Your most important investment

Something that is often mentioned but frequently not given adequate attention is the importance of self-care and life balance. They are often afforded lip service, but in reality left well down the priority list. As October is Mental Health Month, it is as good a time as any to reflect on our own mental health; looking after our wellbeing is just as important as looking after our clients.

When we talk about investment, we are far more likely to think of ‘time equals money’ than time away from work. We invest in gym contracts or new equipment, marketing collateral and even clothes and shoes. But so many of us remain ignorant of the single most important investment we should make to be successful; ourselves.
It’s true, great trainers invest enormous energy and time building their client base and business. The energy required to motivate other people, the cornerstone of a trainers business, is significant and then time must be spent outside of sessions doing the all-important preparation work, and building skills and knowledge.
Then when a small business gains momentum it is very easy become caught in a snowball effect of saying yes to everything. It makes perfect sense as you are working hard to build something new and saying no goes against every instinct.

But there is a time to draw the line in the sand and ensure you are investing in your own well-being. The very best time to do this, and establish boundaries for yourself and your business is generally right at the beginning. But any time is the best time if you haven’t done so already. Of course you can and will need to be flexible. There will be periods of time, like any business where you need to do the extra work to establish yourself or build. There will also be times where you lose track of your self-care.

But don’t wait until you are burnt out and lost sight of your work-life balance to come to the realisation that without you and your energy the business doesn’t perform or even worse exist. Re adjust if you have lost track, or establish good practices to support your self-care now.

Some personal investment strategies to put in place:

  • Ensuring that you schedule your own regular training time
  • Schedule some flexible rest time as a weekly minimum (days or times may change but a set amount of time should be invested)
  • Eating good food and taking the time eat properly
  • SLEEP! This is crucial and frequently compromised
  • Budget weekly for holiday pay and time off
  • Communicate these policies to your clients from the start so that they are aware and you feel more comfortable taking that time
  • Try and schedule time off to coincide with times of the year where clients are more likely to be absent on holidays

There are some great organisations out there if you feel like things aren’t quite right and you could do with some additional support. Lifeline and beyondblue have a wide range of resources and 24-hour phone or email counselling services.