With grades submitted, graduation ceremonies conducted and finished, and the shifting into summer-time positions and priorities, the middle of June can leave dance teachers from all walks of life in a haze of exhaustion. The months of May and June hold so many high-level moments for our students that coming down from those waves of intensity requires us to re-establish balance in multiple areas of our lives.
While dance teachers are masters of engaging our core and executing proper alignment, balance can be found in various places outside of the studio. Here are five such outlets to explore:
1) Re-examine your schedule and to-do lists
You need a break: you work hard and a respite is long over-do. Maybe you get one, maybe you do not. It can be tempting to throw away our detailed schedules and lists of responsibilities, yet that can often lead to other big shifts in balance. You should always do what is right for you, but re-examining your schedule and organizing your time, and how you spend it, can establish more control and flow in life.
2) Find quiet moments or make time for them
You might have a myriad of responsibilities facing you, or simply too many good distractions that pleasurably numb your exhausted senses. Try to make time for moments to check in with yourself. Take a minute to breathe deeply. Examine your body in the mirror (look for how you have changed/stayed the same). Do a low stress household chore that involves using your hands. Just “being” for a minute can be restorative.
3) “What have I been putting off and how can I accomplish it?”
Call your best friend. Go to the doctor/dentist. Fix the minor broken item that sticks out like a sore thumb in your home (youtube is great for DIY projects). Ask yourself what minor, but significant actions, you have been putting off and take steps to accomplish them. Besides the instant gratification of positive productivity, you will take away the power of little annoyances that plague your occasional thoughts.
4) Reflect with a journal for 10 minutes a day
You live a full life. While being “present” and “living in the moment” are fantastic, time is constantly flowing. Written reflections can help us to articulate and process our experiences in new ways. Now is a great to reflect on recent experiences. If reflections are not a part of your usual practice, try writing in a journal for 10 minutes a day. Asking yourself questions about your experiences and writing them down can provide context and records that can be referred to down the line.
5) Get out into nature
It is natural and easy to want to turn inward to find relaxation and rest. But reminding ourselves that we are a single part of a much larger environment can be quite grounding and offer connection. Can’t afford a vacation? Go to a park. Go on a walk. A hike. Start to grow a potted plant. Nature is around you. Use it.
***Zackary Forcum is a Dance Teaching Artist, who is attending Mills College Dance MFA Program, and sits on CDEA’s Greater Board***