By Amy Thwaites

We are the people who support others, who want to pour our hearts and souls into making others feel better and making the world a better place. But as the popular saying goes ‘we cannot pour from an empty cup’. So how do we support ourselves so we can continue to support others?

 

1. Self-care

So simple, but so easily overlooked. Look after your mind, body and soul with proper self-care. Be mindful of how you fuel your body, the importance of staying hydrated, of moving your body, ensuring you get enough sleep and conscious rest.

What you fuel your body with has a huge impact on how you feel. Fuelling your body with a nutrient rich diet and clean foods promotes effective neurological function, lifts your mood, improves your sleep, and boosts energy levels.

Get outside. Being connected with nature encourages feelings of calmness, joy and creativity. For me, a stroll down the canal is always where my best ideas flow. Being out in green or blue spaces allows us to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of busy life and allows space for feelings and ideas to flow through.

All of the above will facilitate better sleep. Sleep is integral to our mental wellbeing and a lack of sleep can leave you unfocussed, unable to make effective decisions and let’s face it simply focussed on just getting through the day rather then being fully present. Another important factor is conscious rest. How often do we get some downtime and immediately pick up our phones and start scrolling, or sit on the sofa feeling like we should be somewhere else doing something more productive? Newsflash!… rest is productive. Guilt free time to relax whether that’s a long bubbly bath, feet up on the sofa with a good book, or sitting in a café watching the world go by. Whatever it looks like for you it is so important as our brains are less functional when they are fatigued, and more productive after a restful period. Whether the rest is a 5 minute break, a day off, or a holiday we are more productive off the back of it.

 

2. Boundaries

Keeping emotional boundaries is so important. Ensuring you remain the person who supports and encourages your clients, not the person who takes on their challenges for them or tries to fix them. Recognise if a clients issue is triggering something in you, park it during the session and come back to it after to work through.

Physical boundaries – This could be deciding where you work and when you work and sticking to that in support of a healthy work/life balance. Having a dedicated workspace that you can physically remove yourself from during breaks and at the end of your working day can really help to ensure your work doesn’t spill into free time, and allow quality down time to rest and recharge. Similarly, deciding what hours you will and won’t work, and where your flexibility is, allows a clear boundary to work and play whether that’s a 9-5 approach or recognising that you work better with a completely different pattern. For those who are self employed, time off can be difficult and sometimes daunting whether there is financial pressure, or productivity pressure. However, ensuring you take days off and holidays will support in maintaining balance and much needed down time in order to remain productive, focussed and able to make key decisions to work with your clients effectively and drive your business forward.

 

3. Avoid ‘back to back’ clients

Take a breather between clients to disconnect and decompress before the next client. The amount of time you feel is appropriate will be unique to you, but as above, you may find something a client brings up is triggering or resonates with you a lot so allowing a bit of time between clients to process and refocus can be really helpful to continue showing up for your clients in the right way, and helps you remain balanced. Rushing from one client to the next may also cause you to carry things from a previous session into the next rather than entering into your coaching session with fresh ears. If two clients are struggling with similar issues you may use the thoughts of one, to influence the other. This is not our role.

 

4. Have fun!

Doing something simply for the joy of doing it is so beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing. Play releases endorphins and relieves stress; it allows us to completely switch off from responsibilities and cultivates creativity, stronger relationships, and emotional wellbeing.

 

5. Ask for help when you need it

Just because your role means you spend your time supporting others doesn’t mean you won’t need support yourself. Surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart and know that it is okay to ask for help.

Have your own coach or wellbeing professional. You may have things you want to work toward or change in your own life so working with a coach yourself is a great way to achieve this. And, as above, you may find a client brings something to a session that you find triggering so having someone who can support you in processing this will be so beneficial to your wellbeing.

Working as a self employed coach can be lonely work and sometimes feel competitive. Finding a community of similar professionals you can connect with is a great way to build a supportive network. Find colleagues, not competitors.

 

6. Be kind to yourself.

The best piece of advice I was ever given was to speak to yourself as kindly as you speak to your clients. Support yourself like you would your client. Encourage yourself like you’d encourage your client. As wellbeing professionals we are not immune from the critical self-talk, the pressure we put ourselves under, the expectation. Notice when this is creeping in and shift your perspective. If you were speaking to a client in this situation, what would you say?

 

Amy studied for the Advanced Diploma in Life Coaching Skills.  You can find out more about her at Amythwaites.com

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