Aerial Instructors’ Guide to Preventing Burnout: Key Questions & Strategies

Teaching aerial arts is gratifying, creative, and joyful. I’ve never been more engaged and fulfilled with any teaching position. However, it IS very physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging work!

There is a definite risk of burnout if careful steps are not taking to take care of yourself. Teachers are often people who look out for the collective and aim to help others, sometimes at their own expense. However, when your own vitality suffers, so does that of your students, by default. How you care for yourself affects how you show up in class. This can affect not only the vibe, but also safety!

(Not sure if you’re burned out? Check out these signs of burnout. )

Bringing in the patriarchal principle of individual success and the matriarchal principle of slowing down and caring for the body can be really helpful. Let’s look at some questions you can ask and some ways to prevent and reverse burnout.

1. Evaluate Your Teaching Schedule:

If you are sensing signs of burnout, take a step back and evaluate your teaching schedule. Is it sustainable in the long run, or are you overloading yourself? Consider the following. Take a critical look at your teaching commitments. Are there classes or tasks that can be dropped or delegated? Remember that quality matters more than quantity.

2. Reduce Physical Demand in Class:

Consider these strategies to reduce the physical demand in your classes:

  • Demoing: Evaluate how much you’re personally demonstrating. Instead of doing everything yourself, can you rely more on your students to show skills? Not only does this give you more rest, but it also allows your students to see a skill on a different body type than yours. You can also focus on providing clear verbal instructions while the student demos.
  • Grip Aid: Even if you feel like you “don’t need it,” take advantage of grip aids to reduce the strain on your hands, wrists, and forearms during demonstrations. This simple addition can make a significant difference in preserving your physical well-being. If you live in an arid climate, also use water to spray down the fabric for natural grip enhancement (works wonders).
  • Switching Sides: When you do demonstrate, remember to switch sides regularly to distribute the physical load evenly. This prevents overuse of specific muscles and joints, and helps you become better at your bad side!


3. Audit Your Self-Care Practices:

Aerial instruction is physically demanding, and you must prioritize self-care to stay in top shape mentally and physically. Perform a self-care audit to see if you’re adequately caring for yourself in the following areas:

  • Hydration: Are you drinking enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated, especially during physically demanding classes? I now drink electrolytes every day and there’s no turning back for me!
  • Nutrition: Are you fueling your body with a balanced diet that provides the energy you need to teach effectively? I use protein powder to make sure I get enough calories at the beginning of the day – check out these recipes!
  • Sleep: Are you getting enough restorative sleep to recover from your physical exertion and maintain mental clarity? If not, is there anything you can shift to get a few more hours? Being well-rested not only helps you feel better, but it makes you more alert which allows you to hold a safer class for your students.
  • Stretching: Incorporate regular gentle stretching routines to prevent injuries and maintain flexibility. Join us virtually on Sundays for restorative if you like!
  • Stress Management: Implement stress-reduction techniques like meditation and/or deep breathing exercises to manage the pressures of teaching. This is good for your own well-being and also allows you to show up better for your students. I’ve established a 30+ minute meditation practice for myself at the beginning of the day, and it has been incredibly supportive of my overall well-being and my ability to think of ideas for my business!

As an aerial instructor, your dedication to your craft is admirable and much appreciated by your community. AND, your well-being matters. It’s vital to ensure that your teaching career remains sustainable and fulfilling, and that your mental and physical health do not deteriorate as a result of your workload.

By evaluating your teaching schedule, conducting a self-care audit, and implementing strategies to reduce physical demands in class, you’ll not only prevent burnout but also continue to inspire and empower your students effectively. You can integrate patriarchal principles of individual success and discernment, and matriarchal principles of self care and long-term visioning.

Remember that your well-being is paramount, and by taking these steps, you’ll be better equipped to share the beauty and excitement of aerial arts for years to come.

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