Key Takeaways from My Time at Duke Integrative Medicine

Last week, I wrapped up my time at Duke’s Integrative Heath Coach Training program. This program taught me a lot about the field of health coaching and myself. Since this program has been a big part of my life the past couple of months, I want to share my experience and key takeaways with the hope of inspiring others to think more about their health in a holistic way, and just maybe encourage others to take a leap of faith once in a while. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I left my 9-5 corporate job to follow my passion which led me to Duke. While at times I felt like I didn’t belong and it was challenging, the first word that comes to mind after completing the foundational course is grateful. The program consisted of highly-knowledgeable instructors, mentors, and peers. Throughout the course, I realized I was in a room filled with other individuals with a common goal: To help others become the healthiest version of themselves.

During the program, we were coached by our peers. This gave me opportunities to work on health changes and goals of my own. One issue in particular that I focused on was my self-diagnosed phone addiction. My goal is to cut back on my phone time by seven hours a week.

I started using an app to track how much time per week I was spending on my phone. My tracking results were shocking to me. I use my phone primarily for work and keeping in touch with family and friends. Two aspects of my life that are extremely important to me. However, I wanted to change my auto-pilot behavior of endlessly scrolling whether that is on social media, reading the news, or checking my emails.

I identified through the process what parts of my phone addiction no longer resonated with my long-term health goals, why I was doing it, and how to get myself to change the behaviors that I felt were no longer helping me. It is still an on-going process but I’ve seen many positive changes so far.

I’ve managed to cut back on my phone time by about two and a half hours a week in the past three weeks. I have been replacing that time with more time on my yoga mat, and more quality in-person time with friends and family. I have also been able to maintain what is important to me about my phone, including my work obligations, and staying in touch with family and good friends. This whole process is beginning to teach me the art of what to ignore.

Looking ahead, a few topics explored in the program that I found particularly valuable and cannot wait to put into practice are:

  • The neuroscience of behavior change

  • Personal health planning

  • Closed vs. open-end questions

Stay tuned for how I plan on integrating these practices into my yoga teaching, private trainings, group workshops and more.