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Pillars of Holistic Health and Why They are Critical for Employee Well-Being

Explore the Foundations of Holistic Health: Sleep, Movement, Nutrition, Emotional Regulation, Relationships, and Work and Purpose

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Jan 17, 2024
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Last updated on Dec 11, 2023

In a world where 93% of employees believe wellbeing is as important as their salary and 81% are seeking workplaces that support mental health, it’s time to take holistic health benefits seriously.

What is holistic health? At its core, it is preventative healthcare. It combines practices that support mental health, emotional health and physical health, taking a whole human preventative approach instead of zooming in on symptoms once there is already a problem. A large component of holistic health is creating better habits around nutrition, movement, sleep and mindfulness. A holistic health coach (or a platform like WellSet!) can help to support the building of better habits that can lead to feeling better mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

A Harvard meta analysis found companies who invest in wellbeing programs like WellSet see up to 227% ROI for every dollar spent. Unaddressed stress leads to burnout, attrition, absenteeism, performance problems and even expensive chronic health issues.

The Pillars of Holistic Health

While holistic health can be hard to define, there are critical pillars that influence overall mental, physical and emotional health that we engage with each and every day. They are sleep, movement, nutrition, emotional regulation, relationships, and work and purpose. Each of these areas either contributes or detracts from employee health and wellbeing. 


Quality sleep often gets sacrificed in the long list of daily priorities. Consistently healthy sleep patterns may seem like a luxury, but a full night of rest (8 hours being the gold standard) is essential to our everyday functioning and impacts everything from healthy digestion and fine motor skills to emotional regulation, including the ability to navigate stressful environments or show up fully for work or personal relationships. According to the CDC, one third of US adults report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. Unfortunately, both the mind and body suffer the impacts of sleep-deprivation over time—a lack of quality sleep is linked to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. 

WellSet provides sleep-centered classes to prepare the mind and body for deep, restorative sleep. Classes like guided sound meditations—which feature crystal singing bowls tuned to healing frequencies that calm the nervous system—are designed to increase both Delta and Theta brainwave states, responsible for activating the REM cycle and peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Additionally, WellSet offers classes like Yoga Nidra, Yin Yoga, Acupressure classes to help decompress and prepare for sleep. When the body rests fully at night, we make room for our best, healthiest selves to show up each day.


Movement is medicine. According to the CDC, regular physical activity is one of the most powerful preventative and curative tools at our disposal. Physical activity, in many forms, can support and improve many whole-health functions and conditions. It has the capacity to protect and enhance cognition long-term, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (the number one cause of death in the US), lowers risk of injury by strengthening protective muscles and fortifying our bones, and can even act as an alleviant to mental health conditions like anxiety and depression by calming our central-nervous system and stress-response. According to Harvard Health, meditative movement practices, such as Yoga and Qi Gong (both offered on WellSet!), help people become more in-tune with the sensations in the body, better able to cope with stress and have even shown to help reduce symptoms of PTSD. 

While exercise significantly improves health outcomes across the board, the population at large remains rooted in sedentary culture. Powered by factors like all-day desk work, demanding schedules and perceived lack of accessibility, only 25% of US adults meet the physician-outlined guidelines for physical activity, as reported by the CDC. 

To make movement accessible to all, WellSet offers movement classes across multiple modalities, including Yoga, Qi Gong, Stretching, Myofascial Release, foam rolling and Posture. All movement classes are gentle and therapeutic, including Chair Yoga that is specifically designed for individuals with physical disabilities. 


Food is medicine. What we fuel our bodies with impacts everything from immunity to cognition and sleep quality. A nourishing, balanced diet has been shown to act as a powerful, if not the most effective, natural agent in fighting chronic illness (like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers). Whole nutritious foods boost energy and protect cognition and mental health over time. Science has recently found a direct link between nutrition and its impact on our mood. According to Harvard Health, 95% of our serotonin, the neurotransmitter mainly responsible for regulating our mood, is produced in our gastrointestinal tract. We also know that accessing healthy nutrition guidance isn’t easy. Only 50% of Americans report prioritizing a healthy diet. 

WellSet bridges this gap through nutrition coaching and functional medicine classes. Through a body-inclusive lens and always rooted in science, our nutrition classes focus on a range of topics. From “Foods to Support Gut Health” to “Tips on How to Lower Blood Sugar” to “Healthy Eating on a Budget”, WellSet’s dietitian-led classes are designed to help individuals discover foods to support optimal functioning, fuel the body and maintain energy throughout the day.

Emotional Regulation

Emotional health, which is closely linked to mental health, is relatively new in the realm of holistic health. It regards how our feelings, thoughts and emotions impact our overall health and functioning. Emotional well-being, if neglected, can also impact performance at work (i.e. focus), interpersonal relationships and capacity for resilience. According to the NIH, emotional wellness is “the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” Research by Boston University psychiatrist and author of the Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk, has shown that suppressed emotions and trauma can be stored in the physical body, and if not addressed, can inhibit us from functioning at our highest potential and moving forward in our lives from a place of inner peace and freedom. 

WellSet offers classes across multiple modalities to help release pent-up emotions, create a safe space to connect within and understand emotional needs with clarity and intention. From therapist-guided journaling, to gentle heart-coherence breathwork to self-massage practices to tune inward, our curriculum is designed to help you get in touch with and process your emotions so that you can be present and live fully.  


Social connections certainly drive feelings of inclusiveness and acceptance, and they may also protect health and lengthen lifespan. Recent research is finding that our links to others can have powerful effects on our health—both emotionally and physically. Loneliness has been compared to the negative health impacts of smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Whether with colleagues, family, friends, neighbors, or others, social connections can influence biology and well-being.

WellSet offers classes to reduce loneliness and disconnection, as well as enhance relationships. From giving and receiving feedback, to communication and setting boundaries, WellSet classes focus on improving family, work and social relationships that boost happiness and reduce conflict.

Work & Purpose

Research demonstrates that individuals with a strong sense of purpose live longer, get higher quality sleep, have a stronger immune system and lower stress levels.

This sense of purpose is often tied to our jobs and careers. Further, creating work environments that support employee mental and physical well-being improves productivity, retention and overall feelings of connectedness at work. 

WellSet offers classes to help employees feel better at work (i.e. movement, breath and meditation classes accessible at your desk!), workshops to improve company culture (i.e. The Power of Listening in Supporting Work-Based Relationships) and classes to help manage stress in real-time so you can focus on doing your best work. WellSet’s curriculum is designed to support both individuals and teams with tools to foster a supportive work environment. 

Bringing Holistic Health to the Workplace

People Leaders play a crucial role in promoting holistic health within their organizations. By implementing wellness programs that address the physical, emotional and relational well-being of employees, companies not only boost employee engagement and retention, but also lower healthcare costs over time. Seventy-eight percent of HR leaders report that their wellness programs reduce the cost of providing healthcare benefits, and 85% note a decrease in sick day utilization. By prioritizing holistic health, not only do employees experience greater wellbeing, but organizations also reap the rewards of healthier, happier, and more productive employees. It's a win-win for everyone involved. 

About WellSet

WellSet is the world’s most comprehensive holistic wellbeing platform with a suite of engagement tools that drive industry-leading utilization and results. Featuring a suite of tools and a next generation digital studio, WellSet is a 360 degree approach to wellbeing for your team unlike any other.

Learn more or schedule a consultation to see how WellSet can support your team.

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