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Health Coaching and Women: The Guilt Factor

Mar 6, 2008
Health coaching is a process in which the health coach and the client work together to set goals and create new health habits. With health coaching women there is a special factor that needs to be taken into account. Women are generally the caregivers. As a gender, we have a tendency to take care of everyone around us before we take care of ourselves. That care giving mentality, of itself, Is not bad, but the problem comes when we decide to do something for ourselves. The problem: guilt. We feel we should be doing for others rather than do something for ourselves.

Let's look at a scenario of guilt coming into play in the coaching process. A health coach is working with two clients on stress management, one male and one female. With each client the health coach is working to set some goal for the week that would help the client relieve some stress. The male client knows that a round of golf really helps him unwind. He hasn't taken time for himself in quite some time and his goal for the week is to play a round Saturday morning. The male client doesn't think twice about what's going on at home on a Saturday morning. In fact, he proudly announces to his wife, "My health coach told l me I need to play golf on Saturday." Come Saturday, he's out the door for his tee time.

Now let's look at he female client. She, too, has not taken any time for herself in a long time. Her health coach is working with her to find something she can do during the week to reduce her stress. What helps her relax? She says a pedicure is amazing. Her health coach asks her if she feels that would be a good goal for the week. This triggers the internal battle, first over time. One kid needs to go here; another one needs to picked up there. How can she spend time on herself when they need her? Then comes the internal battle over money. One needs money for a field trip, another wants money to see a movie with a friend. How can she spend money on herself instead of her kids?

Have you ever had these internal dialogues? Is it hard for you to do something for yourself without feeling guilty about it? One thing you need to keep in mind is that how we feel has a direct impact on our family. Have you ever had a particularly stressful day at work? What happened when you got home, were you snapping at everyone? How about days you weren't feeling well? Did that impact your family? Conversely, if you do something that has a positive effect on you, won't it have a positive effect on your family? Let's say you have that pedicure after a stressful day at work, wouldn't that put you in a better mood when you got home?

The female makeup needs to be considered in the health coaching process. Women need to know it's okay to make resources available for themselves and not always put everyone else first. Guilt is not always a bad thing, but as women, we let it control us more than we should. It is important for women, especially those with families, to understand that its is not a bad thing to make time for ourselves, in fact, by making time to be healthier or manage our stress, we will have more to give to our families, not less. Don't take my word for it, start to pamper and take care of yourself without guilt and notice the positive impact it has on you and your family.
About the Author
Are you a professional woman juggling career and family? Is taking care of everyone else taking a toll on your health? Lynn Smith is a health coach at Health Coach Team, which helps women create healthier lifestyles without feeling overwhelmed. Go to their website for resources, articles and tips. While you're there be sure to get your free report "10 Energy Zappers and How to Eliminate Them" at http://www.healthcoachteam.com
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