Appreciate the life you are living and achieve more through EnerG coach, Ellen Goldman. Your questions on balance, motivation and your lifestyle are answered through these simple tips and solutions. Get more out of your life with the help of Identity.
QUESTION: When someone is trying to overhaul their lifestyle habits to live healthier, where should they start?
Answer: I believe the first place to turn your attention is sleep. When we are sleep deprived, it becomes next to impossible to stay focused on our priorities and goals throughout the day. Every single thing we are trying to accomplish becomes more difficult, and takes more time, when we are not well rested. Just look at the research in the field of neuroscience and you can see that our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for analytical thinking and problem solving, is not working at full potential even after a single night of inadequate sleep. The limbic emotional part of our brain takes over, leading to lack of impulse control, overreacting, irritability, etc. It’s hard to make good decisions concerning food, exercise, productivity or social relationships when we are exhausted. Often, when clients work on improving their sleep habits, and begin to get 7 1/2 – 8 hours of sleep a night, they make progress in all the other areas of their lives.
QUESTION: What are your best tips to manage stress and help get out from overwhelm?
Answer: My clients all know that one of my favorite expressions is, “Failure to plan, is planning to fail.” There is no where more appropriate than when it comes to managing stress and overwhelm. That’s because those feeling usually mount when we feel as if we are not getting our important tasks accomplished, and/or we sense we are out of control. Things are beyond our ability to manage.
Becoming a planner means becoming proactive about our lives rather than reactive. Taking the time to figure out when and how we will attend to the things that are stressing us out is vital for putting things back in our control. If it’s not on our calendars, it doesn’t get done. And uncompleted tasks tend to be the things that stress us the most.
Along with that, we need to become crystal clear on what are the events, things and/or people that cause our stress and overwhelm. Only then can we begin to make logical decisions around how best to handle and manage those stressors.
Most importantly, to build a foundation that lets you manage all the myriad of things that will bring on overwhelm and stress, prioritize self-care. I can’t say it enough- you must take care of you first so that you have the energy and stamina to manage everything else.
I believe we all need to build a stress management tool box. A collection of techniques we can use and pull out when needed that best suits our unique personalities and styles. Whether it’s deep breathing the moment you feel stress mounting, meditation, exercise, a hot bath, or an afternoon out with a dear friend, be acutely aware of what makes you feel better. Taking a break from it all, even for just a few minutes, will allow you to think clearer, calmer and manage better.
QUESTION: What is a healthy lifestyle coach, and why would someone opt to work with one rather than a personal trainer, dietician or a therapist.
Answer: A coach is an expert in the field of behavioral change. We study positive psychology, the science behind human habits and change, self-efficacy and motivational interviewing. Our job is not to “tell” you what to do, but rather ask the questions that will help you connect with your deepest motivations for change. Together we figure out what approaches will work best in your unique circumstances, and utilize your strengths and values to achieve goals that lead to positive change.
The coach and client relationship is a powerful one, where we collaborate together so that the client creates his or her unique lifestyle plan that targets the strategies to over obstacles. We offer accountability, support and a safe place to explore new ideas and avenues to get where you want to go. The coach believes the client is an expert on their own life, and truly knows what will work best for them. It’s my job to help you figure that out, and increase your confidence and belief in your ability to achieve what you set out to do.
The personal trainer or dietician take an expert approach, and offer prescriptions for change. This works wonderfully for those that are already highly motivated and need the education and “program” to follow. The problem is, there is no lacking in knowledge of what to do to get healthier. Most is common sense. But common sense is not always common practice, and that’s where the coach come in.
As for therapy, that is most often about healing the past. Clients who struggle to understand “why” things are the way they are, and make peace with circumstances and others that have gotten them where they are, are best served in the therapeutic environment. Those that are ready to take action, and don’t really care to dive into the past, are ready for coaching. In coaching, we only look back at the past to learn from it. Many, but by no means all, clients who come to coaches are also in therapy or have been in the past.