How do coaches and psychologists take care of their own mental health?

September 28th, 2021,

5 min read

How do coaches and psychologists take care of their own mental health?featured image

10 October is World Mental Health Day. A fantastic initiative of the World Health Organization. The goal is to help raise awareness for mental wellbeing and improve the lives of people dealing with mental and emotional health disorders. At moonbird, we couldn’t support this more.

Paying close attention to your mental health is important to everyone. But how do you start here? One of the best things to do is to be kind to yourself by practicing self-care. As much as you can, no matter what happens.

Although only you know best what works for you, we want to inspire you with some examples. We asked moonbird team members, as well as coaches, trainers, psychologists, and other ambassadors we work with, to share their experiences and best practices as it comes to taking care of one’s mental health. How do they practice self-care? And what can you learn from them?

Stefanie Broes, Co-founder of moonbird

"When I’m in need of relaxation, I notice a tense feeling in my shoulders and back. I then shift into a higher gear and start to do everything faster, like I’m in a hurry. At the same time, my mood drops, and I just can’t make jokes anymore. I also notice I need to relax more when my sleep is getting worse.

When I start to notice this, I consciously try to slow things down a bit. By doing breathing exercises with my moonbird, meditating, taking a bath, cycling, going out into nature, or hanging out with friends."

Katrien Geeraerts, Heart Coherence Trainer

“I try to live according to my own pace and take as many short relaxing moments as possible during my busy day. I do this through heart coherence training (with or without biofeedback) - on a regular basis.

In addition, a good lifestyle is absolutely necessary for me! I walk 4 to 5 km each day, I try to eat a varied and healthy diet (and sometimes I deliberately sin), I drink enough water, and consciously end my day with gratitude. The ultimate way to relax for me is to experience good connections with the right people.”

Kim Demeyere, Heart Coherence Coach

“When I start feeling agitated, I know I have to slow down. It helps to sit down on my own for a while, I really like silence and can be alone very well. That's how I regenerate.

Moreover, I practice heart coherence breathing. These techniques are so simple, yet incredibly powerful and effective. Short meditation moments or a walk outside are also great ways for me to relax.”

Elisabeth Honinx, postdoctoral researcher at moonbird

“As soon as I go into overdrive, I get headaches and fatigue and feel irritable. Then I know I can (read: should) take it easy. Or my environment will tell me to do so.

At such a moment I like to go out into the fresh air, for example for a walk. A good night's sleep also goes a long way. Preferably, if possible, I try to take some time off to recharge. I plan a trip to a sunny place. And just do nothing."

Hannah Both, clinical psychologist and stress coach

“When I start to do everything in a hurry, I can feel the adrenaline still in my body. Even after the working day is over, when I should actually be able to relax. At such a moment informal mindfulness helps me a lot. This acts as a pause button for my mind.

I especially try to practice mindfulness when I'm in my car, when waiting somewhere, or when I’m preparing food. In addition, a chat with my husband, a good friend or my parents can also give me a lot of peace."

Jonatan Snyders, growth engineer at moonbird

“When I’m in need of relaxation, I notice increased tinnitus, I experience more repetitive thoughts and negative conversations in my head (my monkey brain gets activated), and I have difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep at night.

I then meditate and take time for myself. Meditating provides the exact opposite of what I described before, it helps my monkey mind slow down. I become much more present in the here and now. Also, I like to chat and reflect with friends."

Louis van Nieuland, Heart Coherence Trainer

“After having experienced burnout myself in the year 2000, tinnitus (buzzing in the ears) is my signal that I am pushing myself beyond the limit. Nowadays, my day doesn't start without my heart coherence breathing exercise. Sometimes I combine them with transcendental meditation. This provides me inner peace and it clears my mind.

Working with my hands also puts me in rest mode, for example by woodworking, working with clay, and drawing. I also enjoy walking in the woods, observing all sounds, and watching the birds. This brings me new energy.”

Gilles Grosemans, production assistant at moonbird

“When there’s too much going on, I can think less clearly and I can get a little frustrated. I then first try to take a moment to come back to myself, for example by focusing on my breathing.

I also like to get active and play some sports, such as mountain biking, squash, or running. By doing this, I can completely clear my mind again.”

Ben Sansen, Life & Business Coach, speaker, podcast host

“My body is a good barometer for how tense or relaxed I am. When I start feeling pain in my neck and shoulders, when my night's rest is going down, when my mind is less clear, then I know I should slow things down. This usually presents itself when I work too many hours, due to my enthusiasm and passion for my profession.

I am a big fan of my own Miracle Morning routine. I get out of bed before 6 am every day for some rounds of breathing, yoga, meditation, swimming, or sauna (well, not that whole series every morning). And I'm no longer in the car to go to the office before 8:30 am. Besides this, I take a lot of extended breaks by going for 6-day hikes with my clients in the Lapland mountains. I feel very fortunate to be able to do that almost all summer :-)”

Conclusion?

Your mental health and taking good care of yourself are super important. Try to listen to your body's stress signals as much as possible and consciously slow down when you feel it’s needed. If you don’t, the consequences can be serious, both physically and mentally. So, today is a beautiful day to take a moment to stand still and be aware. Breathe in, breathe out.

More information about World Mental Health Day can be found here.

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