What in the world is “Distance Enhancement” and what does it have to do with wellness coaching? Very simply – it is the process of assisting your clients in “distancing” themselves from their current world in order to reset their perspective and actions going forward.
Distance Enhancement occurs naturally while on vacation. As we step away from the things that dominate our lives, our view of both priorities and possibilities begins to change. We tune into the value of our health, our relationships, and much more. But what happens when your client doesn’t have a vacation anywhere in sight? What options do you have as a wellness coach at that point to help create that same Distance Enhancement? Here are a few to get you started…
- Obsess: Our obsessions are often what put us in the center of the storm. Every waking moment is spent focused on that one thing, and so anything that throws off our perfect plan can wreck havoc. Telling a naturally obsessive individual to “just relax” is ridiculous advice, similar to telling a fish to climb a tree. However, if you can help this client find a (completely different) distracting obsession, that can have the same beneficial outcome. It may be coaching their child’s basketball team, taking up a new sport, or engrossing themselves in a new hobby. Yes – relaxation still has it’s merits, but sometimes teaching the fish a new way to swim can accomplish similar outcomes.
- SnapBreak: This is a mini-vacation in the midst of the craziness. It may be a breathing exercise, a brief walk outside the office, or a screen-free weekend. Similar to a real vacation, this action can help reset – at least temporarily – the dial on how important that “critically urgent” issue felt in the moment by creating that distance.
- Tune into TV: I know – it’s odd to reference mindless, motionless activity when we’re supposed to be talking about the opposite (wellness). However, in some circumstances, it can be valuable exercise. The key is to identify a character with whom your client identifies – someone who reminds her of herself. Obviously TV characters are the extreme example of just about any personality trait. That’s ok. You simply want to be able to give your client someone they can step back and consider – from a distance – and then apply the lessons they see to their own lives.
- If you’re a Parks and Recreation fan (a sitcom that ran 2009-2015), then the Chris Traeger character will be a name that rings a bell. Our (grown) kids were so certain he was exactly like me, that they practically demanded we watch the show long enough for him to come on the scene. Whether it was a case of self (or kid) fulfilling prophecy or not, I could see the connection. On a recent episode, he suffered some shoulder tendonitis and in a hilarious way, it practically ruined his life. From a distance, I could easily see the riduculousness of his response. However, I also saw myself mirroring a less dramatic (but all too real) response to injuries of my own. Seeing his response from a distance helped my perspective change for the better.
- Procrastinate: Again – an odd one to mention when we’re talking wellness, but stay with me. Many of your clients are Type AAA people, who thrive on adrenaline and succeed by getting things done – NOW! However, what seems like the right answer in the moment (in order to get it DONE), can present itself in a completely different light an hour – or a day – later. Time and distance play similar roles in this exercise – very effectively. Take advantage of this reality with your clients.
Distance enhancement – one of the most effective tools we can utilize as wellness coaches in helping create lasting, meaningful change in the lives of our clients.