“How did you get over feeling anxious before teaching?”
Can I loop you in on a secret? I’ve been teaching for over a decade and I still get incredibly nervous sometimes before teaching. Teaching fitness classes is essentially the ultimate form of public speaking. Not only are you speaking in front of a group of people, you often have to demo different exercises for you visual learners.
It comes in waves but my Anxiety likes to turn little things that make me nervous into opportunities for things to go terribly wrong, at least in my head. This usually presents itself as self-doubt and worry spirals before teaching a class or meeting a new client. My already anxious mind often goes into a spiral before class, triggering self-doubt and that all too familiar imposter syndrome. And as an introvert that was always labeled “the quiet one” growing up, getting used to leading group exercise classes was super intimidating for me.
Many other instructors, new ones and seasoned teachers alike, also face these pre-class jitters, so I wanted to share some simple techniques that helped me tremendously to calm my nerves before walking into the studio or in the break room before class.
How do I get through it?
1) I breathe, because picking something simple to focus on, like my breath, is how I can put a stop to that worry spiral 🌀
2) I use the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. When you become aware of your mind racing or worry creeping in, use this simple grounding technique to bring yourself back to the present moment.
Look around and find…
5 things you can see 👁
4 things you can feel 🖐
3 things you can hear 👂
2 things you can smell 👃
1 thing you can taste 👅
Check back in with your breath and allow your mind to be as busy as it needs to be in this moment.
3) I try to be compassionate towards myself. I know that shaming myself when I am in a state of fear (because let’s face it, worrying about what other’s think of me stems from a larger fear of not being enough), is not how I guide myself out of it. What does help me shift out of self-doubt, is if I can remember my role as an instructor.
My role is to be there for THEM, my students. This is the little section of their day where they get to workout, but it might also be the only time of day where they get to hear from someone else how strong they are, how incredible they are doing.
Focusing on what I can do to help them, to make sure they are SEEN as soon as they step into my class, to make sure they feel supported and know how proud I am of them, those are all things I have control over. Because what other’s think of me is something I will never have control over.
Bottom line? A little doubt might still be there but that’s okay. You can acknowledge these worries as your mind trying to be a friend and give you a heads up that this is something important that you really care about. And know that you can still teach an awesome class even with a little anxiety.
You got this!