As a health coach, you want nothing more than to help others navigate the road back to good health. It’s hard to watch people struggle because they just don’t feel great. And you’ve made a commitment to help your clients make the changes they need to make to get healthy again. A large part of why they are struggling in the first place is chronic stress.
Stress is a normal part of life. The stress response was designed to help us survive dangerous situations. But we don’t have the same dangers today that our ancestors did. Now, most of our stress comes from perceived and imagined threats, not real ones. And when left unmanaged, stress becomes a chronic issue. It throws hormones out of balance, causes symptoms, and begins to chip away at health. Stress is currently the top contributor to all chronic health complaints. Sadly, most people do little to manage stress each day. And they have no idea that stress is contributing to their health issues.
Be an example
As a health coach, it’s important for you to set an example for your clients. You are modeling good health to your clients. And they will best learn from your example. Helping them manage stress daily is an important part of helping them rebuild their health. But are you actively managing your stress each day? If not, now is the best time to start! And here are a few things you can do to reduce stress in your own life.
Take regular technology breaks
Technology can be very beneficial. It keeps us connected, gives us ways to meet with clients, and promote our business. It helps keep us entertained and informed. But it is also a big source of stress. We were not meant to sustain the levels of constant external stimulation that define modern life. Blue light from screens impacts the production of melatonin, stressing our circadian rhythm and disrupting sleep. Many people have the television on for 2.5-4 hours on average each day. And studies have shown that those constant notifications on your phone and computer cause a stress response. Technology connects us to the world 24/7…and we often feel as if we have to respond immediately.
Taking regular technology breaks is important. You need time to disconnect from the external stimulation. It gives the nervous system a much-needed break, which helps to reduce stress. Try to find a day each month to shut off your computer, television, smartphone, and other gadgets for the entire day. Then one or more times a week, give yourself a tech break of at least a few hours if possible.
Create a healthy work/life balance
We live in a society that prides itself on being busy all the time. Being a workaholic is not only expected but worn like a badge of honor. And the pressure to work all of the time can be especially hard on those coaches who run their own businesses. As your own boss, you wear a lot of different hats. When you run your own health coaching practice you are a coach, administrator, and marketer. And you may find yourself working late into the evening trying to get it all done. But everyone needs time for self-care and for life. You are far more productive when you find a good balance between your work and your life.
Set specific blocks of time for work and hold yourself to that time! Set alarms on your phone to help let you know when it is time to quit for the day. You will be tempted to check work emails and social media notifications on your phone, but don’t! Most of the time people discover that they get more done in less time when they create time to get out, spend time with family and friends, and live a life that is more than just work.
Get up and move
As a health coach, you should already be working out regularly. But are you taking time to move throughout the day? When working you may spend a good deal of time sitting. Get up at least once an hour for 2-3 minutes and move your body. You can go for a short walk or dance around the room. Just moving will get your blood flowing and lower stress. Set your phone to remind you hourly. Many fitness trackers also include notifications to move each hour.
Just be sure not to take your phone with you while you’re moving. This is the perfect time for a mini technology break too. Your brain will thank you.
Spend time outside
Spending time out in nature helps lower cortisol levels and reduce stress. Spending as little as 10 minutes in nature begins to calm the nervous system and counteract the stress response. But studies have shown that at least 20 minutes outside has the greatest impact.
Not only does being out in nature reduce stress. It lowers blood pressure, lifts your mood, and improves your sleep too.
Practice Deep breathing
One of the simplest things you can do throughout your day is to take a few moments and do some deep, diaphragmatic breathing. Slowing down your breathing helps to reset the nervous system and stop the stress response.
You can do deep breathing exercises almost anywhere. You can do it while walking down the aisle at the grocery store, fixing dinner at home, or driving your car. 20-30 minutes each day can not only reduce stress, but it can improve your mood, help you focus, and increase your energy too.
Make self-care a priority!
You have to practice what you are preaching to your clients! If you are encouraging them to practice self-care, but you aren’t, that sets a bad example. You have to take the time for yourself. Better yet, you can share what you do to take care of yourself and reduce stress with your clients. You are the best testimonial for your business! And they will be looking at your health as a guide.
Managing stress daily doesn’t need to take a lot of time. But keeping yourself healthy is beneficial not just to you, but to the clients that work with you.