Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. If only “rock bottom” were a reference to toned glutes, alongside the likes of “buns of steel.” What’s an instructor to do when the tank runs empty or when tragedy strikes? You’ve got classes, clients and a life to lead.
At short notice, most instructors choose to power through our pain. Flocking to our fitfam will genuinely help us carry on in most cases as sometimes a bit of “normalcy” the best condolence. But when “powering on” for an evening becomes a week, a month, a term or even a year, we must ask ourselves what we’d advise anyone else in our shoes to do. Stopping to rest, reflect and heal ourselves is necessary and it might very well be the best way we ever help our students live the life of wellbeing we preach.
Sometimes we don’t even know what’s leaking our energy until it’s too late. Injury, personal loss and other unsolicited changes in our lives nudge and in some cases force us to see and make adjustments to our relationship circles, home life, work life, etc. that we might have long ignored otherwise. But other times the nudge is more subtle, gnawing at us little by little and then all at once, we find ourselves in the middle of a meltdown – again. We continue to hit milestones, but are we on the right path? As L. Ron Hubbard explained, “That which a person works hardest on, he winds up having. That’s one of the fundamentals of this universe. That to which he devotes energy, he finally has.”
Regardless, all we can really do is detox. Sometimes a detox has little to do with food, although the food component always seems to help. There’s only so much our superfood smoothie bowls and coffee can do to help keep us going when times get tough mentally and/or emotionally. We need to identify how we spend our energy and where we waste it. And we need to remove the elements that toxify us. Social media is often a good place to start. Whatever drains you, do your best to avoid that. Change the scenery, the friend circles, news sources and daily schedules. Do whatever you have to do, to rid yourself of unhealthy elements of daily life, emotionally and mentally. Decide what it is that you truly need, buried deeply beneath all the things you think you need. And go for it. Get back to the elements that nourish you, be it friendships, faith, or something as beautifully simple as being a student yourself. Find a mentor, and in doing so become a mentor.
If there’s one reality worth exploring at rock bottom, it’s the clean slate we sit upon and the potential for what can be made of it. If anyone knows how to get someone going, it’s you, the fitness instructor. Focus on what gets you going. You’re stronger, wiser and more valuable than you’ll ever know. The trials will soon be overcome, but the lessons will be in your books and your teaching forevermore.