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How to help a client through depression

How to help a client through depression

As a trainer, you’re in a special position to see a change in a client’s mood or attitude. Although your professional focus is on the body, mental wellness plays a big role in our overall health and fitness, so don’t forget to be alert to mental illness in your clients also. Here are some of the best ways to help out a client if you notice they are going through a rough period of depression or low mood:

Be aware of their energy levels and modify accordingly
With depression often comes low mood and motivation, so it might be best if you alter your program if your client confides in you that they are struggling with depression. Beginning with a low-based program ensures that your client is not over-exerting themselves (mentally or physically), and gives you the space to kick up the heat in their activities when they are ready.

As a personal trainer, you should be aware of the effects of mental health on physical ability, and be open to adapting your programs as well as your expectations during this time.

Focus on happy hormones, not strenuous physical activity
Regardless of their initial goals, clients with depression should focus more on generating those happy hormones. Get rid of the heavy weights and high intensity exercise, and ensure they simply complete something that will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. Your goal should be to allow for some leniency and boost their confidence without adding to their mental or physical stress.

Uncover their feelings – if they are comfortable
Depending on what kind of relationship you have with your client, you may want to sit down with them and have a general conversation about how they are feeling – and how you can help. Talking it out with them can help them by drawing on your expertise as a health professional. Together you can design a program that enables the client to forge a sense of achievement, fire up those happy hormones and rebuild their wellness.

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