Physician, heal thyself. Or coach, be a Coachy McCoacherson.

Rather than tell you what the coaching experience is like, I’m going to semi-have you experience it from my vantage point. You see, I could use a little self-coaching right now.

Here’s the backstory – around Thanksgiving, I caught a cold. That cold turned into a cough. That cough lingered, and I found myself short of breath (see, even the medical people could call me SOB now). Given that both my parents died of things related to lungs and breathing, I was a little more than terrified. It turns out that not getting enough oxygen to the brain mimics panic and anxiety symptoms, so I had that going for me as well. Two chest x-rays, an inhaler, many medications, and a nebulizer later, and we still had no answers. Nothing seemed to make things better, and asthma wasn’t the right diagnosis.

We are ending February now, and still looking for answers, but getting closer. Looks like the bronchitis exacerbated my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. My lungs are stretched out and are functioning at about 65% of what they should. So far, every test is coming back in the clear. More tests at the end of this week will tell me if I, who hasn’t smoked in 20 years, have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.

My doctor did not put any restrictions on my activities, but I did do a fair amount of feeling sorry for myself. Eating my feelings. When you aren’t breathing well, it’s hard to get the motivation to exercise. Then I got the mother of all head colds, and that was enough to just send me over the edge. My two go-to health tools, exercise and breath work, were pretty much a wash.

Luckily, I have a good support system who talked me back from the brink. I am recovering from the head cold and it’s time to get back into life. I’ve taken some time to review my personal values and maybe if I make the effort to get up, someone else will, too. Maybe that person getting up will inspire another person to get up, and so on.

If I were actually coaching someone, and this were the first meeting, I would be taking some time to go over my coaching agreement, fee schedule, and getting some information about where the individual is now with regard to their health and fitness. We would also talk about values and where the person wants to go. While I talk to myself a lot, I don’t typically enter into business agreements with myself. I’ve also already done a lot of values clarification, so I’m good to go there. So, we’ll skip that part.

As we have talked about before, there are considered to be 7 dimensions of personal wellness. At this point, the main focus is working on my stress levels, exercise, and diet to improve my physical health. I could use a tuneup in all 7, but that would be a lot to take on all at once. One thing I have a bad habit of doing with myself is deciding I’m going to do a complete life overhaul. That’s too much, as any behavior change person will tell you. Small changes make a bigger impact.

I’m deconditioned, so any exercise is really at the beginner level. Just getting to the gym and doing some varied activity is a win at this point. I’m stressed out from all the tests, among other things, and that is taking a toll on my physical health. Any type of activities that can reduce the impact of stress on my body are wins. I’m not eating well, and that is also not helping me. A few veggies and a fruit here or there would be better than I’m doing right now.

What are my SMART goals for this week?

  • Write in my journal for at least 15 minutes for 5 days this week at the beginning of the day
  • Meditate for at least 15 minutes each day
  • Attend the gym at least 5 days this week for 30 minutes (150 minutes of moderate activity)
  • Use my click counter to count positive things each day
  • Eat at least 2 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of fruit for 6 days this week

I also plan on looking at ways I can make my work more efficient and pleasant and spend some time decluttering my environment, but that is a bonus.

It’ll also be important to take some baseline measures in areas of movement, fitness, and wellness. We lose our conditioning pretty quickly, especially when we get older. It’s awfully humbling to be a beginner again in this regard, but I need to accept that fact. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Next week, I’ll give you some progress reports of Week 1. Wish me luck.

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