How do you define health? Having everything within normal limits at your annual physical? Feeling good enough to do what you need to do? The absence of disease?
All of these are great and do enter into a picture of good health. But I think there’s more:
Do you wake up feeling rested on most days and feeling positive about your life?
Most of the time are you able to identify and express your feelings?
Are you able to let go of old resentments and regrets and move on with your life?
Is healthy pleasure a regular part of your life?
Are you able to live an authentic life and do you have people in your life who appreciate you for who you are?
Do you feel you have enough time each day to devote at least 1/2 hour to yourself and your well-being?
Do you take the time to really taste and enjoy your food?
Do you give and receive affection from friends, children, a partner, a pet?
We can no longer separate physical health from the health of our minds and our spirits. Everything we think, say, and do affects everything else, and we need to bring it all into harmony to achieve real wellness.
That’s why I love the name of Joleen Hyde’s business, Harmony Health Coaching. I think she recognizes the importance of balance and harmony in our lives and works to help her clients achieve this.
While I feel we are fortunate to have easy access to medical services in this country, it is often our daily habits and lifestyle that undermine our health. Doctors might tell us to lose weight, cut back on sugar, or incorporate exercise into our lives, but they don’t usually have the time to deal with the whys and the hows. And doctors receive 25 or less hours of nutrition study in medical school, so, unless they do a lot of studying on their own, it can be hard for them to give nutritional advice.
Some of us just need to be pointed in the right direction, some of us need a little more motivation or someone to walk with us and keep us accountable, some of us lead extremely stressful lives and haven’t a clue how to get a handle on it, and many of us just don’t have the time to do all the research to know which foods to eat, which ones to avoid, or how to avoid chemicals in our cleaning and personal care products.
Health coaches have a genuine desire to help people become healthier, overcome bad habits, and get to a weight that’s right for them. Joleen went to school to become an LPN and then went back to school intending to become an RN. She then became interested in holistic health and changed directions. She studied through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition for a year to become a certified health coach, graduating in 2011. Her business is based in Redwood Falls.
You won’t usually find a physician who can sit down with you for an hour every two weeks for six months to talk with you about your lifestyle and eating habits and formulate a plan to help you improve your health. Joleen will also do individual hourly sessions and a 3-month plan where you meet with her weekly.
She’s big on stress reduction and even does a stress reduction day at a local winery where you can relax in beautiful surroundings and do a wine tasting if you desire. From talking with Joleen it’s easy to see that she believes in helping people see that they are worth a little TLC, and she helps them to incorporate that into their lives.
She also encourages people to eat local, fresh food as much as possible, and she attempts to help people with sugar addiction, an issue she and I both believe is so prevalent in this country where sugar is hidden in many processed foods.
In my experience, people often seem to want a pill or a quick fix to make a health issue go away, or they just don’t know where to begin. Creating better health is often simple, but it isn’t necessarily quick. We’ve formed a lot of habits over the years, and it takes some time and dedication to learn new habits and motivation to stick with them. That’s where people like Joleen come in. She’s gentle, but knowledgeable, practical, and encouraging.
Some of the simple things she works with her clients on are breath awareness, journaling, and just encouraging them to sit down at a table when eating, and eating slowly. These are simple strategies but they can make a huge difference.
Today we know that 60-90% of doctor visits are stress-related so it makes so much sense to learn to reduce and deal with the stress in our lives. Just being around someone like Joleen who is caring and compassionate, and spending an hour talking and being heard would be a great first step. Then her knowledge and practical help can get clients moving to reduce stress and take better care of themselves.
When I asked Joleen what would be three pieces of advice she would give people to improve their health, her answers were: Slow down, love more, and keep learning. Now when we know that everything we do affects our physical health, from the thoughts we think to forgiving someone who has wronged us, I can’t think of any better advice than that.