We’re excited to host guest author, Kate Rowe of BeachFit Baltimore, for this post!

Too often we care for others before caring for ourselves. As busy instructors or studio owners, there are often deadlines to meet, people to please and money to be made. However, finding the time to care for yourself will ultimately make you a better instructor (and human being). As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Self care isn’t a new idea, but it is one that we are constantly working on. It won’t be easy — changing your behavior never is. But as you likely tell your clients daily, it’s worth it. Here are five tips to help add self care to your everyday vocabulary.

Every time you remind your students to drink more water or make healthy food choices, take it to heart. You know all eyes are on you during your class, but remember they are also watching you outside of class. Setting a good example doesn’t have a timer associated with it. Making good choices will not only help you stay healthier and perform better, but it will also elevate your reputation in the eyes of your fitness community.

We learn from an early age that “no” is bad and “yes” is good. However, no is an incredibly important word in your vocabulary. When you’re asked to substitute for classes or even to add a class to the schedule, remember that you can say no. While it’s important to support your studio and yourself financially, you need to know your limits. Too many times instructors take on more than they can handle and, in the end, it dilutes their abilities to be creative, pay attention to details, and really offer a stellar experience.

As instructors, we’re almost always amped up. It’s good to be excited and energetic, but you can’t go 100% all the time. Find ways to get back to your calm baseline. This could be as easy as taking a walk or shower, practicing breathing exercises or calling a friend. Find the things that bring your heart rate down, so you can more readily access them when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. As an added benefit, you’ll also be able to better provide help to your students looking for their own ways to calm down.

Running from work to class? Class to another class? Third class in a row for the day? In today’s world, it’s the norm to be on the go, which means making healthy choices gets even harder. Stockpiling healthy snacks, and even meals, at different locations will make your day that much easier (and often, more affordable). No more buying a quick healthy-enough muffin from behind the counter. Make it a habit to store healthy bars, trail mix or fresh fruit in your gym bag, office, car, locker, etc. Recognize when you have a busy day or week and have these items readily available so you’re set up to succeed, not fail.

You can’t demonstrate a burpee with a damaged muscle, can you? Make time to care for your body in the most basic way by stretching regularly. Improved flexibility, circulation and stamina will help you better perform through the day and will decrease your risk of injury. This keeps you at the top of your game and helps you truly give your clients their money’s worth.