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My Favorite Things: Trainer Self-Care

Dec 17, 2018

My wife and I recently engaged in our annual “discussion” of whether or not My Favorite Things (as sung by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music) is a true holiday song.  The discussion consists of the following:  I show her the song title on the back of my Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Christmas Album while the song is playing.  Then she points out that during the movie/musical, Maria does not sing it during Christmastime at all, but during a summer storm when some of the children are frightened.  Then she says that this song’s “holiday tune status” cannot be corroborated by even being on JUST ONE of the other 60+ CDs in our extensive holiday music collection. 

While at work, it struck me that as trainers, we ALL probably have “favorite things” that we do for ourselves that help us to reduce stress in advance of/during trainings, or that help us to unwind and de-stress afterwards. These trainer self-care strategies allow us to be much more able to give 100% of ourselves to trainings.

Since it’s the season for giving, your Training Coaches and Professional Development Team Content Coordinator have a gift we’d like to give you to help YOU give 100% of yourselves to your trainings.

Below, please find a few of OUR favorite trainer self-care things we do before, during, and after trainings…(we hope you can find something new to try out!!)

April Brown, The Lakes:  I am a music person and I love to sing. I often de-stress or relax on the way to or heading home after trainings by listening to music and of course, singing along. I'm the one you see in the car at the stop light next to you who is not ashamed to be singing out loud. LOL! "These are a few of my favorite things......I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad!" Yes, I did just sing that out loud as I typed!

Karen Veeley, Salt River: Plan a full lunch HOUR between sessions of an all-day training, allowing for lunch alone for me to have a quiet, restorative time and review notes for the next session. Also, honey helps sooth the throat after a long day of teaching.  Afterwards, I DON’T focus on that one evaluation that was low, and never underestimate the power of chocolate! 

Hans Petersen, Jefferson: Finish all training prep at least a day in advance to “clear the decks” and allow for a calm and peaceful evening BEFORE getting a good night’s sleep. Treat myself to an extra hearty and healthy breakfast in the morning to fuel me up right!  Due to significant recent hearing loss, I have had to start taking care of myself DURING trainings by using assistive technology to help me hear better with large groups in large rooms.

Dawn Griffin, Northern Bluegrass:  Water or hard candy/mints.  Especially if you are doing a long seminar with lots of talking!  Keeps the throat from getting scratchy.

Bambi Cliffe, Southern Bluegrass:    Get a good night’s sleep the night before a training. Drink a large cup of coffee to help energize me while I think about the training content in the morning.  Listen to music on the way to the training while thinking through the day ahead of me.  During break/lunch:  walk away for a few minutes to reflect on session up to this point, regroup, gather thoughts and get ready for the next section of the training session.  Relax by doing something fun (read a book, watch a movie, take a drive) now that all the work is over.

Gwen Johnson, Cumberland:   On the front end, I take care with my dress to be satisfied I look my best, and always try to allow myself enough time after setup to relax a bit before the first participants arrive. I always want to be well prepared and ready. During trainings, I make sure I stay hydrated and maintain control of the flow of training so as to move it along according to the plan and timing. Afterwards I do something nice for me like visiting a friend in the area (if I’ve traveled to train), or going shopping at some interesting place.

Bethany Hughes, Two Rivers:    Being a trainer and being in front of people can make us nervous.  Even as a participant, I rely on fidgets.  As a trainer, I also need a fidget, but I make sure it is one that is small enough and doesn’t distract the participants.  I try to keep water available and handy to sip on while I am speaking.  I have a few preferred ways to de-stress before and after trainings.  When the weather is nice I do my best to go out on long walks while listening to music, this is the best combination of time alone while also listening to a special mix of music.  I also like to paint and do jigsaw puzzles.

Karen Baldwin, Eastern Mountain: I always go over my outline/training plan to see if I have forgotten anything, as the thought of leaving something behind tends to make me nervous. The night before, I also make sure I have something to eat - not a full dinner but something light.  I take mini-breaks on training days by closing my eyes to chill out a few minutes. On the way to a training, I listen to music or Spiritual guidance recordings.

Christine Hausman, Professional Development Team Content Coordinator:     To maintain my sanity I insist on arriving early, if at all possible, to get everything set up the night before a training. I like to make sure I am wearing super comfortable shoes and pack some of my favorite snacks and beverages. I might even splurge on a fancy coffee to jumpstart my day! I also keep a page of notes handy for any changes that I may want to make to the training, information I commit to sending to participants, or materials that may need to be replenished. I typically like to read the evaluations after I drive home as I use the drive home for my own personal reflection.


You are encouraged to join us in continuing this as an open discussion in an upcoming post on the Credentialed Trainer’s Facebook page.  Please feel free to go there and share your thoughts on what we’ve mentioned here, add “favorite things” you’re already doing to a growing list for others to see, and we can even dream big about things we can resolve to do for ourselves in the new year!