Headed Toward Burnout? Here's How to Rethink Your Work Ethic
A strong work ethic doesn't entail running yourself into the ground. Photo Courtesy Thinkstock.
After reading your column I now understand the problems of being a workaholic. My dilemma is that the dance teachers in my BFA program praise an extreme work ethic and use me as a role model for other dancers. How can I give my body a break?
—Burned-Out Dancer, New York, NY
Why not rethink what a good work ethic entails? Part of being a diligent dancer is taking care of your body with smart recovery strategies. If you're working hard all of the time, you'll likely end up running yourself down, and you won't be able to perform at your best. However, if you start focusing more on recovery, you should return to the studio feeling extra refreshed and engaged.
During breaks throughout your dance day, increase your mental and physical reserves with a combination of the following:
taking short naps
listening to music
lying down with your legs up sans shoes to reduce swelling
Photo by Nathan Sayers
At night, aim for nine or more hours of sleep, and don't forget to eat regular meals and snacks that fuel your body. Weekly rejuvenating activities, like massage and acupuncture, are equally important. With practical strategies like these, your reputation as a role model should remain intact.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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How can dancers take advantage of their medicinal properties? We asked Amy Galper, certified aromatherapist and co-founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies:
Karen Azenberg, a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, stumbled on something peculiar before the union's 2015 move to new offices: a 52-year-old sealed envelope with a handwritten note attached. It was from Agnes de Mille, the groundbreaking choreographer of Oklahoma! and Rodeo. De Mille, a founding member of SDC, had sealed the envelope with gold wax before mailing it to the union and asking, in a separate note, that it not be opened. The reason? "It is the outline for a play, and I have no means of copyrighting…The material is eminently stealable."