In our job we cannot hide behind the desk on an “off day”. We devote all of our physical and mental energy to the delivery of our classes, motivating and inspiring members. By the end of those classes we’re energised but exhausted. We eat, sleep, teach, repeat.
As a group exercise Instructor, it is vital to hit that pause button once in a while. In order to continually be able to bounce back and maintain high energy throughout our classes, we need to allow ourselves downtime. We may be a busy bunch, but taking time out is an important way not only to re-energize, but also to avoid physical and mental burn out.
So, depending on how much time you have, here are five easy ways to relax that I’ve found work for me when it comes to looking after number one (in a good way).
- Fresh air
Take a short walk and get some fresh air. It doesn’t need to be long. A ten-minute stroll can do the trick! Time for you to clear your mind, collect your thoughts and stretch out the muscles. Maybe take someone with you for some mindless chit chat or borrow a dog if you want some company.
- Write it down and let go
If you’ve got a lot to do, make a list of what needs to be done in order of priority. If you feel stressed or anxious, write down how you feel. Maybe journal it. Whatever it is, as soon as it is on paper, it’s out of the mind. This will clear the thoughts, allowing you to see the bigger picture more easily.
- Stretch and breathe
Take yourself to a quieter space and spend a few minutes having a good stretch. Again, it doesn’t need to be long, you can take as much time as you feel. Afterwards, just breathe. Lying down on your back, place your hands towards your ribcage and concentrate on your breathing for a minute or two. Focusing on your air flow (where it goes, how it feels) and relaxing the body that little bit more with every exhale.
- Take a bath
A warm and soothing bath to relax. It’s probably a myth that hot baths help sore muscles, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a wonderful way to take time out. Why not go all out and add a few candles and your favourite playlist. Whatever you do, try not to use this as time to reflect on your classes. This is YOU time now. Class is over. Rather than overthinking about your day, enjoy this moment of pause.
- Book a getaway
Maybe just for a weekend or even a week! Whatever length of stay you choose, not only will it be a little trip to look forward to, but you can allow yourself some rest. Taking a few days off will not affect your fitness or muscle mass. In fact, you will probably return feeling even stronger and more energized than ever, with some great memories to share.
Finally, if you struggle to find the time (or make yourself a priority), imagine making an appointment with yourself. You are your own client. Schedule in your diary a minimum of five minutes where you can focus on you. You won’t just thank yourself, your members will too when they see you deliver top-quality classes week upon week.
Lorna Flint lives in the East Midlands, UK, and has been teaching Les Mills classes for two years. She is a Tribe Coach and Elite Instructor for BODYATTACK and an Advanced Instructor for both BODYPUMP and BODYBALANCE.