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Injured? How to Avoid the Self-Blame Spiral

Dealing with a dance injury? Dr. Brian Goonan, a Houston-based psychologist who works with dancers, gives advice on refocusing your emotions when you're on the road to recovery.


Reflection over criticism

It's normal for dancers to slip into a spiral of "shoulda-woulda-coulda" after an injury. "You don't want it to happen again, so you're trying to figure out how it happened the first time," Goonan says. The injury may have exposed a bad habit or mistake. Take an honest look at where you can improve, but try not to let it veer into self-criticism.

Learn by observation

Ask yourself: "What can I observe when I'm not under pressure to perform?" View your time on the sidelines as an opportunity to glean a rare perspective from class or rehearsal.

Rebuild trust

When you return to dancing, recognize that you may not fully trust your body. "Give yourself permission to gradually regain your strength," says Goonan.

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Topical Pain Relievers Are the Next Item on Your Dancer Self-Care Supply List

With the stressors of the pandemic still lingering more than one year later, self-care is, rightfully, a priority for everyone right now. But dancers have always known the importance of keeping their bodies and minds as healthy as possible. After all, your body is your instrument, and as we make our long-awaited returns to the studio and stage, finding self-care strategies that work for you will be crucial to getting back up to speed—mentally and physically—with your rigorous performing and training schedule.

Dancers have a myriad of options to choose from when it comes to treating minor ailments like soreness, swelling and bruising. One that's quickly gaining popularity are topical pain relievers, which provide targeted, temporary relief of minor pain. These days, there's more than just your tried-and-true Tiger Balm on the shelves. From CBD lotions to warming gels and patches, finding the product that's right for you can be as difficult as finding the perfect Rockette-red shade of lipstick…but even more beneficial to your dance career.

Read on for our breakdown of some of the most common ingredients to look out for in the topical pain relief aisle.

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July 2021