The predicament we find ourselves in is a testament to the resourcefulness of some and the panic of many. One of the reasons that this forced self-isolation has been so challenging is because it was so abrupt -- there was no time for you to transition your business model or ease into winding down. It's easier said than done when using this opportunity to slow down, enjoy other aspects of life and catch up on unfinished projects when you feel responsible for clients, employees, have bills to pay, and for many, children to entertain and care for 24/7. On top of that, you've been thrown out of your comfort zone to figure out how to convince yourself and clients to move online.
Every person in every industry in the world is being affected by Covid-19 and the hard truth is that it's not going away anytime soon -- we have a road ahead of us and it will take time to get back on our feet. It will take time for travel, tourism, the medical system, and the economy to recover.
So what can we do about it? For ourselves, our loved ones, our communities? How can we make the most of this situation?
Within the Pilates community, we've seen an incredible outreach to support and uplift each other through advice, shared resources, and forums. We’ve lent or had an ear to ask questions and share our fears, overwhelm, and triumphs.
Here are some ideas to consider during this time:
Recognize what is and isn’t within your control.
We cannot control how long social distancing will last or clients that are adamantly against virtual classes (at least short term), other people's opinions or a saturated market.
We CAN control our reactions, our focus, and striving for optimal health.
It's fair to say that the majority of us went into panic mode. It’s okay; to deny this reaction is to deny our human nature. The key is not to dwell there. Going forward means accepting this new reality and focusing on measures that can help your life and business.
Striving for optimal health is absolutely within our control. Daily bouts of fresh air, exercise, relaxation, hydration, and stress reduction are vital for the immune system. Taking care of yourself enables you to care for others and handle obstacles as they arise.
There is a lot of information out there -- some of it is useful but most of it doesn’t pertain to you or is regurgitated information. It’s very easy to get caught up in all of the resources and free classes available or compare yourself to every movement teacher going online. It’s best to filter in only what YOU need to hear and see. Create a tribe or list of go-to resources, keep it selective and relevant - let go of the rest.
Let’s face it, we have been granted a gift of time. We are always saying there is never enough time for it all; our full practice, our loved ones, our business, or creative endeavors. Now there is, so use it. You may need to get creative, especially if you have young children but ‘limitation creates manifestation.’ You’d be surprised at what you can come up with. This is the best time to Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp all of your family and friends, especially the ones that are normally too busy!
You can catch up on books, unfinished courses, learn a language, or take advantage of free Ivy league courses. There are a lot of excellent resources out there, just remember to filter through them and cultivate only what really speaks to you!
Sleep! Too many Pilates instructors suffer from chronic burnout and there has never been a better time to take care of yourself by catching up on sleep or rest. A well-rested mind and body will aid your immune system and enhance your capacity for remaining calm during these uncertain times.
This is an excellent opportunity to reassess your business and look towards the future. Perhaps your website needs to be updated. Or maybe you want to start blogging, researching SEO’s, brainstorming newsletter topics, or marketing for future events.
Take the time to look at your business and analyze what is and isn’t working (you were too busy working before to notice). Have the effects of Covid-19 made you question your business model? Your offerings? Your pricing? Or your target market?
If you’re financially in a tight spot due to Covid-19, going forward, what could you do differently? What other skills can you utilize to support yourself and your business?
Once you’ve assessed, the next step is to plan ahead for the short and long term. What can you do currently to serve your clients and keep earning money? Can you get creative with your new online offerings? Planning for when studios eventually reopen, how could you incorporate online with in-person teaching?
Perhaps this is a time to learn a new skill or expand upon another talent. If Covid-19 has left you in a dire situation financially, emotionally or mentally, what systems or arrangements can you start putting in place so you’re a bit more comfortable when life throws you a curveball.
Pilates professionals are some of the hardest working individuals out there. Having our world shaken up, asking for help, and for some of us, feeling alone can wreak havoc on our morale. As teachers, we are there to serve those around us, yet we also must be able to ask for help and accept it. Take the time to research, ask and find out about any government, corporate or community resources that can assist you during this time. Talk to your clients, employees, your landlord or tenants and your banks for extensions, subsidies and/or to waive fees. Flex your creative muscles for ‘out of the box’ ideas to keep working, bartering or pooling resources with other local businesses.
Limit the amount of time you spend on social media and watching the news, it will only keep you in a state of fear, in a comparison trap, and it can hurt your eyes. Time is better spent on more positive things. Do get fresh air. If you’re in a congested area at least having the windows open will help. Incorporating a breathing practice will do wonders for your respiratory, immune and nervous systems as well as your mental health.
Some Pilates teachers are using this time to take a pause. They have chosen not to teach any classes online but rather take a break to focus on family, themselves or their business and take it one day at a time. Teachers in a stable position are paying it forward and helping out their colleagues in a variety of ways.
Looking at your life and business as a result of this situation may bring up a lot of questions, self-reflection, or new ideas that may seem scary and may lead you in a different direction. It could be anything from wanting to downsize, wanting to teach less or more, expanding your life in a new way, better preparation for the future or simply taking a pause. The important thing is to take your time (which we have now) to listen to yourself, then to brainstorm and plan and be ready to take action.
The good news is that WE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS and Pilates will pass the test of time. After a prolonged period of social distancing, people will be eager to be around others, go out and move under the watchful expertise of great Pilates teachers.
For links to resources check out Jared Kaplan's live webinar.
For more info/inspiration/ideas check out PilatesAnytime.com/Live.
We as Pilates professionals know how vital our work is when Covid-19 comes to a point where it’s under control, our medical health responders will need our help. After SARS, 20% (globally) of infected cases were from health responders and a high majority of medical health responders suffered from burn-out, depression, and PTSD. As you’re planning for the future you may want to consider proposals to your local hospitals and/or government grants for teaching medical health responders.