Self-care in the life of a trainer – how to avoid burnout

Bartosz Krupa

You became a trainer because you wanted to change something, wanted to share knowledge and skills with other people, wanted to see a flash of understanding on the faces of others. It was your conscious choice, you dedicated your whole life to passion. This passion makes you good at what you do, but it also often leads to burnout.

Avoiding burnout is one of the reasons why the trainer’s self-care is so important. It is about keeping a balance between your work and private life. The sooner you understand it, the better. The fact that you take care of yourself is nothing wrong and, makes you a better trainer or educator.

Self-care is very important, and unfortunately underestimated by many trainers, especially young ones who are just starting their career and think that through their commitment they will make the world a better place to live. They forget that a tired trainer, both physically and mentally, is a bad trainer.

Lack of awareness of your own stress or fatigue can lead to an internal conflict that generates conflicts at work. And so little needs to be done.

How to apply self-care in the life of a trainer? Here is a list of ten things that create a self-care routine for trainers:

The three Kings.

Find at least three activities that help you overcome stress. Those that you do for pleasure and those you find joyful. Dedicate at least 60 minutes per week and practice them systematically. Such a routine will allow you to release stress, and thus, reduce the risk of a burnout.

A miracle of a five-minute-break.

Take a five-minute-break every hour during your work. Research shows that such a break can do wonders. It will make you more efficient and focused.

Draw the thick line between your work and life.

What are your working hours? What time do you rest? Do you remember the three rhythms closed in 24 hours of our day? Divide it into periods when you work, live your own life and rest. Don’t work 24 hours a day. To do so, decide how many hours you want to work and most of all what time you want to finish your work during a day. It will keep you motivated and focused and less resilient to distractions coming during the day.

Photo by Gustavo Torres on Unsplash

Have a regular check-up.

Physical health is very important in the work of the trainer. Remember that this is highly demanding activity – you interact with people, expose yourself to  constant evaluation and critic. When was the last time you went to the doctor? When did you have your last check-up?

Tame your stress.

Learn what the first signs of your stress look like. It might be an increased heart rate, lack of appetite, fatigue or nervousness – if you notice them, it is a sign that stress has overcome you. Treat it like an old friend who came by with an unexpected visit. Sit your stress in an armchair, serve some tea and ask what brings it to you. Learn relaxation techniques that will help you reduce tension and be an attentive observer of yourself.


Treat the exercises as a way to release strong or difficult emotions. Regular physical exercises allow you to tackle with difficult emotions and frustration. Let your body move – run, swim, dance, walk. It will be grateful for what you do!

Small pleasures.

Small pleasures have never hurt anyone. Eat a piece of chocolate, read a book, take a hot bath. Enjoy the nice moments in life. If we treat someone well, he is usually friendly to us.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Learn relaxation techniques that will help you reduce tension and become an attentive observer of yourself.

Surround yourself with supportive people.

Remember – family and friends are important. They create the atmosphere in which you can relax and fill up the tanks for further work.

Positive morning.

Remember that the way you start your day, will influence the whole day. It can be a meditation, a conversation with your partner, slowly drunk coffee or sending a smile to your child. It will set the mood for the whole day.

Talisman of happiness.

Keep something on your desk or in pocket that will help you overcome the first symptoms of stress – an anti-stress ball, a notebook with inspiring quotes, a protein bar.

All these rules must become your habits. The habits that create the quality of our lives. What you do regularly is more important than what you do occasionally. Following the self-care routine we created for the trainers will help you stay motivated, healthy and effective.

Remember – if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others.

This article is the result of ELEVATE project, implemented by Development Support Foundation Innovator.

Project is co-financed by the European Union under Erasmus + Programme. (KA1 – Learning mobility of individuals, Mobility of adult education staff, Agreement no. 2018-1-PL01-KA104-049658).

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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