Coping in the Covid Era

Holistic Health Practitioners Assisting Clients

As a holistic health coach, I’ve been helping other holistic health practitioners (HHPs) with navigating new client concerns around their Covid experience. I use “Covid experience” as a blanket term for when a client shares about their personal engagement with any Covid-related concern. A place holder for sharing about how they’ve been affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually since the onset of the Covid pandemic.

Every HHP must define their scope of practice. Many HHPs don’t prescribe medications or make diagnoses. With various physical components of a client’s health, the HHP is best suited to make additional referrals. This will likely be the case when considering the physical aspects related to the Corona virus, including treatments for the virus and mitigating side effects.

Within the chosen scope of practice, there’s an important role for the HHP to play. The HHP can hold the space for the client to speak about their various health concerns surrounding Covid. To guide them through how they may have been affected directly and indirectly by the new factors influencing their lives since the onset of the pandemic.

In addition to physical effects of Covid, it’s become apparent that mental and emotional concerns have increased. Mental and emotional disruption can be related to their own experience in having gotten sick from Covid. Additional dysregulation is influenced by the coping process with the various changes surrounding the response to the Covid pandemic.

Do they have an outlet to address the mental and emotional ramifications relating to what’s happened for them? Do they feel they have support in addition to the physical components of Covid? HHPs are now exploring how to provide support for clients for these concerns. How can practitioners best serve while taking into account one’s Covid experience?

Assisting Interconnectivity

A component of the response to Covid was the preponderance of compartmentalizing health concerns. For some, there was an intense response which led to myopic focus on the actual virus. The physical component was deemed most important and urgent, so it took center stage. Moving forward, once the individual has determined decreased urgency, they can once again account for taking inventory of all components of health and well-being. As the HHP, you can help reinvigorate a holistic approach.

Since each client’s physical Covid experience will be personally different, it will be powerful for them to exercise their ability to speak of their experience. To give them the space to process what’s happened and for them to recalibrate how to go about their health holistically. Recapping and updating their personal reflection will be helpful.

This will be the space for them to lean into how they’ve been feeling around their individual responses. To check-in with themselves regarding how they feel about what occurred for them? There’s much to inquire about. Have they discussed this before? Do they discuss these things with anyone in their lives? Do they want to discuss it? Is it overwhelming?

Since the response to Covid has influenced many areas of their lives, further sharing may come up anyway. You can also ask for them to reflect further if you sense this is a component that seems to be influencing their sharing. Let them articulate something they haven’t said before, and allow for interconnectivity among the experiences that were had. Has their Covid experience affected the natural flow in their lives?

Be a Reliable Resource

For some individuals, there remains confusion around what to do to cope with their Covid experience. They are in need of reliable resources. You can be one of those resources. Most importantly, you’ll be a resource that allows them to rely on their own discernment and ability to navigate efficiently. You’re a proponent for them to trust and improve their own sensemaking abilities as they regain their mental and emotional bearings.

Encourage them that they’ll continue to connect to other reliable resources. Whether scientific or informational or social, they will continue to navigate through whatever is offered to them. As an HHP, you don’t have to provide your client with increasing amounts of information. You want to hold space for them to feel secure in finding information themselves.

You want to encourage them to have curiosity and ask questions. To seek answers that align with their intuition. Sure, if they ask for your help with resources, you can share some with them. First, you’ll want to make sure to hold the space for them to gain clarity about what their needs are. Then you can share further resources upon their request.

Your session with them is meant to be about what they’re feeling and the thoughts they’re having around their concerns. Keep your thoughts and beliefs to a minimum, and consider saving resources for the end of the sessions, or message them afterwards. You want to hold space for their beliefs and their processing. The sessions foster a space that allows them to share openly and honestly. They may not have anyone else to speak to so openly.

Each HHP is going to have their own beliefs and personal experiences. Sometimes this will overlap with a client, and sometimes not as much. As a practitioner, you may be challenged to hold space with someone who has different beliefs and experiences. If this shows up in a session, continue to hold the space for the client. Afterwards you can seek support from other HHPs within your network.

Mental & Emotional Well-Being

Let’s provide space to talk about it. Are effects on mental health due to the Covid pandemic being under-reported? I believe so. Is adequate attention being given to mental and emotional well-being? I believe there could be more. From my understanding, people are in need of addressing their mental and emotional well-being in regard to their Covid experience. Do you sense this as well?

HHPs can provide assistance for clients to explore their mental and emotional well-being. There are psychological reasons why individuals zoom-in and focus intently on one particular area of health and wellness. Yet as they remain zooming-in, they can overlook other areas of their health. You can help identify this aspect of the client’s attention, and guide them to recognize that they can modify behaviors to create more balance when needed.

A valuable skill will be to assist the client with zooming-out. The HHP can remind the client of the holistic approach to see the bigger picture of the interconnectedness and interplay of the major wellness components. HHPs set the stage for clients to build up their capacity. HHPs also allow space for integration to happen, rather than the client repeating challenges associated with having disparate parts.

Validation is key when engaging with your client. You create a safe space with your client, away from whatever divisiveness may be occurring in their world. You want to be actively listening and intentionally affirming where the client is at. You solidify the necessary foundation that sets up open sharing. You want them to feel heard and to sense a connectivity that allows them to be with their concerns in an affirming and validating way.

This also sets the stage for your continued approach within your sessions. Whether you use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Re-evaluation Counseling, Internal Family Structures (IFS) or other frameworks, you will have created the container to do so. Specifically, around one’s Covid experience, when practicing IFS, it will be helpful to explore the Protector part that may have been triggered by these experiences.

Focus on Lifestyle

Consider the benefits in maintaining a primary focus around lifestyle. Clearly, if you have expertise in a specific area, you can maintain that as a focal point in your sessions. Regarding the client’s Covid experience, you can explore how this has affected their lifestyle. Whether their response to Covid has created a “new normal” or not, there will likely be a number of new changes that are wanting to be addressed.

There may be some desire to go back to “the way things were.” Whether this is an option or not, you can guide your clients to lean into the positives of any recent changes. Have them feel empowered to create what a “new normal” might look like for them. The term “new normal” might not resonate with them, so do your best to work with the language they’re using. If they are using this term as a way to describe their experience, then use it to engage the discussion with them.

Have them give examples of what’s working and what’s not working. Keep checking in about how they’re feeling, and what they’re thinking about each area of health and wellness. Let them describe it. Let them find their own expression of how this has been showing up for them.

You’ll want to give space for how they’ve been negatively impacted. Also be sure to highlight the areas that are okay. This is an opportunity to do inventory on multiple factors. Setting the stage for solutions for what’s been negatively impacted, in conjunction with maintenance for what’s been working.

Social Network

With increased online activity occurring for years prior to the Covid pandemic, a related go-to concern can be around how much time is being spent online. What is an ideal amount for them to spend online. Is their online behavior meeting their needs?

This is a health area that will be measured relative to the individual. Have them establish the baseline of what is too much or too little time online. If you sense that this estimation is excessive or detrimental, you can ask more questions. Your client may be responding to feelings of isolation or disconnect, so you want to compassionate about these factors.

If online interactions are high, this can be a great segue to ask if they feel their needs for community being met? Online options can be a great substitute during certain periods, but continued reliance on those outlets might lead a client to eliminate other in-person options that could meet their need in a more fulfilling way.

Specifically with regard to the Covid pandemic, many individuals get their information online. They can also find solace online when interacting with others who are having similar experiences and perceptions around what’s happening. These are some more lines of inquiry that you can pose to your client to get a better sense of what their home life is like and what they’re doing to feel supported and informed.

You can check-in with them to see if they’re experiencing Cognitive Affective Differentiation? This helps a client identify their conditional state in the midst of the additional Covid lifestyle factors. You can assist them in determining if there’s any residual emotion, like feeling stress, strain or unease around what they are thinking and feeling when comparing personal Covid experience to others Covid experiences.

Hope this is helpful. Would love to know your thoughts. Please reach out!



I’m a holistic health coach & writer living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m the creator of assisting others to reach desired health goals.

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James Governale

I’m a holistic health coach & writer living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m the creator of assisting others to reach desired health goals.