Despite the fact that we are in the business of health and fitness, we often still find ways to run our bodies and our precious resource- our health - ragged. We all know it: life as a health and fitness professional is pretty amazing with incredible benefits, flexibility, an ever-growing esteem, and career and financial opportunities. We also know the long days, back to back classes, too many squats in one day and not enough thought for self-care.
You can only talk about what you know, and I’ve done my time with 37 plus high energy classes a week to make my way. But I had incredible mentors such as Junior Carvahlo, Sherry Catlin, Clare Dunphy, Calvin Wiley and Molly Fox and Paul Chek who caught me early in my career and sat me down to say ‘that path’ has no future. If we don’t care for our selves, there is no chance to share the joy of movement with others.
I still forget sometimes, especially now as a presenter, teacher, and working mother. I’ll work too hard, too long, not fueling my body sufficiently with the right food or rest to match the demands of life and work. I may miss my workout in order to sub a class, or struggle to get a balanced workout in among all the lectures and trainings I love to frequent while on the road presenting. We can keep this pace up for a really long time, especially since most of us get such incredible fulfillment out of sharing our craft. But the up swing always has a downswing, and downswings fall fast.
So I’m eager to share with you 10 self-care tips for a long and healthy, thus prosperous, career. Each one of these is worth volumes alone. If you are interested, leave a comment and we can go deep.
In the meantime, take care and be well as a result!
10 Self-Care Tips for a Long, Healthy and Prosperous Career
Find some sort of meditative practice that you can use to gather your awareness each day and check in with yourself, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. There is always a hustle and bustle in this field, but we must come to stillness regularly to calibrate and unwind.
2) Feed Your Body Properly
Many people and professionals still think that if they teach movement they can eat however they like and will be fine. It may seem this way for some…for a while. However the food we eat directly creates the mind and body we train and impacts our energy and thus the classes we give. Eat like an athlete, before and after class. This may take investigation and there are many opinions about what works best, but it is absolutely worth it to find the nutrition plan that gives you the most life force vitality to do what you want to do in the best possible way.
3) Learn To Say No
It is great to help a colleague out in need, but not at the expense of your own health and energy. Save the SAVEs for real emergencies. And every class that is offered to you does not need to be accepted. Be a team player, but know your limits—keeping your teaching fresh is the best bet for everyone.
4) Warm Up Your Voice
It is your golden box of communication, treat yourself like a Broadway singer and learn some vocal prep techniques to prepare and care for your voice. It is SO powerful but also so fragile and easily damaged. Your voice is precious; take time to understand the anatomy and functioning of your vocal cords then pamper them, hydrate them, and use your voice well.
5) Diversify And Teach A Balanced Portfolio
Teaching repetitive movements in the same plane of motion at any speed over and over will eventually have an effect. This is true of teaching the same type of classes over and over, week after week, months and years at a time. Sorry, but it does not do a body good. Diversify your teaching offering so that you have 3-6 branded classes (at least one mind body) that are a variety and give your body a variety of movement experiences. Your hips, knees, shoulders will thank you and you will prevent burn out on many levels.
6) Create a Wellness Team
My friend Liz calls this her dream team. This is the team that puts you together before you start to fall apart—includes your massage therapist, your stretch partner, your acupuncturist, your physical therapist, your healer, your astrologist, your DJ, your accountant, your yoga therapist…name your need and find that person. Make regular visits with at least one person on your dream team each week.
7) Read, And Read Some More
Read a book in your field every week. Taking care of your brain and staying on top of changes in the industry is financial security.
8) Create A Down-Regulation Routine
Post work, how will you move from performance mode to being mode? Some like nature, others thrive on social
media or a meditation practice. But in general at the very least end your ‘workday’, shower, change into non-workout clothes and feel like a real human being.
9) Fitness People Rest Too!
Fitness professionals need days off and vacations too! I know it’s hard to save for the big splurges as a fitness professional, but you must. It is critical to plan the vacations so you can work towards them and make them happen. Furthermore, everyone, I repeat EVERYONE, needs one day off per week.
10) What Is Your Exit Plan?
You may very well teach until you can’t move, I certainly intend to, but it is a relief to have a long view and think forward to the future. Take time to consider financial and lifestyle needs and consider any other possible careers of interest as well as complimentary services you can offer within this career now. Then sort out what it would take in new education, investment and time to transition if so desired or it was suddenly necessary. Peace of mind is a healthy mind.
All the best,
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