As dancers, we spend lots of time talking about our physical health. But what about our mental health? In reality, how our mind feels is just as important as how our body feels, and the pressures of the dance world can lead to stress and anxiety. Here are five of our top mental health tips to keep your mind as strong as your body:
We already know that meditation is helpful for choreographers—psychologists at Leiden University in the Netherlands found that it increases the generation of new ideas. Dancers can take this lesson to heart, too. If your mind is stuck on something negative, try meditating to find new, positive thoughts.
2. Take a Bath
Taking a bath before bed has plenty of physical benefits, such as relieving muscle pain and preparing the body to fall asleep. But it can also relax your mind. Warm-water immersion balances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems to help you calm down. Throw in some lavender oil for an extra-relaxing experience.
3. Write It Out
Try spending time outside to rediscover your motivation.
Think you're too old for a diary? Think again. Researchers in New Zealand found that writing about your thoughts and feelings for 20 minutes a day increased the healing process for surgery and reduced stress. Reflect on your day in a journal so you can let negative thoughts go and clear you mind.
4. Beat the Slump
Recognize when and why you are lacking motivation, and take steps to find it again. Notice your choices, acknowledging that you are in control of your decisions and how they affect your dancing. Try to identify the source of your slump. Keep your goal in mind—whether it's to land that breakthrough gig or just land that triple pirouette. Lastly, find ways to get inspired, like trying something new or spending time in nature.
5. Stop Self Sabotage
If you find yourself making poor decisions that negatively affect your dancing, try to find the root of this behavior. Do you give up at auditions because you're afraid you'll get cut anyway? Do you overindulge in sugary foods because you can't control your impulses? If being honest about the source of the problem doesn't help, try seeing if a therapist can help nudge you towards better decisions.