An expert facilitator in wellness, Taylor Morrison is a strong believer in the value of self-care. Her “Inner Workout” concept is a method that helps leaders maintain balance amidst a chaotic work life. We asked Taylor a few questions about how the Inner Workout system works and how leaders might integrate it to their daily lives.
Read more below.
Q: As the founder of Inner Workout you help people connect to and care for their whole selves so that they can create their desired impact. How did you get into this work and what drives your passion?
I went through a period of my life where I kept hitting a wall and feeling burned out. My solution at the time was to take something off my schedule, but eventually I would end up making new commitments and feeling burned out again. It was an unsustainable cycle, so I started exploring self care. I didn’t treat it as another thing on my to-do list. I tried to really integrate it into my entire life. Overtime, I had the thought of how I could create a practice to help other people develop self care as a skill. I did my 200-hour yoga teacher training and was introduced to this concept of the koshas. They represent the five dimensions of well being and that led to creating the Inner Workout practice.
Q: Tell me more about the Inner Workout. What does it look like in practice?
The Inner Workout practice blends movement, breath, journaling, meditation, and flow. It’s inspired by yogic philosophy, and the thought is that it's a journey inward. You start by tuning into your physical body (movement), then to your breath (breathing), then to your thoughts and feelings (journaling), then to stillness (mediation), and then to whatever you choose to make the practice valuable (flow).
Q: How are self-care and leadership connected? Why is it important for leaders to connect with their whole selves?
I think it's important for leaders to connect with their whole selves because even though we might try to ignore it, we are integrated beings. There are times when you may be focused on using your mind, but are then disconnected from the body. Your body might be sending a message that you’re exhausted but you don’t know it. I think leaders need to be able to check in with themselves across all aspects of their being so that they can fully show up and see the full picture of what's happening rather than just focusing on the piece of themselves that they're more comfortable engaging with.
Q: What obstacles have you seen that seem to prevent people from taking care of themselves?
We live in a culture that hasn't normalized self-care as much as I would like to see it be in the future. I think there's a lot of people who think they’re just supposed to push through challenges and not slow down to take care of themselves. People who are leading schools put so much focus on other people and their well being and I imagine it's easy to get caught up in all of the different stakeholders and not put any focus inward. Ultimately, I think there's macro level things with cultural mindsets and attitudes, and then the microsystem of career path can make it that much more difficult.
Q: What benefits have you seen when people finally lean into this concept? How does it transform their personal and professional lives?
When you are able to turn into yourself and the nuances of how you work, you are able to give yourself the support that you need in real time so that you don’t get to a place where you have nothing left. Doing this as an integrated practice rather than just a point in time allows you to sustain your life and to sustain your work so that you can be successful long term.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals that are working in an emotionally, mentally, and/or physically taxing career like the principalship?
Find time for yourself, even if it's little pockets. I’m not saying you need to meditate for three hours a day, but can you find three minutes for yourself? Can you do a breathing exercise as you're walking down the hallway? Those little pieces will help you get in touch with yourself and offer you support in a small amount of time.
Q: What does it look like to give grace to ourselves as we venture through the journey of connecting to and caring for our whole self?
I think it is reminding yourself about the “care” in self-care. It can feel really easy for us to say you’re going to do certain things to stay well and then life has other plans. Instead of getting upset and kicking yourself, while you're down, self-care means to acknowledge that you are a human and sometimes things are not going to go the way that you planned. It means that you show yourself care even when you fall short.
Q: How do you combat societal values or norms that push the idea that an individual’s worth is tied to their productivity?
It can be hard. We're steeped in messages that are counter to what is actually most supportive for us. I think the more that you can believe in wellness for yourself, the more you can model it to others. That's how we begin to make a change. So if there are little moments where you decide to take a break and allow yourself rest it can give others the opportunity to do the same. You have to remember that you’re just as valuable when you take a break as when you sit on the computer all day and night. If you make that time for yourself and model it for teachers, then eventually it’s going to catch on.
Q: You started a podcast in April called “Inner Warmup”. Tell us about this podcast and how you might think our school leaders could benefit from listening.
The Inner Warmup exists to encourage and engage people to continue in the Inner Workout. The episodes are framed as interviews centered on the listener. Every week, there is a question to contemplate. For example the question this week was: Where do you need a fresh start? I’ll provide time for reflection and offer thoughts in real time to support listeners. The episodes are about 10 minutes long, so it’s a short and sweet way to check in with yourself.
Q: Are there any other transformative books or resources you’ve engaged with in the past year that our PIC leaders might benefit from?
A couple books that were really great for me were Laziness Does Not Exist by Dr. Devon Price and How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell. These books offer complementary perspectives around productivity and ways of being present in our lives.
We’re grateful for Taylor’s wellness insights and eager to continue learning and encouraging one another to invest in the whole self.
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