Declutter your life and embrace holistic health
By Dr. John Steytler in his personal capacity.
Let me start this column by wishing one and all a happy and prosperous 2023, filled with good health. My year started with moving house. Something we had not done for years and one thing that struck me is how much stuff we collected as a family. Every nook and cranny seemed to be filled with things. Things I did not know we had, things that I had assumed we had thrown away, and things I had no idea what their purpose was. Each time wondering why it was cluttering up our house when it had no discernible purpose.
This made me think of the parallels between a house and your mind. I won’t pretend I am the only one who has had this thought, but the similarity was too hard to ignore, and I just kept thinking about it. I assume almost everyone that moves to a new house promises to start to declutter. Getting rid of things they don’t need, stuff that takes up space and just weighs them down. The mind works in much the same way. We hold onto things, file them away in the nooks and crannies of our minds and let them live rent-free there. Taking up space and popping up in your consciousness at random and sometimes inopportune moments.
We hold onto things we have no control over, we relive and reimagine scenarios and how they could have played out differently. Much like we hoard things we will never use again. This places a huge burden on our mental health. The idea of constantly dealing with your ‘mental health’ already burdens you disproportionately. It’s much like being constantly told that you have to get healthy, the goal in itself becomes burdensome and cannot be shifted, cluttering up your consciousness.
Instead of speaking on mental health issues, it is much healthier to focus on something called ‘holistic health.’ It sounds a bit new-age and spiritual, which isn’t bad and shouldn’t put anyone off. It is an approach to life that considers multidimensional aspects of wellness. It encourages individuals to recognize the whole person. Your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health are all interlinked.
As soon as you broach the subject of mental health, sadly people still in this day and age giggle, make fun of, or simply dismiss any talk of mental health challenges, especially in Namibia. Whereas, if we speak of a holistic approach to our health, it makes more sense. We know we need to eat well to feel well, and that exercise keeps us healthier. At the same time, we should take time to focus our minds and efforts on what makes us happy. If we remove all the negative thoughts and clutter that invade our thoughts, we are already well on our way to living a healthy holistic lifestyle.
I promised myself that I would declutter the new house and throw more things out and I am trying my best to do this for all aspects of my life and not our home. It will hopefully not be so much a new year’s resolution and more of a new holistic approach to life and well-being, ensuring that I lead a holistically healthy life. It will not be a simple straight line from A to B, but we must start somewhere. This is where I choose to start in 2023.