As a Wellness Coach I am often asked about what I do and what wellness means. The simple answer is that I am passionate about helping people live well but the truth is, Wellness is relative to the individual. When asked what I do for a living I like to say that “I help people shed their armour and discover themselves so they can live healthy, vibrant lives”. This is much different than the “I’m a life coach” response that is common these days and I feel it paints a better picture for the work I do with people.
Some people view wellness as ‘a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit’ as defined by wikipedia. Others will see it as freedom of dis-ease and finally, the W.H.O. defines wellness as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing’. These are all great examples of the IDEA of wellness, yet I would like to expand on this because I am curious to know the specific ingredients that make up a ‘complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing’.
WELLNESS IS MUCH MORE THAN A DEFINITION
Wellness, in my opinion, covers a broad spectrum. It includes our relationships, health, fitness, nutrition, spirituality, career, desires, community, freedom, outlook on life, what drives us to succeed and what motivates us to continue in our darkest moments. If I am being honest, Wellness can and should include all aspects of our lives because when we are not living well in one area, the rest will be affected in one way or another.
THE BICYCLE WHEEL
Imagine your life as a bicycle. All the parts of the bike are important such as the chain, the frame, the gears and the brakes but the health of the wheels are critical. The wheel will spin ‘true’ when all of the spokes are straight, tightened into the frame of the wheel and there’s no rust. When a wheel is trued, it will spin with less effort. When the wheel is not true, the wheel is warped in one way or another and this will cause friction points, bumps and it will require much more effort to ride. Imagine what it would be like to be riding a bike with wheels that are untrue. They’ll be warped, noisy and cause friction on the brakes causing you to work harder. My guess is that you would eventually decide to fix the wheels.
Imagine what it would be like to ride on the bike with new wheels. Everything will be smooth, there’s no longer friction on the brakes and the frustrating noises are gone. How much happier would you feel riding that bike? As a cyclist, I know that even the slightest of unusual sounds & odd behaviours can often drive cyclists crazy on long rides.
My guess is that you would prefer the bike with clean, true wheels. Using the bike as a metaphor for your life, the aspects of your life are like the spokes and the wheel. By knowing what we can fix, modify and improve, we can build a stronger, more efficient plan that will help you move towards your goals each day. When the spokes of our life are broken we tend to struggle. When they are well tuned, life is much easier and more enjoyable.
THE COACHING APPROACH
The coaching approach takes into consideration the bigger picture for you. For example, imagine you hired me to coach you towards a career change. We would certainly hone in on the aspects of the career change because that’s the purpose of the coaching. It’s what you want to accomplish and you will be driven to work towards the goals.
I am also deeply interested in helping you understand WHO you need to be to step into your new career. I’m interested in WHO you need to be to be brave enough to walk away from your current career. WHO you need to be to set the plan and follow the steps necessary to reach your destination…
WHO you need to be to think outside the box, discover new perspectives and create the vision for your future career.
When the BEING is paired with DOING activities it’s what will keep you moving forward towards a new version of you. Think about the BEING as your foundation. You build the foundation with as much detail and strength as you can so that when it’s time to move into the next phase of building, you are ready to step into something bigger.
THE WELLNESS ADVANTAGE
I love the work I do with clients because I love to see people play the bigger game. I love to see people grow and step into a more polished version of their true selves. I love to watch people shift and live with intention and I am fulfilled by being part of the journey with them.
In addition to the coaching approach, I lean on my experience in the fitness industry and incorporate wellness with each person I work with. For example, one of my favourite methods of coaching with a client is to go for a walk. In addition to the many physical benefits of walking, I find that because of the movement, shifting environment, and time spent in nature clients typically have impactful coaching sessions as compared to sitting for an hour.
Movement is also a key component to the coaching experience because as we move, we allow ourselves to express differently than we usually would and in doing so, we often uncover things that surprise us. When I speak of movement, I am talking about all the small things we can do on a daily basis that will positively impact your life. Some examples of daily movement can be gardening, cleaning the house, dancing to music in the kitchen or biking to work. As a wellness coach, I will encourage you to include regular movement into your day and knowing that this is a regular part of the coaching experience, makes the process very successful.
Nutrition, as you are likely aware, has a significant impact on your health. With consistent, wholesome nutrition you will be healthier, happier and more energetic. As a wellness coach, I see the value in addressing your relationship to food and how that connects with your aspirations, desires, dreams, commitments and ability to deal with change. I also see the value in helping you learn an approach that works for you and your family, your goals and your budget.
Fitness in the western culture varies but for the most part people have a love/hate relationship with it. Some people love it and live for it. Others hate it. I’d say that the majority of people dislike much of the working out yet appreciate the benefits. As a wellness coach, I work with people to help them develop an improved relationship with fitness. Usually this means finding their WHY, discovering something they love to do and empowering them to continue until they find something new.
Lifestyle habits are some of the least understood yet most important aspects of our health and wellbeing. For example, getting quality sleep impacts your immune system, your energy, your ability to cope with stress and ability to concentrate. Something as simple as a bedtime routine can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep and this is an area of strong focus for me as a wellness coach.
THE CO-ACTIVE METHOD
The Co-Active Coaching method is wonderful because it holds you, the client, as Naturally Creative, Resourceful and Whole. This means that you have nothing to fix, you aren’t broken and you have the ideas, energy and answers within you to continue moving closer to your dreams.
What I love most about this model is that when I work with clients on creating a wellness plan, I’m not advising or prescribing as I did when I was in the fitness industry. What happens in the Co-Active process is that we work together and this results in a plan you will be excited to work with because you helped create it WITH your coach. You will likely agree to some new ideas along the way, but you also commit to some of the things you always wanted to do but were holding back from doing.
WHAT WELLNESS MEANS TO ME
Wellness to me means waking up each day with excitement. It means knowing that I have a purpose.
It means that I have people in my life who I love and care about. It means that people love and care about me, and that makes me want to keep growing every day.
It means that I get to move each day and by doing so I receive the physical, emotional and social benefits of movement and fitness.
It means that each day is a gift to open and celebrate.
It means that I get to savour food & quench my thirst with water. It means that when I want to enjoy something special, I do so and I enjoy every bite.
It means that I have a connection with spirit and nature to call upon each day and by doing this I learn more about myself, my purpose and the people I am connected to.
It means that I have the ability to learn from others, from books, from animals, from children and from my experience.
It means that no matter what happens, I know that there’s an opportunity for me.
It means that I can take time to myself knowing that because I do, I will be better because of it.
It means that over time, I am moving closer and closer to my dreams.
CALL TO ACTION
- What does wellness mean to you? I would love to know what you think so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.
- Consider how having a wellness mindset can help you in your health, career & relationships. How can I help you with this?