I’ve just logged off from yet another online call. Zoom fatigue is becoming more widespread due to the fact that we’ve all been so reliant on this medium for over a year now. I read recently that Eric Yuan, the entrepreneur who founded Zoom, said that even he is getting tired of attending zoom meetings!
For me though, the thing about zoom meetings was never the multitude of them, but how they initially made me feel. Having a wall of faces staring at me as well as my own face staring at me. This plus the etiquette of each individual meeting would send me into a tail spin of anxiety. I’d feel super self-conscious about being so visible, although in reality it’s well known that everyone on the call is mostly looking at themselves!
I would hate waiting for my turn to come around to speak as most meetings would go round in turn. It would mean that I couldn’t focus on what others were saying as I was worrying about what I was going to say. I’d be desperately waiting to just get my turn to speak out of the way. In those busy meetings where I may not get an opportunity to speak until near the end of the meeting, the sensation of unease whilst waiting my turn became almost unbearable.
Zoom calls couldn’t be avoided as it was how the world was communicating and was vital for my business, so I knew I had to do something to alleviate my anxiety. As a Pilates teacher people always say “oh you must be so fit as you do Pilates all day long”. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. My role is to make sure my clients are doing Pilates! Of course I demonstrate exercises, but mostly I’m explaining how to do the exercise properly and watching my clients move so that I can correct any mistakes.
We, as teachers, spend a lot of time instructing others how to do Pilates but can often find it hard to fit in our own practice. Knowing how beneficial Pilates can be in helping to calm the mind and to find focus and relaxation I knew it could help with my anxiety.
When we feel anxious, our amygdala, which is the deep emotional part of our brain becomes very sensitive and starts sending out lots of alerts. It’s a bit like an oversensitive car alarm that keeps going off. This can cause us to feel restless and tense with racing hearts and sweaty palms.
Movement can have a therapeutic effect as it triggers the release of hormones which regulate our mood. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers and they create feelings of pleasure. Dopamine is also a pleasure hormone. Serotonin is a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood and Oxytocin reduces stress by lowering cortisol levels, which makes us feel happy and calm.
On top of this, Pilates compels you to focus inwards for the duration of the workout by concentrating on the detail, form and execution of each exercise. This inward focus allows the mind to switch off from its stress and worry. (see my earlier blog for more about this process)..
Knowing all this I committed to carving out time for my own Pilates practice and very quickly started to feel the benefits. Just ten minutes of practice before a zoom call would make all the difference to my concentration and sense of ease throughout the meeting. It felt great to not only be practising what I preach. but also to be feeling the mental and physical health benefits of my routine practice.
If you would like to discover the benefits of Pilates for yourself book your class here.