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What being a Freelance Pilates Instructor during Lockdown has taught me

As we hope that ‘Freedom Day’ will come soon, and we begin to adjust to a ‘new normal’ for now, it’s been intriguing to learn about what has made me tick during ‘COVID Times’. I thought I would share my experience in the hope that it will bring comfort to any other fitness professional who experienced conflicted emotions with our new-found reliance on online teaching.

As we went through each lockdown, I couldn’t help but think about the:  

  • The things I have missed
  • What I have needed
  • What have I learnt?  

Lockdown in the UK

In the UK, we’ve experienced three lockdowns. The last of which we’re waiting to fully come out of – fingers crossed! Particularly at the start of the pandemic, it’s been full pelt being swept along with the momentum of ‘social media madness’. As a parent, I was also thrown into supporting my children’s school home learning. I had to work out how to use the school technology and with two children at different schools, that meant two different systems.  

This was a huge learning curve, as I’m someone who has grown up without being taught about technology (we didn’t have computers in Devon in the 1980s) and I’m not competent at all with computers, apps and all the things the children have relied on for their distance learning this year.  

Moving Business Online

Meanwhile, the world went crazy for TikToks and – my family included – seemed to upload their dance routine for all to see. I think there was a sense of hysteria. Whether it was showcasing a more ‘cottagecore’ lifestyle of home baking and a simpler way of life, or whether it was documenting everything on social media as a way to stay connected. Overnight, it seemed fitness professional were giving away all of their content for free as a way to boost our wellbeing, which made it tricky for everyone else to make a living out of their work. 

It was novel, the sun was shining, and despite a few negatives, we’d been given an opportunity to bond with our families, stay safe and remain virtually connected. 

However, my business and Pilates classes went on to Zoom which for a complete technophobe was extremely challenging for me. But there was a need to keep connected, a need to keep the business afloat, and a need to retain my customers.  

As time went on, I learnt that I often felt a pressure to ‘keep up with competitors’ and to try and ‘stay in the race’. I noticed this brought with it undesirable emotions and this is where my love/hate relationship with social media lies.

I love the fact it gives us an amazing opportunity to stay connected but here’s my confession: I also notice it heightens my anxieties around my own self-worth too. I’ve had to learn when to use it and when to stop scrolling. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with my own offering and not be compelled to compete with others in my industry. There’s room for us all out there, and we will always attract our own customers who like us for us.

What have I learnt?

From a business perspective, the overall positive I’ve learnt is that I am no longer that Instructor who teaches spin and HIIT classes. I can proudly say I am the Holistic Instructor who now adores Pilates, Yoga and Restorative movement. I’ve focused on my niche and this makes it clearer to attract my target audience, and for them to invest in their training with me.

I think there’s still a common belief that Holistic classes will leave you feeling relaxed, destressed and sleepy. 

Well, yes, they do! But that stress relief and the mindfulness is by far the biggest energiser that I feel from any classes that I’ve ever taught.  They leave me feeling lifted, and ready to embrace my day so I can confidently say that holistic training is where I get my energy from – yes, energy! 

I have noticed that with the Lockdowns, the pressures and stresses of parenting, home schooling and keeping everything afloat has been a challenge like no other.  A challenge that has taken every ounce of energy from me. So much so, for me, there has been no energy left to do a spin session, go for a run, lift those weights. While this may have been a concern for me before, I now find this clarity of knowing what is right for me is empowering.

My body has quite simply said NO THANK YOU to those.  I’ve learnt to listen to my body, adapt to its needs and right now I’m an unapologetic Holistic Junkie. And I love it. 

It’s been great to identify what really fuels my passion for life. Quite simply give me pilates, family and friends and I’m happy… oh and maybe a glass of Prosecco, too!

As I mature it’s great to identify what fuels me and what drains me.  What energises me and what zaps me.

My mantra and gift to you is ‘Do ONLY what you love! – whatever that might be.”

 

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