As dancers, we’re constantly asked to push our limits and expand our boundaries. We are fueled by the need to grow and the drive to achieve perfection or something that closely resembles perfection which results in us reaching a point of exhaustion. This is why engaging in after-care post extensive training is required and so is following a self-care routine. This is a self-care checklist for dancers.
Remind yourself every day, Today I…
1. Had 6-8 Hours of Sleep
After long, exhausting rehearsals both the mind and the body need rest to wake up the next day and start the grind all over again. You must sleep for at least a minimum of 6 hours to declutter your mind and rest your sore muscles. Some dancers have also found small naps between rehearsals to be helpful. Following a healthy lifestyle is a must for dancers and hence, setting a time when you switch off your phone and keep all the gadgets aside to fall asleep is important.
2. Woke up Early to Stretch
Waking up early is rejuvenating in itself and is a significant part of following a healthy lifestyle. Stretching early in the morning can allow one to re-focus their mind and body and ease all the core muscles. It is calming and allows one to breathe life into one body. It can also help sustain flexibility and increase the elasticity of the tissues. Early morning stretching is free of stress and tension which makes it all the more fruitful.
3. Did Not Skip a Meal
Dancers train extensively throughout the day with a short duration of the interval to call lunch break. A dancer can skip a meal just because they did not have the time to eat. For instance, if you have a bad morning and are running late for class, you are likely to skip breakfast which is the most essential meal of the day and doing so, can end in you slogging through your dance classes. Make sure you have a glassful of milk and grab a banana to go when running late. Find time to eat between hectic rehearsals and carry good food to avoid unhealthy snacking.
4. Re-visited my Dream Book
It is very essential to remember where you began and what you have achieved. Thus, every dancer must keep a book full of their ideas that can translate into SMART (Systematic, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals so that you can work hard to achieve them. Any time you feel stuck, just open your dream book and see what all you have achieved or add something new to it that looks challenging but is achievable and practical so that you can set a deadline for yourself to achieve that goal and eventually, fulfil it and move an inch closer to your dream.
5. Danced in my Room and Went ‘hell yeah’
Sometimes, the freedom of movement comes from undoing the learnt. Hence, you must find time to explore movement without having to think about what is right and what is wrong and what ‘looks great and what does not. Simply moving to a piece of music within the four walls of your room in front of the mirror, can be empowering and liberating. Make sure you find time to just dance in front of the mirror and go ‘hell yeah’ since that’s just how much fun you’re having. It will serve as a reminder of how much you enjoy dancing.
6. Complimented a co-dancer
Dancers observe each other in class and borrow things from fellow dancers that they liked while viewing them. You must make sure to praise a dancer if they stood out to you in class or if they did something you only wish you could do. You never know what kind of a day they’re having or how much reassurance they need as to whether they’re on the right path. Your simple statement can make their day. Honest appreciating others will also make you feel good.
7. Appreciated my Growth
It is important to recognize your growth and revisit all the obstacles that you have overcome. Dancers are often criticized by their mentors, instructors, choreographers as well as their fellow-dancers. One must learn not to overly criticize oneself and take out time to appreciate all the positive, good things rather than focusing attention on the negatives and devaluing the positives. Growth is a process it is gradual and tiresome but extremely rewarding and satisfying.