This article is part of a collection of life coaching articles and is reprinted with permission of the author. Essences to support self-care for the profession appear below the article.
A funny thing happened on the way to work today. I realized that even though professionals preach health and well being, they might not have a clue how to get there. The old saying that the "shoemaker has no shoes" comes to mind. Recently I have experienced several situations involving healthcare personnel supposedly in the business of holistic health. They purport to teach health and well being strategies. In all situations, projects were planned and commitments made. Individuals expressed desire to achieve the goal, but were unable to follow through. They become irritable and defensive when questioned.
They respond with excuses and complaints stating that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it. They admit that they have been neglecting family and other important parts of their life. It's somebody else's fault. They play the victim. Yet they continue to see no contradiction in telling others how to run their lives, which foods to eat or not eat, which herbs to take, which supplements to buy to stay healthy. Unfortunately, I see this all too often. Perhaps you do too.
Healthcare professionals often focus on one way to achieve health, and ignore the rest. They focus only on diet or exercise, supplements or new age options. Or they become so over-involved in caring for everyone else that they forget about themselves. They forget about the dangers of chronic stress resulting from life problems and lack of balance. Stress kills. Professionals who preach health on a daily basis can let themselves become so busy and so stressed that their own health is at risk. But they don't stop long enough to see it.
These are usually good people with wonderful hearts and positive motivation who tend to focus on others and ignore caring for themselves. But, what kind of models are they? Over time, stress takes its toll emotionally and physically. When you travel by air, the flight attendants tell you that if you have small children and there is an emergency, you must put your oxygen mask on first, before helping the child. Why? Because if you have no oxygen yourself, you aren't much use to anyone else! Similarly, if healthcare professionals do not believe that managing their stress, balancing their life, and improving their health and well being is important, how can they teach this to others?
Research is pretty solid on the fact that stress kills. Chronic stress is a major factor in most chronic illnesses including fibromyalgia, heart disease, arthritis, migraines, gastrointestinal problems, cancer and more. If we do not model self-care, how can we preach it?
Sadly, healthcare professionals rarely preach life balance either. They aren't even aware it's missing, in their lives or in the lives of others! Self-care is seen as selfish. Women especially feel guilty as long as there is one poor soul anywhere that might benefit from their help. These professionals end up with clients dancing just as fast as they are. They send their clients out of their office with the same expectations, limitations, and frenzied lifestyle as they themselves have. They never even notice. They're too busy.
Healthcare professionals, wake up! People depend on you. People's lives depend on you. Until you prioritize, balance your life, reduce stress, relax, and get real, don't expect your clients to. Their denial parallels yours. As long as you stay on the merry-go-round, they will stay. As long as you run around like a chicken with its head cut off, they will, too.
Many health practitioners' and wellness experts' messages are also sorely lacking balance. Most have their own agenda. Diet and exercise are the main focus it seems, followed by a few candles and some yoga. Eat this food and avoid that and everything will be fine. Work out three times a week or more and you will be healthy. Add a yoga class to your already busy schedule and you will be o.k. Few take the whole person into consideration, even though they say they do.
Let's face it, who do you think is healthier? A happy, laughing, stress-free person who eats cheese dogs in a white bun with chips on the side, or someone who eats only organic foods, no dairy, meat or white bread, takes supplements daily, and is so stressed that they bite everyone's head off and have no time to enjoy their life? People in great shape drop dead every day due to stress. Learn to solve the problems that precipitate your stress. If you have trouble knowing where to start, hire a life coach.(Editors' Note: See beneath the author's note below to find Vibration's suggestions for essences to help this situation.)