May 7 / Dr Deb Carnes

Health & Wellness Coaching: why I do it.

In March 2020 when covid-19 was somewhat in its infancy and Tassie (that’s Tasmania, Australia) was heading into lockdown my first instinct was to return to my first love of clinical nursing – the emergency department.

Sure, I would need to revise a few key skills, but my past nursing experience would surely be useful wouldn’t it? The local ED’s were all advertising and the Federal Government was throwing money at nurses who wanted to upskill/reskill.

Then during the lock-down I joined some health social media groups and quickly became disturbed from what I was witnessing. An obvious shortage of PPE, a health system that seemed to be reacting rather than being proactive and health workers who were obviously fearful, stressed and anxious. Many felt unsupported then, and many still do now.

So rather than investing my time into reskilling myself for returning to work in an ED or some other clinical environment, I spent my time completing a Professional Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching.

The initial concern from health care workers has since grown to expressing exhaustion and burn out which leaves me fearful of what this means for the future of health care at local, national and global levels and I’m not alone in being concerned about this.

With the recent end of jobkeeper and the ongoing covid-19 situation I've become more concerned about the mental wellbeing of all workers.

It’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to want to put yourself and your family before your job. It’s OK to seek some time-out and it’s OK to get some help. That help may come from a health professional who is able to treat your symptoms, which is obviously important if you feel you have some serious mental health issues.

You don’t need to have an underlying serious mental health issue to be anxious, exhausted or feel burned out. If you are looking to improve your overall wellbeing and develop some self-care strategies and stick to them then you may benefit from engaging with a health and wellness coach.

The role of a health and wellness coach is to partner with you to formulate your wellbeing goals, identify the underlying motivation and values underlying behind them and meet with you regularly as you seek to achieve them. Maybe you want improved physical fitness, or perhaps to spend more time relaxing?

You are the expert on your own wellbeing journey, which means you are responsible and accountable to one person and one person only – yourself. This can be a tough gig to deal with on your own which is why your health coach will be there for you at all stages of your journey, for the successes and for the times when life throws a curve ball that knocks you off track a bit requiring some refinement.

Just as a sporting coach will support and challenge an athlete to achieve their ultimate sporting goal, a health and wellness coach will support and challenge you to achieve your vision for your ultimate health and wellbeing.

An article from the Washington Post provides an overview for anyone who is interested to know more about health coaching.

Link to Washington Post article

Who am I?

I've been a registered nurse for over 25 years working across public and private sector in emergency, rural and aged care settings. I've also been employed as as an industrial organiser, political staffer and academic/lecturer.

I'm passionate about workplace safety, safety culture and workplace wellbeing which is why I am now a health coach in this area.

Find out more about me from my social media.
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