recently? Maybe you have been going through a major life transition, maybe you recently lost someone close to you, maybe your social or work calendar has you so jam packed that you have lost sight of your own needs, maybe you just have lost your motivation and inspiration...DO NOT GIVE UP. I have been there, heck I still go through these same seasons in life from time to time, we all do. One thing that is not unique to everyone is that LIFE HAPPENS no matter who you are. It is how we handle these seasons and transitions that matters. It is how we get BACK UP!
If you are ready to get back up, continue on, try something new or heck, just have a kick ass community to support you through this crazy thing called life I would love to work with you. I wish you all of the wellness, self-care, body love and grace in the world friend! Talk to you soon.
A little more about me...
Hey there again! I wanted to share a bit more about me and my own journey with you. I am from Pittsburgh, PA born and raised. I grew up with a passion for cooking and baking with my family which led me to pursuing my certifications and degree in Culinary, Pastry Arts and Hospitality Management.
Along my college journey I navigated through a severe battle with anxiety and depression. Through that time, I found my passion for fitness and nutrition. I dove head first into the fitness industry after college and became club manager and fitness instructor at a local fitness boxing club. Along the way I continued my education to include certifications in personal training, nutrition and wellness consulting and holistic nutrition. I am a firm believer in finding a healthy lifestyle that goes against society's dieting culture, and creating one that works for each individual. Wellness is not one size fits all and my passion lies in helping my clients find what THEIR balanced, happy, most fulfilling life looks like for them.