A healthy lifestyle is a solution to most if not all the problems in a person’s life. You fulfill yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally by balancing your life. However, not everyone is open to this change. Some people find comfort in their current well-being no matter how harmful their lifestyle is.
While others struggle to give up binge eating substance abuse and let go of toxic habits. Even if someone is hesitant to embrace change, you can help. Everyone needs a supporting hand and a compassionate attitude to act as a compass and point them in the right direction.
As a counselor, you have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to empower any client to let go of a faux sense of security for a beneficial style of living. Therefore, to drive change, read on:
1. Help The Person Explore Their Health
You will meet specific clients who don’t understand the gravity of their situation. These people live in denial that their health has hit minor speed bumps but will recover in no time. Sitting and speaking to clients is what you should do. One-on-one conversations, highlighting pressing matters and understanding what isn’t said is what delivers insights.
Invest time and refrain from thinking negatively about clients. Here, listening matters a lot because sometimes, people don’t say much because of past experiences. Therefore, you should sit with these clients and discuss their conditions at length. Through healthier life therapy, you should address the client’s poor habits such as chain-smoking, talk about their physical well-being and provide necessary remedies to get better.
Help your clients see the actual picture of their health. Motivate your clients not to seek a primary care doctor to understand their all-possible borderline complications. Your timely intervention and encouragement can help a client narrowly dodge debilitating conditions like diabetes and help them seek care for diseases like cancer before it’s too late.
2. Don’t Shame In The Name Of Progress
Change is not easy, and most clients resist taking new habits while letting go of older ones. Your client may follow their routine inconsistently. As a result, they may not improve on a given timeline and may need your help longer. This is natural and part of the wellness process. Therefore, don’t shame, humiliate or compare your clients to others for not doing enough.
You should not chastise them for being weak-willed, taunt your client for not keeping up with easy activities, and assuming they are lazy. Your words should always be uplifting, motivating, and focusing on areas where the client has shown improvement with adequate guidance on what else they can do.
Some clients may also be battling mental health conditions such as depression, making it challenging to get better. So, your compassion, empathy, and kindness will prevent guilt and self-loathing from creeping in and persuade them to try harder.
3. Look Into a Nourishing Diet
Following a well-balanced diet is easier said than done. But, with your help, a client can discover ways to consume healthy food.
You should start by learning what they eat daily and if their family shares the same dietary habits. For instance, your client may bring fast food home six days a week because of their busy schedule. In such cases, encourage your client to replace one item with a healthy choice to wean them off the greasy meals gradually.
If your client struggles with food addiction, you should get a psychiatrist involved to break the addictive cycle and monitor food intake.
You should also encourage them to seek nutritionists to learn about calories and follow up the visits by making sure a dietician provides a diet plan.
Your client may not always be able to cook at home or stop at a health-conscious restaurant. So, give them a list of alternate meals and ready-made options which they can indulge in without getting off the plan.
4. Influence Exercising
Don’t simply tell your client to join the gym; instead, help them cultivate a healthy lifestyle for themselves.
You should look into online exercise videos with tips and ensure your client gets inked into the website. You can also participate in exercising with them to enable your client to become more physically active.
You can hold counseling sessions outside the office and in spaces like parks. This will help you run alongside your client while learning and discussing their concerns.
If your client has a partner, encourage them to buddy up with their loved one and exercise together. A good workout regime will leave your client brimming with serotonin and dopamine, elevating their spirit and making them feel good while they exercise.
But you should also make sure your client is not overexerting themselves by knowing their workout schedule. If you think they’re overdoing it, ask them to pull back.
5. Set Realistic Goals with Coping Mechanisms
A client is a human being and will need breaks from a well-structured routine. If your client can keep up with good habits for at least five out of seven days, you should be happy with their efforts. Don’t expect them to go over and beyond every day. Allow a margin to make errors. There is a chance they may relapse and choose to go back to older habits to seek a sense of security and familiarity.
While occasional breaks from a scheduled lifestyle are okay, you will need to step in when your clients show signs of neglect again. Ensure your clients know their triggers and have coping mechanisms in place. If your client is a recovering addict and may begin abusing again, you should stage an intervention and counsel them through substance abuse without upsetting them.
You may also modify the schedule, such as reducing the number of hours, encouraging them to go on holiday, or in extreme cases, seeking support groups. You can also lead these groups as a mediator or offer individual counseling sessions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to actively and subconsciously restructure their thinking.
6. Encourage Mindful Gratitude
Spirituality is also a part of a healthy lifestyle. The soul needs looking after as much as the physical body. When the soul is restless, it can leave a gaping void inside your clients, which pushes them to abuse and get rid of their healthy lifestyle. While spirituality is a personal pursuit, you can still provide tools to guide your clients on what they can do.
This includes teaching them about mindful meditation, advising them to a journal of their thoughts, and teaching them to express gratitude about their journey. You should also help your clients understand the power of forgiveness, encourage them to forgive the wrong choices, and focus on building a better future. Some spiritual food also includes reading books on gratitude and acceptance looking into yoga and Zen techniques.
As a counselor, you should encourage clients to become healthier and more active with their life. The tools and expertise you have will enable a client to get better and seek a healthier lifestyle. You should start by diving into details about your client’s current health status without shaming them for their choices.
Apart from advice, you can guide them on meal preparation and an exercise regime that is easy to follow and morph into a suitable routine. At the same time, don’t forget to give your client space to recoup and act as their safety bet at the first sign of relapse. You should also touch on spirituality to encourage a holistic lifestyle where no topic goes unaddressed.