Recently, I had the fortunate opportunity to co-facilitate a wellness event with 2 amazing coaches. We were surrounded by high-performing women in a beautiful space to inspire wellness. Our focus was to inspire our community to prioritize their wellness to move from a state of busyness to a state of balance.
Culturally, we have come to think of being busy and stretched thin as a badge of honor. Women and minoritized groups in particular have long adapted to that sense of not being enough particularly in professional environments ultimately leading to higher levels of stress.
As we know, not all stress is bad, however. Stress is what arises when something you care about is at stake. Stress is designed to keep us safe or elevate our performance in some way but it must be dealt with. The only way to deal with stress is to recover from it; what Dr. Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski refer to as completing the stress response cycle. This is where the steps we take to honor our need for wellness interventions come into play.
Time is a huge factor- it is limited and chances are, we aren’t getting any less busy. Adam Grant posted recently that “achieving your goals isn’t about being more efficient in your task, rather, being more selective about your commitments.” Imagine what could change if we committed to things that bring us joy, create positive energy, or connect to our values in meaningful ways. What does that shift in our perceptions about our ability to “take care of ourselves?”
For some reason, despite our greater need, self-care has become associated with indulgence. The data would support however that taking care of our health and wellbeing is imperative to our health-related quality of life. Oftentimes, people think of health, wellness, and self-care as a luxury and something maybe you get to do from time to time. It’s become a marketing tool and unfortunately, watered down just how important it is to support our ability to complete the stress response cycle and maintain a healthy quality of life. Subsequently, this is why I believe we need to shift our thinking from self-care to health care. No one questions if you go to the doctor to care for your physical health or treat a symptom. How amazing would it be if we could also engage in self-care and health and wellness strategies to prevent chronic health conditions and avoid illness and poor mental health functioning altogether? I also believe there can be a perception that health and wellness is a destination; once you figure out how to care for yourself, you’ve arrived. We have to shift that thinking…it is all about awareness and balance. The more aware we are about when we are out of balance, the more effective we can be about bringing ourselves back into balance. Many times that can happen all on your own. So many of us know exactly what works and doesn’t work for us. Where we struggle is in the consistent implementation, exploration of our barriers, and planning to address those barriers.
That is where coaching comes in. When it’s a struggle or you feel the need for support in determining how to attain awareness, coaching can help you achieve your goals. Health and wellness coaching is a wonderful way to support you in understanding and developing a plan for attaining your health and wellness goals. So if you are ever in need, do not hesitate to reach out. Interestingly, we are also seeing a greater need within larger systems – groups and companies are finding value in workshop engagement around prioritizing their staff health and wellness – we could spend hours on the benefit to bigger companies but I will spare you my soap box for you today.