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Importance of a Self-Care Mindset — How to Help Your Clients See It!

As life coaches, we must teach our clients a self-care mindset that balances all aspects of life so they can discard the lie that self-care is selfish.This may be controversial, but I have to speak up…

As coaches, we’re often told we need to specialize in one area to stand out from the crowd, like nutrition coach, business coach, public speaking coach, mindset coach, personal development coach, etc. But to make a real difference in our clients’ lives, we can’t be so hyperfocused on only one aspect of life. Everything affects everything else. We need a holistic approach and that involves a self-care mindset!

No, it’s not selfish to prioritize self-care.  It’s essential because you can’t take care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself. You can’t be mindfully present with another person if you’re low on energy or are distracted. 

The self-care mindset pays balanced attention to these key areas: mental, emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, recreational, and social. A well-balanced self-care routine involves each of these, so effective coaches avoid restricting themselves to just one or two areas.

Another misunderstanding that must be clarified is thinking that self-care is self-indulgence behavior.  Being self-indulgent is not a good basis for self-care practices. In the long run, this course leads to self-loathing. The body gets out of shape, emotions become unruly and the spirit is stunted. The best self-care practices take self-discipline because a person chooses what’s good for them, rather than what feels good in the moment.

A self-care mindset is not just an activity

I love my coaching clients who want to make a difference in their clients’ lives. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a face light up in delight and satisfaction as they accomplish a long-held goal they thought was next to impossible. But how can we help our clients see the connection between self-care and personal growth? 

Lasting changes only occur when you nourish a harmonious connection between mind, spirit, and body. To excel in life, all key areas of our lives must be nourished and supported at the same time. You won’t have the necessary energy or the motivation without proper physical self-care. And you won’t achieve peak physical performance if you’re emotionally, mentally, and spiritually depleted.

Balanced Self-Care

To function at peak performance, your clients must see the importance of self-care in the following eight essential areas of well-being…

  1. Nutrient-dense food. As a life coach, it’s useful to know the rudimentary factors of nutrition, such as eating meals rich in vegetables and balanced macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats). Then you can remind your clients that proper nutrition affects the functioning of our mind and body and give support as they make small changes that produce significant results.
  1. Sleep. We need sleep to repair and restore our body and spirit. Yet so many people think they can get by on less. Or they sacrifice sleep because they have too much to do or are too stressed. As their coach, you must help them see how sleep is foundational to peak performance and help them create better sleep habits.
  1. Exercise daily. People know they need to get up and move, but many don’t have the motivation to follow through. As a life coach, you’ll help your clients find the types of exercise they enjoy and can sustain. Then you’ll help them create a support system that keeps them on track.
  1. Nurturing social contact and interpersonal affection. We each have a “minimum daily requirement” of kindness. Sometimes a smile, a hug or a kind word can reduce stress as much as a relaxing day at the beach. However, personal displays of affection make some people uncomfortable. So you’ll help your clients identify ways they can fulfill this need as they intentionally work toward getting more comfortable with it.
  1. Daily relaxation. People tend to work full tilt and then hope to de-stress on the weekend. Or they think that a week-long vacation once a year will do it. As their coach, you’ll help them incorporate daily relaxation methods so the stress never gets a chance to build up.
  2. Intentionally challenge the comfort zone. William S. Burroughs wisely noted, “When you stop growing you start dying.” Even though some may become uncomfortable with the way your client grows and changes, keep encouraging and supporting her as she becomes the version of herself she needs to be. 
  3. Stretch yourself with reasonable goals. To maintain momentum, goals must be progressive and attainable, but big enough to stretch your client. Just as a sailor employs tacking against the wind, help your client keep coming back to the chosen path so they consistently work toward reaching their Big Dream, despite obstacles.  

As a coach, you may reach a point where you’re not qualified to help because it ventures into the realm of therapy. If your client needs to address a medical condition, self-harming, or damaging addictive behavior, be sure to refer them to appropriate professionals for therapy or medical advice.

As their coach, the importance of self-care cannot be minimized when working with your clients. Without it, any changes they make for the better will be compromised. And of course, it’s important to embody healthy behaviors yourself, because actions speak louder than words.

When you practice embodiment, you value, motivate, and bring out the best in yourself and the people around you, which can leave a lasting impact. What kind of impact will you make? If you’d like to explore a self-care mindset further, download my free report, 10 Steps to an Embodied Practice. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a coach, the principles apply to all our relationships.

Thank you for the photo Katie Moum.


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