Whether or not you personally have stocked up on toilet paper, OR shared funny memes about stocking up on toilet paper, your clients may ask you about the coronavirus.
The spread of COVID-19 is having some very real impact on people’s everyday lives, even if they are not living in China or Italy. Around the world, employers are shifting to remote work, conferences are being cancelled, and schools are being closed.
Here are two simple strategies for a health coach (or simply a decent human being) while talking to someone about the coronavirus:
PROCESS YOUR OWN SHIT FIRST
How are YOU feeling about the coronavirus?
Self-awareness will be your best friend. Are you panicked? Anxious? Terrified? Do you think the whole thing is majorly overblown by the media? Angry that your travel plans got cancelled? Worried about your investment portfolio taking a dip?
This is not about figuring out whether or not you are justified in feeling X or Y, but acknowledging that you probably do have some feelings here, and those will impact your communication with others.
DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE
Try your damndest to come at this from the place of neutrality. Listen. Learn. Ask. Get curious. Ask some more.
Unless your official title is Coronavirus educator, you are not there to educate. You are there to coach. That means support and problem solve.
Supporting clients may mean listening to and acknowledging their anxiety and fears. They may know someone who is directly affected. They might worry about losing their job, as dozens of industries are taking a hit. They might wonder how they will be able to work AND take care of their children, as schools close.
Problem solving might include adjusting workouts to at-home workouts.
It might include helping the clients build established prevention behaviours into their day. For example, does your client already have an established habit of washing their hands as soon as they enter their house? (Most don’t.)
What DO they do as soon as they enter the house? Take off the coat, take off their shoes, put their car keys in the key bowl on the coffee table. Add in “I wash my hands, as soon as I take my shoes off, and put the keys in the key bowl” rule, and help your client implement it.
Your client might want to prep some extra food and storing it in the freezer. Heck, maybe they’ll want to buy some extra toilet paper. If it alleviates THEIR worry, then why not? [You can giggle about it in your journal if you’d like. The private paper kind.]
Spoiler: When it comes to processing your own shit first, and not being an asshole, I find these two strategies to be excellent for life in general.