A Holistic Approach to Coping with Stress
You may observe that some clients presenting with good emotional health tend to be more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. These are clients that have learned positive, healthy ways to cope with stress and challenges that are a normal part of everyday life. These clients typically feel good about themselves and tend to have healthy relationships.
Common Causes of Stress and Anxiety
Sometimes clients need help, with so many things that happen in their lives, disrupting their emotional health. This can lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress or anxiety. These might include:
- A change in employment or the loss of a job
- Changes in the family structure – children moving away, returning home
- Death and/or bereavement
- Getting divorced or married
- Sustaining an illness or an injury
- A job promotion
- Financial concerns
- Relocating residence
- Becoming new parents/birth of a child
So you can see that some “good” changes can be just as stressful as those typically viewed as “bad” changes. Our bodies respond to the way we think or perceive life, or how we feel and act. This is referred to as the “mind/body connection.”
Physical Effects of Stress and Anxiety
When a client is stressed, anxious, or upset, their body may be telling them that something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer may be associated with particularly stressful events, such as the death of a loved one. The following can be physical signs that your client’s emotional health is out of balance:
- Back pain, typically in the lower or upper regions
- Change in appetite
- Chest pains
- Dry mouth
- Extreme tiredness not resulting from a lack of sleep
- General aches and pains at joints
- Headaches – tension or migraine type
- High blood pressure
- Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
- Sexual problems of varied nature
- Shortness of breath or labored breathing
- Stiff neck – sometimes seen in conjunction with tense muscles in the upper back region
- Upset stomach or digestive problem
- Weight gain or loss
Coaching Clients to Cope with Stress
Hopefully, by now you both know and believe that poor emotional health can weaken the body’s immune system, making it more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times. In addition to this, when clients are feeling stressed, anxious, or upset, they may not take care of their health as well as they should.
Exercising, eating nutritious foods (or taking prescription medicines as directed) may help clients in these times. Additionally, the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs may be indicators of poor emotional health in your client.
Coach clients to try to recognize their emotions and to understand how they come about. Identifying the root causes of sadness, stress, and anxiety in your clients’ life can help them manage your emotional health. The following are some other helpful tips:
Coach toward the expression of feelings in appropriate ways. If feelings of stress, sadness, or anxiety are causing physical problems, this is a more immediate concern. It’s perfectly acceptable to encourage your client to share with you when something is bothering them – this is how you assess and redirect your client!
Family and friends may also be used to support your coaching efforts. Remember that your client is coming to you for advice and support to help you improve their lives and in some cases, this involves strategies to improve emotional health tied to their friends or family. Live a balanced life.
Coach clients to try not to obsess about the problems at work, school or home that lead to negative feelings or negative self-talk. It’s important for your client to know how to deal with negative feelings, and to focus on the positive things in their lives too.
Promote the use of a journal to keep track of thoughts that are positive and insightful. Some research shows that having a positive outlook can improve life quality by tapping into good health for the times when your client feels stressed or challenged to be whole.
You may also need to find ways to help clients let go of some things in their life that make them feel stressed or overwhelmed. It is vital to encourage clients to make time for things that they enjoy.
Promote resilience. People with resilience are able to cope with stress in a healthy way. Resilience can be learned and strengthened with different strategies. These include having social support, keeping a positive view, accepting change, and keeping things in perspective.
Suggest ways for the client to calm their mind and body. Relaxation methods, such as meditation, are useful ways to bring emotions into balance. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. For example, it can be accomplished by exercising, stretching or breathing deeply. Be able to provide supporting information about relaxation methods to your client if meditation is part of your strategy with their holistic coaching plan.
Take care of yourself as an example or lead to the client. To promote holism in a consistent manner, it is important for the coach to also have good physical and emotional health; it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and exercising to relieve pent- up tension – sometimes the result of carrying the burdens of clients with you each day.
The stress of living during a pandemic has turned our daily lives and the lives of our clients and their families upside down. It comes at no surprise that most of your clients are concerned about their health and well-being during this time.
If you focus your work in the “holistic” areas of health, fitness and wellness, the Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach course is your next step. Without this knowledge and certification, you won’t have everything you need to help all your clients.
Our Stress Management coaching program is designed for life coaches, as well as fitness and wellness professionals who want to expand his or her knowledge in the lucrative and expanding field.
Become a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Holistic health and well-being are essential to overall life success. Now you can earn a credential and gain the skills to help your clients achieve this success.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.