Taking care of yourself is more than taking bubble baths and lighting candles – self-care requires practice, commitment, and deep introspection. While facial masks can help relieve some of the external stress you’re experiencing, taking care of yourself involves digging deep to find what you really need to heal yourself. This task can feel daunting, but that’s where self-care coaches come in.
What Does a Self-Care Coach Do?
A self-care coach empowers clients to discover what their needs are and develop ways they can take care of personal wellness. Self-care coaches, as well as Health Coaches, focus on all aspects of health and wellness, which includes not only physical health but also mental, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, and environmental health. (Yes, these are all areas of your well-being you can focus on!)
Self-care coaches work with their clients to create sustainable and transformational physical, emotional, and spiritual self-care habits. These habits can include:
- Establishing a workout schedule
- Creating a daily meditation practice
- Encouraging healthy boundaries in all relationships
- Learning how to say no
- Prioritizing a well-rounded diet
- Achieving that elusive work-life balance
What’s the difference between a self-care coach and a Health Coach?
There is some overlap between what Health Coaches do and what self-care coaches do for their clients. Health Coaches are experts in holistic health who mentor people on their health journeys to reach their individual physical, emotional, and dietary goals. The terms Health Coach, wellness coach, and health and wellness coach are often used interchangeably. A Health Coach’s main role is to provide a safe space for clients to become experts on their health and determine what diet and lifestyle practices work for their unique situation.
One of the main differences between these types of coaches is that a Health Coach is more focused on supporting clients with their overall health and wellness, which can include self-care but is not their primary focus. While self-care coaches may address a client’s health, someone working with a Health Coach is often looking to improve their physical well-being first ‒ and finds that their mental and emotional well-being need nourishing, too.
Both kinds of coaches can work in person or virtually, with individuals or in larger groups. They may structure their businesses similarly, creating the work-life balance that works for them and aligns with their personal and professional goals. The areas that these options focus on may be the same (think translating physical wellness into emotional wellness), as may the techniques that both kinds of coaches use (diet and exercise regimens for Health Coaches, breathing exercises for self-care coaches).
Which People Do Self-Care Coaches Work With?
Unless a self-care coach is qualified to do so, these kinds of coaches do not diagnose, treat, or prescribe anything to their clients. As much as self-care is a popular buzzword, many people hesitate to put themselves first when it comes to their health and well-being. While people who need the help of a self-care coach can be anyone, there are certain groups that may be more likely to reach out for assistance and guidance.
Although everyone needs to perform self-care, women are often less inclined to carve out the time to engage in the practice. During the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of anxiety and depression surged, particularly among women, who found themselves home with their families ‒ including children attending virtual classes ‒ and also needing to work their normal full-time jobs.
Studies have shown that women almost always carry the lion’s share of the household’s mental load. This is everything from remembering you’re almost out of toilet paper to delegating responsibilities around the house. This invisible labor is often far more exhausting than making sure the dishwasher got run last night.
Whether they have children or not, women are more likely to hold off on real self-care. Instead, they often opt for quick fixes that have become the standard for what self-care looks like (think facial masks and bullet journals). Self-care coaches can work with women to teach them how they can make sustainable, enduring changes in their lives.
Seniors may put self-care on the back burner in favor of physical health, but there needs to be balance. Levels of depression in older people are less than in younger generations, but the elderly are less likely to seek help than any other age group. With senior citizens, focusing on the human connection is important, as they’re also more likely to be living alone. Self-care coaches can offer an outlet for seniors as well as provide strategies to take care of their emotional well-being. This can be things like beginner yoga poses with guided meditation and gardening.
Students have packed schedules, complicated relationships, and raging hormones. They deal with burnout at rates higher than those of any previous generation, and they often don’t have the emotional maturity to deal with the real-life issues they’re facing. Self-care coaches can guide students with things like managing their schedules, to allow more time for relaxation, and provide tools for regulating their emotional health. For students, this can look like teaching them how to perform grounding exercises for times of high stress.
Who Can Become a Self-Care Coach?
The short answer is: Anyone! As long as you have a passion for helping others and the drive to do so, you can become a self-care coach. There are currently no legal or academic requirements to become a self-care coach, though many people who go into this line of work opt to obtain at least some kind of official training. This kind of education usually comes from life, wellness, or health coaching schools (like the Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and can set the coach up for success, equipped to handle clients’ unique self-care needs and challenges head-on.
The Bottom Line
Self-care coaches work with their clients to demonstrate how they can incorporate self-care strategies into their everyday lives, and they can work with a wide segment of the population to do so. Like Health Coaches, self-care coaches promote the idea that whole-person health doesn’t just mean you’re physically healthy ‒ and that healthy, for everyone, means different things.
Prioritizing yourself to ensure that your physical and mental health is, well, healthy isn’t selfish. Some people find it easier than others to practice self-care, and still others need help from an outside resources, like self-care coaches.