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A Peaceful Journey: Focusing On Our Dance Careers & Our Mental Health

Hello there, everyone and welcome back to From The Top Dance Blog! Today we will be talking about just a few ways that we as dancers can shift our mindset to preserve our mental health as we go through our dance career. What we are loving the most about the dance world as of late is that we are having more conversations on our mental health. In years past, a lot of the commentary given to dancers has been to push, push, push. Push past your limits, push past your breaking point, all in the name of being “the best”. However, this narrative is extremely unhealthy and toxic for our minds and bodies, both of which are extremely important for a successful career, as well as a happy life while you live out that career. We here at From The Top love to see dancers thrive in the healthiest way possible, so today we would like to join the conversation, keep it going, and share some of the principles that we hold deep within our hearts to preserve our mental health as we go throughout our careers.

Come on.  Let’s talk about it. 

  1. The Perfect Dancer Doesn’t Exist – Let’s Do Away With That.

This first point has become a huge epiphany within the dance industry, and honestly, we’re thankful. Because it is absolutely true. In years past, perfection was the mental standard of som many dancers. We held ourselves to a standard where we  felt as though all technical aspects of our skillset must always be tip-top, and making a mistake feels like mental death. After years of having this mindset, I, too, cracked the code. And that is that the perfection mindset is just an illusion of smoke and mirrors. No matter how long we’ve been dancing, mess ups, mistakes and even downright failure are a part of this life that we have chosen. But though it may be an aspect of it, that isn’t all there is to dance. For every mistake, there is a win. Focus on those and take your mistakes with grace, humbly learning from them, because I can assure you it isn’t as bad as it seems. I am a firm believer that dance should never lose it’s joy. Simply relax and don’t allow the perfectionist game to take that joy away. Rest your mind in knowing that even though you may be constantly growing, that doesn’t make you inadequate in any way. 

  1. Pushing Yourself Too Hard Does Not Equal Success

This point is of the most important and that is pushing yourself beyond your limits is not the key to a successful career. If anything it is the key to constant burnout. Usually pushing yourself too hard is often hidden under the whole “work hard, play hard” aesthetic, but the key to a career full of longevity is taking care of yourself. When your body needs to rest, please take it. Even if you feel as though you need to take a step away from dance to recharge your mental space, please listen to your mind and heart and do what’s right for you. This, and so much more, is how we keep our minds a safe place as we  go throughout our journey.

  1. Become OBSESSED With Your Own Journey

This point has been mentioned in a blog post in the past and that simply means to focus on yourself and never compare your journey with any other dancer or even with the thought of where you think you should be. As long as you are doing due diligence to yourself and actively working towards your goals, whatever they may be, then that is a sure fire way that you are right where you are supposed to be at this moment in time. Even if you aren’t where you ultimately want to be, as long as you put in the work, that is the most important. Sowing and reaping is most definitely within our earth’s flow. Sew in those good seeds of hard work, and a good harvest of progress will sprout. Clap for others along the way with genuine support and while you’re at it, clap for yourself as well. You’re doing amazing sweetie. 😉

  1. Overbooked Can Sometimes Equal Overworked

The power of “No” is so useful in most cases, even as a dancer. Staying booked and busy is literally a dancer’s dream in their career, but let’s always make sure that we aren’t over booked and busy. Overbooking our schedules can sometimes  lead to being overworked, which in return affects our body and adds stress to our minds. So when creating your schedules with inquiries, be sure to realistically rationalize your time, adding in only the important/beneficial jobs and using your schedule to it’s smartest capacity. Those inquiries that are not of the highest importance, don’t be afraid to decline. Your mental health in this journey is just as important as your schedule. 

  1. Be Your Biggest Yes In A Sea Of No’s

We say again. Clap. For. Your. Self! 

One of the most stinging things that comes along with being a dancer, especially professionally, is the direct contact with rejection. Putting your all into preparing and auditioning for an opportunity just to get the “you’re just not what we’re looking for” speech, or even the long awaited “email let down”. Enduring this throughout the years can sometimes lead to second guessing of one’s ability, and even take a toll on a dancer’s self esteem due to the discouragement that these types of situations can bring. However, in the midst of some of the downs, there will always be a yes. There will always be a job who is looking for a dancer just like you and will welcome you with open arms. But even above that, there is a yes that is most important. Yours. Just because you may not be what someone is “looking for”, please don’t for one second begin to doubt who you are as a dancer. These situations in no way reflect who you are. Can  you take these moments as a learning experience? Yes, of course! Always be open to this aspect of learning because they help us grow, not only as dancers, but as people. However, always stay true to you and believe in who you are. You are enough. Always have been. Always will be. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and spending this beautiful Friday afternoon with us. We hope something that was written here today was able to provide exactly what you were in search for as you continue along this amazing journey that is dance. As always, we wish you a beautiful weekend, filled with love and light, and remember…

Keep dancing!

Lexi

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