How to Practice Self-Care When Your Job is to Care for Others
You built your business on caring for others. The work you do as a studio owner may provide healing to many– which is fantastic– but it can also take a lot of your energy. That’s the irony of a business that promotes self-care–– you often find that there’s little time to actually care for yourself.
Yoga teachers practice mindfulness but need to be mindful of their own health and sanity. We teach self-love yet burn the candle at both ends. Knowing what you know as a yoga practitioner, simply neglecting your own self-care in favor of helping others is not a healthy nor sustainable way to live. The same applies to your business.
So how do you continue to prioritize the care of others while not neglecting care for yourself? How do you take your own teachings on the mat and apply them off the mat? As with everything in yoga and in life, balance is key–– and we have nine tips to help you find a happy medium.
It’s hard not to open Instagram and see influential yogis with successful businesses somehow teaching every day of the week and maintaining awesome levels of energy. How on earth do they do it? How do you become like them?
Before you start lamenting why you aren’t like those yogis, stop. Comparing yourself to them isn’t doing you any favors. First of all, what the most “successful” yogis show on social media is not necessarily representative of what running a studio is really like. Second, that doesn’t even have to be you! There’s no one right way to run a successful yoga business.
So dump the “should’s” and, instead, accept that you’re on your unique path to success with your business.
Keep Up With Your Personal Practice
The more you teach in the studio, the more your own practice will change. You probably won’t practice as diligently as you used to and that’s okay. What does matter is that you continue your own practice. After all, your love for yoga is why you got into this business in the first place. If you don’t care for yourself in the same way you’re helping your students care for themselves, you become unbalanced. When it comes to yoga, you absolutely need to practice what you preach! One idea for helping you reinforce your practice is attending another teacher’s classes–– this will force you to surrender control and live in the moment.
Guard Your Energy
Your energy, like the hours in your day, is limited. The last thing you want is to burn yourself out to a point that you have to step away from your business. So be selective about what you choose to put your energy into. Consider what tasks you can delegate to someone else to preserve your energy. Then consider how to accomplish what’s on your plate in the most energy-efficient way possible.
Make Downtime a Part of Your Schedule
Downtime doesn’t mean that 10-minute break in between classes where you shove a granola bar into your mouth. It also doesn’t mean that 5 minutes in your car answering texts before you go inside. Downtime is intentional and should have nothing to do with work. It should make you slow down and give you an opportunity to rest and recharge.
If you’re struggling to find the time for legit downtime, it’s time to get serious about it. Schedule a block of downtime in your calendar to hold yourself accountable for the rest time you deserve.
Learn When to Say No
Running a business very often means saying yes. But eventually, you reach a point that you have to start saying no. That means it’s important to discern which opportunities are in alignment with you and your business and which aren’t. It’s not an easy task, but it’s a necessary one––to keep your best interest, your staff’s best interest, and your sanity.
Consider that sometimes saying no to an opportunity can mean you’re opening yourself up to a much better opportunity–– one that you would not be able to say yes to unless you say no to another opportunity! Knowing when to say no is a learning curve, and what may be a “yes” for the yogi down the road from you may be a “no” for you.
Set Boundaries with Email & Social Media
In the era of smartphones, it can be hard to separate yourself entirely from your work. As the emails, messages, and comments come in, you may feel compelled to respond right away. But you’re not obligated to do so, and in fact, it’s best for your sanity if you don’t. In order to get away from your impulse to engage, you need to set some boundaries with your phone and computer as it relates to work. Be sure to also hold yourself accountable to these boundaries by writing them down somewhere. Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success.
Here are some suggestions:
Determine what an ideal day of communication looks like for you
Set a time to stop checking email and social at night, and a time to start checking again in the morning
Set a timeframe for your colleagues within which you can be expected to respond to messages (24 hours? 48 hours?)
Specify how you prefer to be contacted (email? Text? DM?)
Regularly Revisit the Reasons Why You Love Yoga
After months or years in business, the daily grind may cause you to lose some of your previously strong connections with yoga. That makes it more difficult to teach yoga and, even worse, can cause you to grow dissatisfied. Beginning to lose sight of your “why” for yoga is a red flag and should cue you to rekindle your love for it.
Ask yourself why you started doing yoga in the first place. Ask yourself why you started teaching. How does yoga make you feel? How does teaching yoga make you feel? Answering these questions honestly will help breathe energy back into your practice and fully show up for yourself and your students.
Re-evaluate Your Self-Care Every So Often
In your business, re-evaluation of your systems and practices is key to making improvements and adjustments that propel you toward success. The same applies to your self-care practice. It can be easy to “set it and forget it” when it comes to creating routines. Setting the intention to touch back in with your self-care routine is the healthiest way to keep up with your self-care.
Take the time every few months or every year to evaluate how well you’re taking care of yourself along with how you’re running your business. You and your business are ever-evolving, so it’s important to adapt your practices as you evolve.
Don’t skimp when it comes to taking care of yourself. After all, YOU are the heart of your business and you need to keep that heart healthy. Like with anything in life, balance is key. When you find that balance between caring for yourself and caring for others, you create a base on which to healthily grow.