As a fitness professional, your job is dedicated to helping others reach their full potential. From personal training to facility management and wellness program development, the work you do helps people of all kinds get healthy – mentally and physically.
Now, it’s time to turn the tables and prioritize your wellbeing.
Between inconsistent direction from local authorities, lack of funding, and a new era of virtual fitness, it’s no secret that stress and uncertainty are mounting. It’s also no secret that more and more personal trainers are asking themselves, “How can I make my mental health a priority?”
How do you tackle stress when you’re living in “unprecedented” times? One way is to control the controllables, like your calendar. And Exercise.com can help with that. To learn more, book a demo today, and keep reading to see how you can prioritize your mental health during a pandemic.
Prioritizing Your Mental Health: An Overview
The CT Mirror profiled a local Hartford, Connecticut yoga studio reopening in June of 2020 and echoed the many reasons for this stress:
“Enhanced cleaning procedures. No renting towels to customers. Ensuring 12-foot spacing in the exercise room. When to require masks. Concerns about potential coronavirus liability lawsuits. Touchless payment interactions. Limited locker and changing facilities. Restricting the number of customers who can be inside the downtown Hartford studio at any one time.”
The thing is, if you want to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself first. Whether you’re open now, opening soon, or still unsure, refocus on prioritizing mental health within your daily life.
How to Improve Mental Health: Tune into Potential Symptoms
Why should mental health be prioritized? Well, stress is dangerous and can manifest both physically and mentally in many ways. The first step in tackling your stress is to recognize warning signs early and adjust accordingly. Some of the most common impacts to health can include, but are not limited to:
- Type 2 Diabetes: Constantly spiking blood sugar can contribute to Type 2 diabetes in those who are obese or genetically susceptible.
- Hypertension and Heart Disease: As your blood pressure rises while stressed, you increase your likelihood of chronic high blood pressure over time. Combined with an increased heart rate, these symptoms can lead to the development of heart disease and an eventual heart attack or stroke.
- Asthma: Harder breathing can trigger asthma attacks and is only exacerbated by those with a history of smoking or who live in an area with poor air quality.
- Depression: Our inability to cope with stressful situations can lead to depression or severe anxiety and panic attacks.
- Headaches: Regular stress may cause strong headaches, triggering chronic pain and migraine headaches.
- Digestion Issues: Stress can impact our body’s ability to absorb nutrients, in turn causing ulcers, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
This means keeping your stress in check may require a trip to the doctor or a virtual visit to make sure your levels are in a healthy place. Don’t forget to check in with yourself; have you been having headaches? How has your digestion been? Are you feeling extreme sadness? Are you struggling to breathe?
When you recognize the signs, you can start taking steps to address them.
Use What You Know to Prioritize Your Mental Health
You are aware of, and an expert on, the role that physical exercise and nutrition play in one’s ability to cope with stress. However, are you prescribing the same solutions to yourself as you are to your clients? You have a wealth of knowledge from work experience and many professionals at your fingertips to help guide your stress management.
Just as workout software programs can tailor workouts to specific individuals, your job now is to build yourself a stress protocol that involves both physical and mental health exercises. For example, perhaps you’ve been working out less because you’re trying to do more or managing the extra work that comes with hosting virtual fitness classes. It’s time to get back on track.
Focus on you. Build a program that you love; one that benefits your mind, body, and soul. For example:
● Monday: 60-minute workout, 10-minute yoga flow
● Tuesday: 10-minute meditation
● Wednesday: 60-minute Yin yoga flow
● Thursday: 10-minute meditation
● Friday: 60-minute workout, 10-minute meditation
Don’t forget to reach out to professionals within your network for suggestions on nutrition, mindset, and mental health. You have resources, you just have to tap into them.
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Take a Break (or a Deep Breath)
While a busy schedule or travel restrictions might keep you from taking a full vacation, finding moments of solitude and rest during the day can be a great way to minimize your feelings of anxiety or depression.
According to a recent North American workers survey, around 90 percent of North American employees believe that taking a midday break helps them feel refreshed and energized when returning to work.
If your schedule is jam-packed with meetings or client visits, re-think your calendar, which can be driving you to burn-out. Instead of booking back-to-back clients from 8 am to 5 pm, leave space for you to find your center, take a deep breath, and stretch your body.
Whatever you choose, make this time sacred. Hold yourself accountable for updating your calendar, leaving time for you, and giving yourself the adequate tools to manage stress.
Should I Put My Mental Health First?
There are many ways to reduce stress and anxiety, but it has to start with you prioritizing your mental health first and foremost. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of stress, update your calendar to create some downtime, and develop a protocol that helps you stay fit and healthy—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
If you notice that your anxiety’s side effects are becoming unmanageable, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Remember, every lifter needs a spotter!
And, at Exercise.com, we’ve made it a point to act as a fitness professional’s spotter with our business management software. Our software does the heavy lifting – admin tasks, scheduling, automated communications – so you can focus on what matters most: the health of your clients and yourself. Book a demo today to learn more.