On Sunday afternoon I taught three classes in a row. A double header of HIIT and Total Strength at the Y for my once-a-month rotation followed immediately by hot yoga. These Sundays are four hour marathons of teaching but always leave me feeling energized and remembering why I fell in love with group ex and teaching in the first place.
About 10 minutes into my yoga class at the studio, I realized that teaching was coming effortlessly to me on this day. Where I might sometimes struggle with fatigue or getting tripped up on my words, I instead felt really clear and present. The ideas came easily and the words just rolled off my tongue.
I thought about how one of my students recently shared that she loves coming to my Sunday afternoon class because she always knows I’ll be extra rested and fresh. And then I started thinking how my Saturday and Sunday classes always seem to gel in such a wonderful way.
A lightbulb went off.
I get 8+ hours of sleep on Friday and Saturday nights. The pace of my Saturdays and Sundays is usually about 100x more relaxed than my weekdays. When we took our first break for core work, I shared with them the small epiphany I just had.
I know sleep is important. I know rest is important. But I still let myself get by on 5-6 hours of sleep sometimes because I can. But when I really become aware of how much sleep and rest can impact my energy levels, emotional state, productivity and cognitive function…it’s pretty incredible and hard to ignore.
“Because I can” is not a road that leads to sustainability. “Because I can” is a road that leads to burnout and injury.
Many of you probably know this already but our bodies actually don’t get stronger when we’re working out. When we work out, we’re taxing our bodies and creating micro-tears in the muscles and tissues. It’s when we sleep and rest that our bodies can do the magic of healing, repairing and building back stronger.
So if all you ever do is push, push, push without a dial back, how can we ever expect to feel better?
I will totally admit that I’m a long way off from my “ideal schedule” but it’s something I’m taking small steps to work towards every day. I recently did a schedule overhaul where I gave up almost all of my PT clients (including my 5:30 a.m.) and adjusted my days so that I had long, uninterrupted gaps during the day where I could work and get things done around the house and personally. I also cut back on how much unnecessary scheduling I did that broke up my day and had me running all over town.
The result has been a big step in the right direction and left me feeling much more grounded and rested. A little more like I have my shit together, for lack of a better way to express it.
I still work a ton and I do want to get to a place where I don’t work 7 days a week and where I do have a better work/life balance. I want more family, friends and living in my life and it’s a goal that Tanner shares with me. We are taking steps every day to build our business to a place where we can take a bigger step back.
We live in a society that condones and glorifies busy and on-the-go lifestyles but where do we draw the line? There are always more items on the to-do list that could be checked off, there is always another run or trip to the gym that could be taken, there is always another social engagement that could be attended but if you never stop and say, “I AM DONE FOR RIGHT NOW, IT’S TIME FOR ME,” then where do we draw the line?
This is where I land.
LESS LABORING, MORE LIVING.
I shared this with my classes over Labor Day Weekend and I had several students approach me after class and share that they had planned to rush off to another workout after class but decided that what they had done on their mats was enough for the day. One student shared, “I swear…you’re in my head and talking directly to the voices.”
I rarely speak to my students about anything that I am not working on in my own life and this balance and self-care thing is one that stays at the top of the list. Our lives have seasons…there will be times where you are pushed and demands will be placed on you. During those I totally support digging your heels in and shifting into a higher gear. But we can’t stay there all the time. When you can ease off the gas, love those moments of coasting and even hitting the brakes completely.