To celebrate National Work Life Week (22nd – 26th September), we'd like to talk about work/life balance when you're in a vocational career. What's realistic, and how can you achieve it?
We firmly believe that everyone should do what they love, and love what they do. And yes, that goes for work as well as leisure. That's why we offer educational courses to help people pursue their passions and skills in life. But does a vocational career make it more difficult to switch off and achieve work/life balance?
On the one hand, working in a vocation career is wonderful. You're pursuing your passion, using your skills, and learning more about the things which truly inspire you. It doesn't feel like work and study, because you're on the path to your life's true calling. This is particularly true for the sport, fitness and wellness sectors. Personal Trainers get into the industry because they love helping people get stronger, fitter and healthier. People who want to become PTs can't imagine doing anything else.
When you study and work at something you love, it's hard to switch off. Personal Trainers who are self-employed, who run their own studios, or who become mobile PTs are particularly at risk of this work/life imbalance.
Are there positives to merging your life and your work? How can you manage this to avoid burn-out?
Know when to switch off
Whether you work in a gym, or run your own Personal Training business, chances are you find it difficult to switch work-mode off and turn personal-mode on. In fact, do you even know the difference any more? Make sure you know when to switch off. Know your own red flags which signal exhaustion, lack of concentration, and loss of motivation. Take a break.
This is particularly useful for Personal Trainers who are self-employed, mobile, or run their own facility. You must set boundaries between work time and home/personal time. If you work from home, create an office space so work doesn't encroach on the entire house. Try not to fall into habits, such as checking emails and messages from your phone in bed. Create routine, boundaries and clear-cut separation between work, family and leisure (even your own gym training).
Have interests outside the industry
We totally understand - you love fitness, sport, health and nutrition. That's why you're pursuing a career in Personal Training. But it will help your longevity in the industry if you foster interests outside of fitness, too; reading, films, perhaps a course of study about something totally unrelated to fitness. Just make sure you carve out a little time in your life to nurture your other skills and social circles.
Prioritise rest and sleep
Even the most powerful PT can't burn the candle at both ends for too long! You know better than anyone about the importance of good quality, consistent sleep on recovery, hormone balance, stress management and even healthy body composition. So make an effort not to work too late, to get to bed at a reasonable time, to leave phone and tablet devices out of the bedroom, and to prioritise stress management techniques. It'll help you be more successful in the Personal Training industry.