Twelve-hour workdays, agreeing to train a client on your day off “just this one time”, responding to emails and text messages at all hours of the day…does any of that sound familiar?
If so, you’re not alone. So many fitness professionals fall into the trap of blending their work lives with their personal lives in an attempt to help their clients as much as possible. They agree to work on their typical days off to accommodate schedule changes, sacrifice downtime in favour of crossing items off the never-ending to-do list, and allow themselves to get sucked into the glorification of “the hustle”.
They justify these actions because they’re still getting to the gym and sticking to their nutrition plan. But when you’re working long hours and never taking the time to disconnect, is waking up early after only six hours of sleep to do a workout really in your best interest? Is squeezing in a HIIT session between afternoon clients a good way to ensure your longevity in the industry?
We all know how important our physical well-being is. However, there’s more to making a healthy FitPro than hitting the gym and hitting your macros. If that’s all you think it takes to take care of yourself amidst a jam-packed schedule, you run the risk of burning yourself out, and dropping the ball and showing up for clients as your less-than-optimal self. Worst case scenario? You might even find yourself feeling resentful towards your work. And nobody wants that!
So if you’re ready to begin taking care of yourself beyond just the physical side of things, keep reading for five different ways you can manage your own wellness.
#1. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
I may be preaching to the choir here, but meditation and mindfulness practices are essential for calming your body and mind down in light of a busy schedule. A daily practice of even just five minutes can help to bring your body out of a fight-or-flight response, increase your attention span to help you accomplish more work in less time, and help improve your sleep—an essential for those of you who are training hard!
Not only that, a regular meditation practice can help you learn to respond to situations rather than react. As a business owner, it’s inevitable that stressful situations will arise from time to time. You might have a client suddenly disappear and default on payments, your website could crash, and you may even fall into the Entrepreneurial Existential Crisis and begin to wonder if what you’re doing even matters.
The heightened self-awareness and emotional intelligence that comes as a result of a consistent meditation practice can allow you to move through instances like these with more ease. Rather than getting overwhelmed and thinking you should just throw in the towel, you may find yourself starting to take more of an objective look at the situation and searching for creative solutions.
To get into a consistent meditation practice, consider starting with something that feels so easy it’s almost laughable. If you’re certain you can commit to three minutes a day, start with that and build your way up.
#2. Build Community
You know how important it is for your clients to surround themselves with like-minded folks with similar goals. The same rings true for you! How many entrepreneurial friends do you have in your network? How many people in your life understand the challenges that come with being a small business owner?
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path, but it doesn’t have to be. There are people out there just like you who are looking for support, connection, and accountability. Can you find a group of trainers in your city to connect with, or a local networking group you can meet with regularly? Are there online communities you can find your people in?
The importance of this can’t be stressed enough. I’m fortunate enough to lead a community for health, fitness, and wellness practitioners in my own city. The feedback I’ve received is that it’s helping professionals make friends, find collaboration partners, and understand that they aren’t alone in their journeys.
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#3. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are the guidelines you set around how people can treat you and interact with you. While it can be uncomfortable, it’s important to not only set boundaries, but also to have a clear understanding as to how you will respond when those boundaries are crossed.
It’s common for trainers to lack boundaries with their clients. Many will respond to texts and emails at all hours of the day, or they’ll schedule a client on their regular day off to be accommodating. But over time, a lack of boundaries can lead to physical and mental burnout.
In addition to setting boundaries with your clients, it’s also important to set boundaries with loved ones. Many people don’t understand what it’s like to work for yourself, and oftentimes the work we do as entrepreneurs doesn’t look like work to others. Be sure to communicate your needs for time and space with the people you live with. And lastly, don’t forget to set boundaries with yourself around how much time you spend on the computer or scrolling on social media.
#4. Embrace JOMO
With all the courses, workshops, online events, and offline events, the FOMO—fear of missing out—game can be strong. But it’s important to remember that a big part of effective marketing is creating scarcity; that is, making you think that if you don’t take this opportunity now, you’ll never have it again.
The truth is, there will always be events to attend, courses to buy, experts to learn from. We’re led to think our big business break is hiding in one singular moment, but in reality, business success comes from consistently showing up and taking action. And we can’t take consistent action if we’re burned out from chasing all the shiny objects.
Can you embrace JOMO—the joy of missing out? What new ideas or inspiration would be possible for you if you created some extra space in your life? If you aren’t sure, it might be a good experiment to test out!
#5. Connect with Something Greater Than Yourself
This one might sound a little weird, but stick with me. When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the little details. A client who’s not getting the results they hired you for, that thing on your website that looks a little off, all of the social media posts you haven’t created. In the heat of the moment, these little things can seem like a big deal.
But for a moment, can you take yourself out of the micro and into the macro? Can you remember the greater cosmic web that’s at play and remind yourself that, in the grand scheme of life, these tiny details are just a small moment in time?
If you have a spiritual practice, connecting to whatever it is you like to connect to can you help in these moments where life just feels big and heavy. If you don’t consider yourself a spiritual person, don’t worry. Nature is one of the most potent reminders of how small the things I tend to stress about really are.
Go stand in the forest and look at everything around you. Notice how big and old the trees are. Pay attention to all the little plants, the animals, the living things, the decaying things, and see how they all play a role in contributing to the survival of one another. On the outside, it can look a little messy and chaotic. But in reality, it’s all happening exactly the way it needs to.
And it’s the same with running a business. Not every single day is going to be perfect. Not every week, not even every month. Some days, things will feel as messy and chaotic as the forest floor. But can you find a way to remember that everything is happening exactly the way it needs to happen for you to learn the lessons you need to learn? Can you truly embrace that idea to lessen some of the sting of the bad days?
Give it a shot and see what happens.