yoga sunrise

Self-Care for the Dancer

The point of dance is to make your movements look flawless, effortless, and portray a specific storyline. However, the audience often forgets to consider what’s going on, quite literally, behind the scenes. The preparation that goes into a performance is intense and time consuming, and what goes into everyday classes is just as important. Waking up, going to classes, changing into dance clothes, making sure to properly hydrate and fuel your body before class, warming up, taking the dance class, cooling down, stretching afterwards, showering, drinking more water, go on with your day. It’s quite the process, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. How do I find time for myself? How do I take a step back to focus on both my mental and physical health? 

  1. Cool Down/Meditation

    Although it is known to be very crucial to warm up before class, it is more beneficial to do your stretching after class once your body has moved around. At the end of the day, I try to do a few yoga stretches or poses to deepen the stretch in my body but also cool and center myself after a long, busy, strenuous day. Something else that is super helpful is to take a tennis ball or foam roller and really massage and roll out your muscles to do your body a favor. 

    Meditation does not necessarily have to be a physical activity you do, but rather a mindset. For me, I like to end my day with reading my bible and completing a daily devotional which helps me wind down and reflect on my day spiritually.

woman practicing yoga and meditating Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

2. Improvise

    Some days, I do so much set choreography during classes and rehearsals that I just want to continue moving. Despite the tiny space in my apartment that I can use to dance, I make the most of it, put on some music, and just come up with movement on the spot. This improv might just reflect how I am feeling, concepts I want to work on for my classes, possible choreography for my piece I am setting, or even just movement that I do for fun that I will never experiment with ever again. It’s a way of release that really helps me find moments of self care.

Unsplash/ Ahmad Odeh

3. Downtime

    For those of you who do not know me personally, I am quite a planner. I keep multiple calendars, agendas, to-do lists… I like to have everything scheduled to a T. However, I have some very inspirational people in my life who have recently taught me to be more spontaneous and allow myself to find free time. With that being said, I am finding lots of joy in the unplanned events in my life. Whether that be the times at night where my roommate and I just stay up  talking or my friends and I going out to Hobby Lobby or Target or to get ice cream. When I can take a step back and just go with the flow, I can relax and not worry about every second. I also find driving to be very therapeutic so even just going for a drive will allow me to take some time to breathe. 

StockSnap via pixabay

4. Me-Time

    I am a very outgoing, talkative person but even I have points at the end of the day where my social battery is just drained. I love the feeling of finishing up my day, taking a nice hot shower or bath, doing my hair & skin care routines, making a quick dinner in the Instant Pot, then just getting cuddled into my bed and watching a few episodes of my most recent Netflix obsession. This gives me time to just relax and thank myself for allowing me to get done all that I did that day but also recharge myself to be able to do it all again tomorrow.

cup in front of tv with Netflix logo Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Dancer or not, self care is absolutely vital to your physical and mental health. Finding ways for you to destress, reflect, and appreciate yourself are all your own personal choices that feel best to you. I will forever preach the words, “SELF-Care is not SELFish!”