Why you should address chronic conditions with a health coach

young black woman woman talking with online coach 2022 01 19 00 03 35 utc
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Chronic conditions are the antagonists in many of our stories. Not quite the villain but they are great at creating conflict and tough choices.

You see, most of us don’t make doctor appointments with the anticipation that they will be life-changing. Sometimes, things start with something small, you make an appointment out of an abundance of precaution, and you leave with unexpected news.

A diagnosis is sometimes a gift because now you have answers. You have a name for the unknown. You can make a plan. You can research and DO something. But…for many of us who have chronic conditions, what actually comes next?

What comes after a chronic condition diagnosis?

At Burnalong, every single employee here either has a chronic condition or loves someone with a chronic condition. That is because the CDC estimates that more than 50% of Americans have at least one chronic condition (27% have multiple conditions). It is part of our mission and what makes each of us show up for work each day. We want to help.

A recent study by Health Action Council and UnitedHealthcare found that five specific conditions make up 50% of healthcare costs: cancer, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological.

Many of these conditions are preventable or capable of management with ongoing education and programming. This is where Burnalong and our group of passionate team members can help.

We recently sat down with one of our fantastic instructors on Burnalong, Janet Frank, Ph.D., A-CFHC, to learn how a health coach can help you build a healthy lifestyle and manage chronic conditions.

How can a health coach help you?

What is your area of expertise?

I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology by training with a 10-year history in private practice. Right now, I am working as an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach.

I left my practice due to my own undiagnosed autoimmune conditions and took a 14-year detour into sales and sales coaching while learning to manage my own health and thrive.

Health coaching emerged in that time as a new profession, and it gives me the opportunity to continue in a helping profession, while incorporating my own passion for health and wellness.

What makes you passionate about what you do? Who is your clientele?

I am passionate about health coaching because most of the illnesses and diseases we suffer from are preventable.

In addition to being able to manage my own health mostly through diet and lifestyle, I am also passionate about what I do because I lost my father to heart disease.

I work with any issues that people feel interfere with their own sense of health and well-being. This includes weight loss and exercise, handling autoimmune or any other chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. I also work with people who are looking to address stress, healthy aging, or are feeling stuck.

If someone is looking to start a new habit in your area of expertise, what are 3 strategies/exercises you recommend they start out doing?

To start, get in touch with your why – what is the true reason you want to make changes?

Next, what strengths can you use to help you? This is not always easy or familiar to people. But it makes sense to lean on what we do well and naturally, as opposed to trying to push through what you think are your weaknesses.

Third, work on your own inner critic, and learn to recognize and celebrate small gains. So many people come up with unrealistic expectations, and then feel discouraged and quit. Your perspective matters.

What is the best way, in your opinion, to become consistent with a new habit?

Find a health coach for a customized recommendation and action plan. The beauty of health coaching is there are no prescriptions, and we do not tell people what to do. It is a partnership, and we will co-create, with you. We’ll help figure out what are likely to be the best ways for you to be consistent and stay the course.

This is different for everyone, and part of what makes health coaching so powerful. We are all different, and a coach will meet you where you are and work from there.

If someone wants to grow in their new habit all year long, what can help them stick to their new habit?

Again, this can vary greatly by individual. Exploring one’s own motivations, strengths, values, and preferences, rather than gutting through the “shoulds, oughts, and musts” will help with success and sustainability in the long haul.

Want to learn more?

We are so grateful for our amazing instructors who share their talents and expertise on Burnalong. The wide variety of backgrounds and credentials means you can find exactly what you need to make progress in your health journey.

Perhaps this was your first introduction to a health coach and we are so glad you took a few moments to read about Janet. Dive into a class with Janet to find some additional support and encouragement along your journey.

If you are ready to start building out comprehensive wellbeing support for your teams, we are ready to brainstorm what might be the best approach. Our custom events and materials might be the perfect fit to address the specific needs of your workforce so we are ready to help.

If you aren’t in HR but think your company could benefit from this, just let us know who to speak with and we’ll do all the heavy-lifting.

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