Self Care and Burnout Prevention for Yoga Teachers
Imagine you are taking a flight and the air hostess explains that in the event of an emergency you must put your own oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else. I could never understand this. I would think to myself, "Why would I do that? Take care of myself before my loved ones, is she insane? She must've got it wrong."
I used to believe that my self care wasn't important, self care was selfish and a waste of time, even indulgent. I spent my time putting everyone's needs before mine. I didn't know how to say no, I didn't believe that I needed to look after myself.
When I took my first yoga teacher training I began to learn that to take care of myself first was the most important thing that I can do for other people. Yoga taught me to see the light in myself. In doing this I recognised the importance of my existence. I honour my body as the vehicle for my soul.
However, even with this understanding I've still suffered from 2 burnouts during my yoga career to date. The problem is that as a yoga teacher I am hard wired to serve other people, add into the mix my love for serving others and you have a recipe for disaster! I would consciously make time for myself only to give it up to someone else without a second thought because I wanted to help them.
Here's what I've learnt on my self care journey -
- Put on your oxygen mask first. We cannot look after someone else effectively if we haven't taken the time to take care of ourselves. Furthermore, we all have people who rely on us to look after them. If we aren't taking care of ourselves we are teaching everyone else around us to do the same thing. Lack of self care becomes the norm.
- Commit fully to at least one hour of self care a day. Block the time out in your calendar if it helps you to commit to the hour.
- The quality of self care is as equally important as the act. I can easily spend an hour practising asanas as my "daily self care", which is what I was doing when I suffered from my burnouts but I realised I was spending my time planning classes for my students and not actually focusing on myself.
- Ask your family to support you in taking at least one hour a day to dedicate to yourself, explain why it is important so that they know it is non negotiable.
- Vary your self care, I go for massages, I speak with my life coach, I read, I take long baths, I go for walks, I make myself my favourite tea and take time to drink it, I give myself little treats, how creative can you make your self care?
You could even aim to make every act one of self care by bringing mindful attention to your actions, as well as putting aside your hour a day.
How can you start to put in place to your own meaningful self care values and routine to prevent burnout? If you need any inspiration, book in for a coaching session with me as your self care act for today!