Taking Care Over The Dance Break
Holidays! Those blissful times throughout the year where you can wake up without an alarm, stay in your pyjamas all day, not have to worry about preparing for an assessment or test, and finally get around to doing all those things on your ‘to-do’ list! Having breaks throughout the year gives our bodies time to reset and recharge. While it may feel like it’s such a long period of time to be away from dance (but such a short period of time away from school!), take these moments as an opportunity to explore other interests, work on your goals, and care for your body and mind so you are ready and prepared for your next big adventure! Below we’ve listed 5 ways you can take care of yourself over the break and possibly tick off some of those things on your ‘to-do’ list!
You may have heard of journaling and how it can be great for your mental wellbeing but what exactly is it? Journaling is simply writing about your life, what’s been happening, and how you are feeling. Most of us will have done this at some point when we were younger and called it our diary (Dear Diary anyone?). Journaling is beneficial because it allows you to express your thoughts and emotions in a safe space. You can empty out everything you’re thinking and feeling that you may be too scared to say out loud, feel you can’t share with others or that you aren’t proud of, and place them where no one else will look at them. Having a place to be honest with yourself can help you accept your feelings and emotions as they are, giving you clarification on any action you need to take. It can also be a space to write down goals and dreams for the future, anyone you aspire towards, look up to, or qualities you wish to have within yourself! Your journal is your space to do with it as you please. It can even be a great place to store dance memories, notes and corrections. You don’t have to journal everyday if it doesn’t feel right for you. However, aiming to make a regular habit out of it will support your mental and emotional wellbeing and allow for the dream manifestation to begin!
A balanced diet is something that can go a bit awol over holidays. The routine that we grow accustomed to is gone and we find ourselves with either too much or too little time to prepare our meals, leaving room for snacks of the ‘junk food’ origin. While a balanced diet does incorporate the inclusion of some sweet and savoury treats, we still want to ensure we are eating a variety of wholefoods in our diet. Having some spare time over the holiday period allows for cooking experimentation and recipe development! The perfect opportunity to refine meals, use this downtime to create the perfect ‘prepare and go’ recipe, such as these ‘Mini Breakfast Quiches’, so you’ll have sometime to grab when you’re short on time! Easy to make and they can be stored in the fridge until needed.
Mini Breakfast Quiches
1 handful of cherry tomatoes (cut in half or quarters)
3 kale leaves (ripped into smaller pieces, stalks removed)
40g danish feta (broken into smaller pieces)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 180°C.
With your muffin tray, grease each hole with a little olive oil to prevent the mixture from sticking.
In a bowl whisk the eggs together. Add cherry tomatoes, kale leaves, feta, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into the muffin tray, filling each hole halfway.
Place into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
Remove from the oven and place the mini quiches on a cooling rack.
The mini quiches can be served with a teaspoon of pesto on top or any other sauce you prefer.
They can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to a week.
Makes 10-12 (depending on tray size).
When it comes to our weekly routines we often don’t have a lot of time to try something new, especially when it’s on top of our already jam packed dance schedule. But trying a new exercise doesn’t mean you have to commit to it forever. The point is to experiment, explore and have fun. When we try a new exercise we start working with different muscles, often gaining strength in areas we didn’t anticipate. It also assists with preventing injuries due to overstrain and repetition. By mixing up your activities you give those overused muscles, joints, and ligaments a chance to rest and recover before putting them into action again. Performing new exercises also supports brain health as learning new skills helps neurons in the brain fire, keeping your brain active and sharp. Next time you’re looking for something new to try consider bike riding (or if you want to level that up you could try a Bodhi & Ride class), a Body Fit Training class or embrace the 90’s nostalgia and try rollerblading! Even trying a different dance style, if that’s more within you comfort zone, will still cause you to use different muscle groups and give your brain a work out too!
Spending time with loved ones
While time alone is important for creativity and inspiration, spending quality time with friends and family is just as important. Not only does it support your mental wellbeing, it also enhances your relationships with others. Being physically present with loved ones creates a strong emotional support system to lift you up through life’s challenges. It allows you to appreciate, encourage, and value the differences in each other, knowing that everyone is special in their own way. Being surrounded by a supportive network of people can help you build confidence and maintain a healthy self-esteem too by encouraging positive behaviours and discouraging negative behaviours. Try to spend physical time with loved ones, rather than through social media (if permitting!) to establish the lifelong bonds of friendship and support. Enjoy a picnic in the park, walk along the beach, go out for dinner or simply have people over at your house.
Declutter your dance wardrobe
Decluttering your wardrobe is one of those things that needs to be done but often gets put off. We all love a clean, organised space however, it can be difficult to attain if it’s been left in a state of disarray for a while. With that extra bit of time that the holidays allow, use that opportunity to sort out your wardrobe Marie Kondo style and get rid of anything that ‘doesn’t spark joy’. Spark joy? Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer make you feel anything when you see them. This can range from clothing and shoes through to books and sentimental items. Once you’ve collected the items you want to keep, you can then re-home what you no longer serves you. This allows you to see what you really have in your space and where you may need something new (perhaps a new leotard?!). By decluttering you’re also reaping the health benefits of improved sleep, enhanced mental state and reduced allergens. Time to get tidying!
With the above suggestions you’ll be feeling fresh as a daisy when you return to your regular routine after the holiday break. Equipped with the skills to support your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way and also know how to deal with things that don’t ‘spark joy’ anymore. You may also tick a couple of things off that to-do list too!
For further wellness ideas on how to care for your health and wellbeing, have a look at our blog ‘Wellness Practices for Dancers - and Everyone!’
Article by Sheree Ronai-Horvath
Photography by Elly Ford