3 Ways to Take Care of Yourself and Your Client
We Health Coaches do what we do because we’re passionate about helping other humans.
We’ve been through the same trauma and struggles our clients have. And we want to just reach in and take away all the pain we see.
So we pour ourselves into our clients. We become one with them as we listen to them talk in their sessions and as we do our research and prepare for our coaching calls together.
And sometimes, because we’ve been where our clients have been, we start to carry their struggles with us too.
Especially if we’re empaths, we really have a tendency to do this. To just take all of the problems from our clients and shoulder them ourselves.
Their pain is our pain. Their struggles are our struggles.
Even if you aren’t an empath, if you’re in the business of listening to other people’s concerns and problems and traumas, it will start to rub off on to you as well.
You might notice the stress creeping in when you just don’t like showing up to a coaching session anymore. Or if you do, your usual energy isn’t there.
You might start losing interest in what used to really motivate you. You may be getting extra impatient with your significant other or your kids. Your energy levels may be starting to bottom out.
If you’ve felt that way before – or maybe are feeling that way right now – know you aren’t alone. And it’s not just you who can feel that way sometimes. You aren’t failing as a Health Coach, and you aren’t failing as a friend and as a wife/husband, dad/mom.
That compassion you have? That’s what makes you good at what you do. It’s what makes your clients open up to you and confide in you. It’s what helps you get to the very root of their problems and help them make recoveries.
But what you do have to be careful about is not letting your empathic side completely eat you up. You have to learn how to take care of yourself so you can keep feeding your clients.
You know that saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup?
It’s pretty cliché. But it’s true!
I’ve been in the exact same spot I don’t know how many times. Too many to count. I’ve kept trying to feed others while I’m starving myself. And it just didn’t work.
I was worn out, and my clients could feel it. Their sessions weren’t as effective. And they, in turn, suffered too.
But over the years, I’ve learned to get better at listening, being empathetic, and being everything in a coach I want and need to be for my clients… while still taking care of myself.
Here are three simple but oh-so-important ways I’ve learned to fill myself up so I can keep pouring into my clients.
3 WAYS TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR CLIENT
1. PRACTICE REAL SELF-CARE
Okay, hear me out here before you roll your eyes and think this is just like any other article that tells you to go take a bubble bath.
A bubble bath doesn’t equal self-care.
Self-care is where you take care of yourself.
As empathetic health coaches, we’re usually empathetic everywhere else in our lives too. We’re constantly on the go, feeding everyone else. And then if we happen to have time at the end of the day, we’ll maybe brush our hair before we get into bed.
Self-care means learning to prioritize what you need not just to function – but to thrive.
So what does that look like?
Feed yourself foods that nourish you and keep you healthy. You wouldn’t put water into your car instead of gasoline because, well, it’s just not gonna run, right? So you can’t expect to put the wrong fuel into your body and expect it respond with all the energy you need it to.
Walk, run, lift weights, or go to Zumba – whatever inspires you to get some movement in your daily routine.
PRO TIP: Find an activity you actually like to do. Swimming may be one of the least joint-jarring exercise activity, but if you dread going to the pool all the time and stress yourself out forcing yourself to swim, that completely defeats the purpose. Find an activity that you enjoy so you actually look forward to that slot in your schedule.
Get enough sleep. I know. It seems like limiting sleep is one of the easiest ways to fit more into our schedules. But sleep is what refuels your body, keeps you healthy, resets your brain…the list goes on. Don’t skimp on your sleep.
PRO TIP: Want more reasons why you should sleep? Check out Shawn Stevenson’s life-changing book Sleep Smarter.
Spend time in prayer, meditation, or quiet time. Whether you’re religious, spiritual, or none of the above, spending time in quiet with just yourself will help reduce your stress and recollect your focus.
It doesn’t have to be long. With kids running around or a million other things dragging you around during the day, it’s hard to get quiet time in. But if you make it a priority, I bet you’d be surprised how sneaking 5-10 minutes in is totally doable. And your brain will thank you for the break!
Do what refills you. I like to play games on my phone. Not even those brain-stimulating games. The really dumb ones that you hope no one looks over your shoulder and sees you playing. I admit it…
But it helps me destress. It takes my mind off whatever is making me feel anxious or overwhelmed. So taking a few minutes to mindlessly play some games is totally worth it, and I feel so much better refocusing afterwards! Maybe for you, that’s playing the piano, reading a book, or cleaning. Whatever it is, do it. And do it regularly.
How you make these ideas work for you will be different than they are for me. But what’s important is that you take time to care for your mind, body, and soul. They all work together, and you can’t feed one and expect to grow without taking care of all of them together.
2. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR YOUR COACHING SESSIONS
Now that you’ve properly filled yourself up, you can get ready to pour into your clients. To make sure you’re bringing the energy you got from prioritizing real self-care, take time to prepare for your coaching session.
I’m not talking about making sure your internet connection works well and you have your background looking good before hopping on your session (although those things are important!).
I’m talking about really taking time to prepare yourself.
Make sure you’ve blocked out a good half hour window before your first session starts. That way you have time to clear your mind and focus only on your coaching.
You don’t want to be rushing to log on after you’ve just dealt with something completely separate from your client. They’re going to be able to tell your mind is somewhere else and you’re frazzled.
Even if you manage to pull yourself together a few minutes into the call, you’ve still set the tone for the session and your client is going to feed off of that.
Take those 30 minutes beforehand to get your notes out and really focus on what you need to give to your client. Go for a walk, meditate, or pray.
Then when your session is ready to start, you and your client will benefit from your positive energy right from the start.
3. REALIZE YOU CAN ONLY DO WHAT YOU CAN DO
I think one of the hardest parts of coaching is realizing you can only do what you can do. Even if you take the time to fill yourself up and prepare for every single coaching session you have.
We as Health Coaches are just half the equation. We can feel every ache the client has, and we can feel their hurt just like it is ours. We can pour into our clients with all the knowledge, tools, inspiration, and motivation we know. We can show up to each session with all the energy. We can do all the research. We can coach each client to the best of our ability.
But it’s the responsibility of the client to take what we’re giving them and make it work. We can’t force them to do what we know is right for them. They have to make that choice for themselves.
You have to realize your worth as a coach isn’t completely wrapped up in how your clients perform. It’s in how you treat them, the research you do, the information and inspiration you pass on to them.
And then you have to let your clients do their part too.
Learning to give it your all and realize that’s all you can do will give you peace as you work with your clients. It will help you stress less, love on your clients more, and keep your own cup filled up.
Your self worth isn’t wrapped up in your client’s worth…it’s made up of what you put into your coaching.
Can I just throw something out there right now?
You won’t get this whole self-care thing down the first week you start coaching. Or the first month…or even the first year.
It’s an ongoing process of learning to know yourself and how – and when! – you need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your clients.
You’re going to get tired and you’re going to feel overwhelmed some days. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just know that’s your cue to stop, reassess, and then go take care of yourself.
What does real self-care look like for you as you take care of yourself and your clients? Let me know in the comments below!