Last year I overdid it. Teaching class 4-5 times a week takes a toll on your body. Everyone knows that, right? Not me. The more exhausted I felt, the harder I pushed. Workouts in the 9AM caribbean sun? My treat. Workouts on my period? Love it. Then came October and my body was aching for a break. I then proceded to create a 250+ person event (never mind I had already done one in August) where I had to set up every tent, table and decoration with these beautiful hands of mine, then went and hosted two women empowerment retreats back to back. Needless to say, December came and I was burnt out. Thankfully, I knew I would be exhausted and planned a trip to Colombia months prior where I disconnected to connect (don't mind the cliché), but even here I didn't rest as much because we were sightseeing all day and I wanted to visit different workout studios in Bogotá (sorry not sorry). I took a 10 day intensive all-you-can-see Colombia trip, return to Puerto Rico and fast forward three weeks into January and I haven't worked out. Yep, you read it right. A fitness instructor hasn't worked out for 3 weeks. And *surprisingly* I haven't died or fallen into deep depression. I am still myself. Why am I telling you this?
Because this is how I had to start my year to get into the mindset of
working with my body, not against it.
Perhaps you're thinking, "Paula, but the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of exercise three times per week." Yeah, but in order for me to set the 2020 mood and calm the fuck down, I needed this workout quarantine.
I am in no way recommending to not workout for three weeks. I'm just sharing my experience. How does a workout addict feel after not getting a fix for three weeks? More importantly, why don't I shift my perspective and ask myself: How does my body feel after some much needed rest? This is the grand lesson. I went from seeing these three weeks as torture to acknowledging my hard work and deserving my mental, physical and spiritual rebirth.
The million dollar question is:
How can I be of service to others if I'm always burnt out?
At the end of the day, we deliver, regardless of our mental state. When I did the event back in October, I worked for three days under the sun + ran the show, entertainment, spoke to everyone at the event, and had a smile on my face all night long.
However, is this how I want to live? Having to fake smiles and hiding my exhaustion? Of course not. I don't think anyone deserves to live like this & if I'm in the business of ~serving~giving~and always pouring out energy ~ my cup needs to be full at all times & when it empties out, take some time off and fill it up again.
Measures I'm taking to prevent burnout & work with my body:
1. I'm not teaching weekly classes anymore
2. I'm only working out when I feel the energy (given that I always have energy, this is going to be a hard one for me)
3. Allocate an hour a day to read or write in my bed, or in my hammock. Doing near to nothing.
4. Respecting my sleep- because I'm a freelancer, I can choose what time I wake up & I am no longer setting 6AM alarm clocks (unless it's strictly necessary). Now I am waking up at 8,9AM- no regrets whatsoever.
5. Caffeine every other day - this includes caffeinated tea as well.
This is trial and error for me and very much out of my comfort zone. Stay tuned to see how my year goes!