Help yourself to health
Good health may be our most precious asset, but it can slip away almost without our noticing. We wake one day, and notice how difficult it is to get going in the morning, or that some familiar exercise is leaving us short of breath. Or perhaps there’s an accident or we need an operation, and recovery is taking a while… In other cases, the light seems rather to have leaked out of life, and body and mind seem slowed and depressed…
There is plenty of good advice around – we are blessed with a amazing National Health Service, generally excellent GPs and support services. The government is eager to advise us, along with pretty much everyone on the internet! Our family and friends too are full of ideas and helpful suggestions.
And yet, sometimes, it’s not enough. Doctors are busy; friends and family have their own problems and we don’t want to bother them too much; the advice online is contradictory and doesn’t really meet our needs. If we are uncertain of exactly what’s wrong, or improvement is taking longer than we hoped, it can be easy to lose the hope of a full recovery. If we are slower than we used to be, our joints more uncomfortable, perhaps that is just age, and we should get used to it.
If this is where you are, you need 3 things:
- to remember what good health looks and feels like for you – so you can set your sights again on a really full and satisfying life, as free of your health problems as humanly possible!
- the skills and knowledge about how you can work with your body and mind to help yourself improve as fast as possible, and then stay healthy
- ongoing encouragement and support as you progress, and perhaps the occasional kick in the pants when you’re feeling overly sorry for yourself!
This is where health coaching can help.
Remembering good health
When you’ve been ill, or are recovering from an operation or accident, it’s easy to lose touch with how it feels to be well. It’s all too easy to settle for ‘a bit of improvement’ rather than aim for full recovery.
Now full recovery is not always possible, even with today’s medicine, but often people settle for less than they are capable of. There are lots of reasons for this. For one thing, it’s incredibly tiring recovering from illnesses and interventions! Your mind and body have been working overtime, and they are ready to ease off. For another, the friends and family who encouraged us and urged us on at the start have had to go back to their own lives. And for yet another, we’ve adapted now – we have ways of dealing with the problems that our incapacity has caused us, and the need to get back to full health is less immediate.
So, if we’re not careful, we settle for less than we could have – even if it means a more restricted life, perhaps more pain and discomfort, maybe even a shorter life, as we become more sedentary, enjoy ourselves less, and subject ourselves to greater stress.
But with skilled help, it’s entirely possible to really remember, all through you, what good health means for you, why it’s so important, and how much you want it. And when you have this understanding, you have the motivation you need to keep working towards being really well!
Body and mind skills
Western medicine has focused on the body for centuries, with amazing effect. We have wonderful drugs and surgeries, and can cure an extraordinary range of conditions. At the same time, it has (until recently) pretty much completely ignored the links between the mind and the body, and the way they can interact to help each other. Yes, it’s true, thinking can help you heal!
There are many many ways of supporting the healthy interaction of your mind and body – meditation, visualisations, massage, tai chi and qigong, and some of them will be right for you. Part of my work as a health coach is to help you find the right mix, the magic combination that that is your key, unlocking your healing and recovery potential. (And before you wonder whether this is all “woo-woo nonsense”, let me remind you of the increasing body of scientific research that shows how powerful the mind-body interaction is. Our job is to work together to help you harness it for yourself.)
And once you’ve discovered what works for you to speed healing and recovery, you also know the basics of how to keep yourself healthy and well for the future. Every bit of time and effort you put in to learning this pays off double, in improvements now, and in better health forever!
Support, encouragement and the occasional kick in the pants
it’s natural for our moods to fluctuate, especially when we’re in recovery. Sometimes we’re buoyant, are certain of full recovery and can take on the world, and at other times, we are sure that we will always be in pain, and that life will never be as full and enjoyable as it used to be. (These are the times when it seems sensible to settle for what we already have.)
At times like these, your health coach comes into her own! My job is to remind, persuade and occasionally bully you into keeping going. Together we track your progress, make adjustments to improve it, overcome obstacles (or go round them), and celebrate your successes! My skills in this, honed over years of coaching, are excellent, so for you, keeping on track is easier, more delightful, and far more successful than going it alone.
What I offer
Confidential coaching sessions, by telephone, Skype or face to face, which focus on improving your health now and in the future. We start by exploring what good health and wellness are for you (everyone is different!), and then work together to grow your health skills, so you can speed up your recovery and stay well. The sessions are very enjoyable, (or so I’m told), and you’ll make the needed changes rather easily, probably a lot more quickly and easily than you expect! At each session, we track your progress since the last one, renew your commitment to full health and wellness, and you decide on your next steps, while I provide support, show you the skills, and help you develop the beliefs and attitudes that will support you for life.
I generally work in sets of 6 or 7 sessions, renewable by agreement, at weekly or fortnightly intervals. After that, it’s possible to have ‘booster’ sessions from time to time, which can be a great way of checking in with yourself, and making sure that everything is going smoothly.
I can also help before, during and after a hospital stay, and during the uneasy period where you’re waiting for a diagnosis or in the process of deciding on treatment. These times can be hard! And yet, if you’re well-prepared and well-supported, they can also be rewarding, as you realise how much control you can take over your own health. And if you need an intervention, such as surgery or powerful drugs, good preparation can make all the difference to how easily you cope and how quickly you recover!
What I don’t offer
I’m not a doctor and I don’t offer medical advice. My service is not a substitute for your GP, your consultant and other health professionals. You need to continue to work with them. While I can help you make your own decisions, by listening and helping you reflect on what matters most to you, your decisions are of course your own, and your own responsibility.
If you or someone you know might benefit from health coaching with me, ring me now to discuss it. (If I don’t happen to pick up the phone, leave me a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.) You can reach me on 07786 242949.
I wish you excellent health, and a very long and happy life!