Holistic is a word that is often heard being discussed around play groups, girls nights, kids events and activities, or over a cup of coffee at the local Town Square to name a few. Yet, do we understand and grasp what this word emcompasses? What it means and the value it holds in our work, in our relationships, in our families and in our health?
I believe there is importance and value in pausing here to define the word holistic. Holistic is the comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. As a Christian this is exactly what we believe. We believe that God has woven together the tiniest of molecules and cells that are all connected, all needing the others around it to make up the whole person- uniquely different, complex and yet all connected. If something occurs in one part of our body, our cells respond and the connection and response can be found throughout all parts of our body. Think back to your high school or college biology class and reflect on how incredible the cells in our body are, dividing and reproducing. While you go about your day, your cells are hard at work to allow you to go to work, go for a run, make breakfast, care for others and so much more!
Holistic care in medicine is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, accounting for the mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease. To be well is not just the absence of disease in one’s cells, it is the care of five major parts of us- our physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual wellness.
Slowing down to care for the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual wellness can be challenging at times. We live fast paced, busy lives, often planning and cramming things into our day down to the minute. When something hurts or when we fall ill, whether it be with a cough and sore throat or diabetes and high cholesterol we want the physical fixed quickly. We want the pain gone or the disease cured as we are already moving on to the next thing on our list. However, when we consider the whole and unique person rather than just the symptoms, we will see a return to health and a maintenance of that health.
Take for example the impact of stress on our physical well being. When our body feels stress our nervous system responds. Floods of stress hormones are released throughout our bodies, raising our heart rate, making us breathe faster and increasing our blood pressure and our blood sugar levels. Our bodies can respond to the stressor and then go back to baseline when the stressor is gone. But what happens when the stressor or multiple stressors are present for days, months, even years? As a health coach it is imperative that I look at the whole person- their emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual wellness in addition to their physical wellness. This facilitates and allows people to have the best possible health outcomes.
Take time today to pause and reflect on your own life and well being. What part of the whole are you not caring for? What physical symptoms are you feeling today because of that lack of care? Are you anxious or irritable because the bills are adding up and you lost your job last week? Talk to someone. Take a walk, talk to a counselor, meet a friend for coffee just to let it all out. Are you feeling inner discontentment or anger over broken relationships or family turmoil? Seek out spiritual fulfillment through song, scripture, meditation, or time in creation doing what you love. None of these activities alone can “fix” the disruption of health and wellness in your body, but together each part can bring you closer to being well.
Our Promise Nurse health coaches work one-on-one with individuals and their families in the clinic setting to evaluate health needs, environment and barriers to better health. In doing so, they help their patients establish a plan and guide them and their families along the way to achieve the plan. They also work closely with local and state resources to ensure that each person receives the support that they need.
One of the services our Population Health team here at Promise offers is Health Coaching. We offer free, high quality health coaching for individuals and families. All of the health coaching centers around you as the patient – your goals, needs, and input. Another service we offer is Nutrition Counseling. The health coaches at Promise Community Health Center provide healthy eating counseling through education on My Plate, the Mediterranean Diet, and 5-2-1-0. One other service we offer is Weight Loss Support. The health coaches at Promise Community Health Center are here to provide focused, long term support to help you identify your why and help you reach your goals. Our Population Health team also offers High Blood Pressure Assistance. The Population health team at Promise Community Health Center works in collaboration with your provider care team and our Pharm D to ensure that your blood pressure is managed. Our health coach visits are free to you and allow you to learn what may be leading to your elevated blood pressure, how to monitor it in your home and what you can do to improve your numbers.
The Promise Community Population health team believes your health begins at home and is a family affair! Our Population Health team here at Promise offers Family/Kids Nutrition Support. Our team works closely with parents and kids to help provide education, resources and support on how to build a healthy lifestyle. Our Population Health team also offers Prediabetes Prevention/Education, along with Diabetes Care. Through collaborative efforts with the medical team, Promise Community Health Center is screening and identifying patients at high risk for prediabetes. When identified as having prediabetes, the Population health team will provide education, support and referral to Diabetes Prevention programs. The nurse health coaches at Promise Community Health Center work in collaboration with the provider care teams and Pharm D to provide you evidence-based education, support and access to the resources you need to live a long, vibrant life.