Let’s talk about an elephant in the room.
The big one with its backside in your face.
The one that you can’t miss, but trying to avoid looking at.
Group Exercise Instructor Mental Health.
It is an interesting situation because as an instructor, you are not physically alone, but often you may feel that there is no one in sight. No one who understands the challenges of teaching, dealing with participants and the effort required to be upbeat and positive every single day. I saw this quote online and it is certainly how I have felt in the past.
Emotionally: I’m done.
Mentally: I’m drained.
Spiritually: I’m dead.
Physically: I smile.
We work in an industry where the job description literally asks us to be a whole bunch of things, and there is an expectation (rightly so) that you are: Positive, Energetic, Loving, Optimistic, Intelligent, Confident, Happy, Relaxed, Fantastic, Cheerful, Masterful, Beautiful, Fun, Creative, Wonderful… and the list goes on and on. Yes, there are days that you are all these things and more, but what happens on the days when life goes sideways and conjuring up these aspects of your personality seems impossible? If you don’t have any strategies to get you back on track, this can be a downward spiral that can end up in burn out, leaving the industry or just coping, but not doing your best work.
4 Strategies that I would recommend
1. Seek an industry colleague that you trust
2. Find a mentor
3. Connect more regularly with other instructors – live workshops are the best opportunity to refuel and refill
4. Get counselling
There are also lots of other strategies, which My Group Move are discussing at length at the GX Day in the Inside and Out session (Adelaide 8th Sept 2019 and Perth 3rd November 2019), but the important thing is to organise something before the crash and burn begins to happen. Instructor mental health is so important, and it is ok to make it a priority.