Hey there, dancers and welcome to another From the Top blog post! Today we are ending this year’s “Back 2 Dance” blog series by talking about a subject that isn’t very widely discussed which is, taking some time off. We’re going to be touching on what may cause the need to take some time off, as well as the benefits of doing so. We’ll also have a little Q & A at the end of this post. So, if you’re considering taking some time during this upcoming season, keep reading.
Let’s Get Real…
As much as we may love dancing, sometimes your mind and body just may want a break every now and again. Guess what? That’s totally okay. Just because you need some personal time, or shall I say “me time”, it doesn’t mean that you are losing your sense of passion or your love for dance. It just simply means that you need some time to slow down, regroup and recharge. Dance is extremely physically demanding and can be hard on your body. We also must remember that we are both artists and athletes. It is so necessary to let your body, muscles and mind recuperate and get some rest when needed. That’s how you stay healthy, strong, and most importantly, happy.
The Benefits Of Taking Some Time Off
One of the benefits of taking some time off is how much it can support longevity. By listening to your body when it tells you that it needs a little TLC, you are actually setting your body up for a longer and more prosperous career. A dancers only instrument is our bodies and by taking care of them, we help secure our futures in this industry.
Eliminates Mental Fatigue
Have you ever gotten to a place in your dancing where you just can’t seem to get anything right? No matter how hard you try, even if it’s something you know you can do because you’ve done it before in the past. You just can’t seem to get it right and your brain feels like it’s mush. I like to call this “mental fatigue” and this is a huge indicator that you may need to take a little bit of a break. I have encountered this here and there throughout my career and it would drive me crazy because it wouldn’t just be an off day, it was like an off MONTH. So, one time in particular I decided to do something that I had never done before. At the end of one particular dance season, when I would usually take summer intensives throughout the summer, I took a break instead. No classes, no intensives, nothing. That summer I took some serious me time, picked up a few hobbies, hung out with friends and family a little more, stretched/practiced throughout the week to stay on top of my game and just enjoyed some much needed down time. As the summer ended and a new season was back underway, I came back to the studio feeling refreshed and rejuvenated with my mind fatigue completely gone. I was ready to face another season and I felt fantastic! Which brings us to our next tip…
Taking A Break Can Help Keep The Passion Alive
As I mentioned in the tip above, after I took the time to listen to my mind, listen to my body and enjoyed my much needed time off, I came back to the studio refreshed and rejuvenated, with this child like enthusiasm to start dancing again! This is the amazing result that comes from taking a break when necessary. When you take the time to give yourself a little tender loving care, it keeps the passion, enthusiasm and love for dance burning even brighter. We are dancers and dancing is what we do, but we are also humans, in an imperfect human body that can get overwhelmed at times. But even during this time, always remember that even though the need for a break may be present, it does not mean you’re losing your passion for dance. Instead, think of it as pouring into your passion and making it stronger by taking the time to nurture yourself when it’s needed. A healthy mind and a healthy body supports a healthy career filled with joy and peace. So let’s do what it takes to take care of ourselves in every way that we can!
Now, let’s dive into the question and answer segment of our post, shall we?
Q: How long of a break should you take?
A: This is a decision that is entirely up to you and your own personal needs. Some people do as I did and just take breaks throughout the summer, some take time during their company’s off season. Some dancers even take an entire season off. Whatever fits your needs the best is the right amount of time.
Q: Should I practice during my time off? What can I do to keep from getting rusty during my break?
A: Sure! However, If you choose to practice outside of the studio during your time off, I wouldn’t do so too extensively. The entire point of taking a break is to give your body some time to rest. As I stated in today’s blog post, during the time off that I took, even though I wasn’t dancing in studio for a couple of months, I still stretched at home. I would also practice my turns, leaps and keep my ankles strong with releves and eleves. This creates a balance of having your personal time and still holding on to all your skill sets without getting rusty.
Q: What if I’m not able to take time off? How can I cope?
A: If you aren’t in a position to take some time off, I highly suggest forming a solid self care routine. Whether it be practicing yoga, taking nightly baths or journaling your thoughts at the end of every day, doing things that help you relax physically as well as mentally is a wonderful outlet to help release fatigue of all kinds. We created a blog post all about self care for dancers. If you’re looking for some awesome ways to relax and unwind, check it out! Link is located below!
Thanks so much for hanging out with us on this wonderful Friday! hope you enjoyed this year’s “Back 2 Dance” series and I wish you all the best as you go into this brand new dance season! Have a wonderful weekend and remember…