“The Power of Pause” is a popular catchphrase used from Harvard Review to TedTalks to speechwriters and to business coaches. Pauses have a powerful effect - imagine no punctuation in writing, no rest in music or no pauses in a speech. It would be dull, confusing, and its message or art would be lost. Taking a pause in one’s life and business has the same effect. Just as a good Pilates practice involves recovery and rest to build strength, we need to apply this practice to the rest of our lives.
The world isn’t slowing down anytime soon and the constant pace of 'go, go, go' is unsustainable. Giving yourself permission to stop or pause is an essential part of self-care. You cannot truly rejuvenate or be inspired physically, mentally, and emotionally, especially in the long term, if you never slow down or “stop and smell the flowers.” In order for your business to move forward or take the next step, you must return to your 'why' and your vision. How can you do that if you’re constantly on the go? Pausing gives you space and time to reflect on what is, where you want to go next while taking a moment to appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come so that you can reassess, reset, and move forward.
For a Pilates teacher, the telltale signs of burnout include constant overwhelm, stress, fatigue, and resistance to things that used to bring joy, such as your own practice or teaching. Ideally, regularly scheduled pauses will prevent burnout.
Whether this means taking an extended period of time off, a short getaway or daily breaks is up to the individual. You’ll want to assess and experiment with what works best for your lifestyle, budget, and personal life. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
There isn't a 'cookie-cutter’ quick fix. How you pause will be up to you. Journaling, meditation, sleeping an extra 20 minutes, going to the spa or anything you might think of can all be considered. The bottom line is to find an approach that calms your nervous system by giving it the opportunity to rebalance. For some, it could mean having a daily meditation practice or walk, or it could mean taking two months off from work. This applies to your personal life in addition to your business life. Once one aspect of your life has renewal and clarity, the other parts of your life will be influenced positively as well.
Let’s face it, for the majority of us, if it’s not blocked out in our schedule - it’s not going to happen. It’s easy to get caught up in just about anything and it’s usually the concerns of others instead of our own desires (hence why breaks are necessary).
Scheduling can happen on a yearly, monthly, weekly, and/or daily basis depending on your needs and goals. For instance, you may consider blocking off a weekend every 4 months to work ON your business and not IN your business. Taking some time to reflect on what’s working, what requires attention, deciding if it's congruent with your current values or even to sit back and appreciate what you’ve achieved is extremely beneficial.
Pausing before class reminds you of your mission and your 'why,' which renews your energy and enables you to present your best self from a grounded place.
Unfortunately, too many Pilates teachers are living paycheck to paycheck which equates to burnout as well as a resistance to taking a pause.
How can one take a half-day, weekend or longer to pause when they can barely pay their bills?
And guess what? In that predicament, a pause is even more of a necessity!
Taking the time to reevaluate business goals, values, and finances can propel you forward with clarity so that you can build long term stability. Check out Pilates it’s Your Business and Becoming: The Secrets to Thriving as a Teacher for additional ideas and inspiration.
Ideally, every Pilates teacher should have an emergency fund (at least a minimum of 3 months worth of expenses, but 6 months is much better), regularly contribute to a retirement fund, and a savings account for continuing education (and breaks). If you don’t already have any of these, it’s okay, you can start one now. Open a separate high-interest savings account with no monthly fees and start small, even if it’s only $5 or $10 per week. Time and consistency are your friends and you’ll see that it will add up and bring you a sense of relief, stability, and ultimately freedom. Once you’ve established a safety net, whenever you need a longer pause, your finances will not be the deciding factor.
Also, training your clients to be open to working with other teachers, to do their homework or to schedule additional sessions before and after any prolonged breaks will keep your clients on track, your finances in order, and keep yourself guilt-free from the notion of ‘abandoning’ them.
If you’re burnt out and dreading your Pilates practice or teaching, should you pause your practice?
Sometimes stepping away for a bit can bring you back with more vigor and inspiration. On the other hand, maintaining your Pilates practice encourages resiliency and maintains a foundation. Engaging in the practice from a different perspective may be the answer to a newfound inspiration. Enrolling in a class you wouldn’t normally consider or a different style or teacher could also widen your perspective and bring you back to your Pilates roots!
Taking a pause on a regular basis is essential to the longevity of your Pilates career and lifestyle. We know that stress is the number one factor in the prelude to disease, so pausing to enjoy, reflect, assess, and then continuing on in our journies can propel us forward in our personal and business lives. The wonders of where it could take you may stretch beyond your imagination!
We’d love to read your thoughts and takeaways, please share your stories and ideas about taking a pause in the comments below!
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