10 Tips For Dance Teachers to Rest, Relax, and Reset this Holiday Break
Burnout is real especially with all of the pivot turns we’ve had to make these last few seasons. With holiday breaks around the corner, we kindly offer these 10 Tips to help you make the most out of your time off. Our staff and colleagues even took the time to share their best tips. What are some of your favorite ways to unwind and reset on longer breaks from dance?
Create Boundaries Let your students, families and friends know that you will be out of contact for a specific period of time, and use specific dates. Then communicate this clearly and multiple times so no one thinks you are ignoring them. This can by far be the hardest thing to do, especially for most of our creative minded friends, so be sure to loop in someone you are close to for accountability. A spouse, best friend or partner are great choices.
Sleep - Contrary to popular belief, you can’t “make up” sleep on the weekends or when things slow down. Though the temptation to stay up late because you may not have a rigid schedule over break, don’t. Carve out a healthy sleep pattern now and then plan on holding it when you reopen. This is something our Emcee Amy is vigilant about and recommends using the sleep alarm settings on your iPhone to keep you on track. Long term sleep deprivation (anything less than 7 hours a night) can lead to injury, increased feelings of depression and anxiety, immune system deficiencies, memory loss and more. Amy is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Counsel on Exercise and holds her BS in Kinesiology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.
Stay Present - Be where your feet are. If you are at home, be present with your family or loved ones. Being intentional with your focus when you do have the time to be with your family or “off” from work helps your body and mind truly rest. This means no secretly checking your business or school emails while everyone else is distracted by the Santa Clause marathon in your living room.
Go Old School for Entertainment - Visit Museums, play cards games, read hard copy books, go for hikes or walks in the neighborhood, play charades (yup we said it!) Simplifying and slowing down your mind invites creativity to regain space in your mind. Dance Educator, Choreographer and Performer Rotita Cunningham shares “I use my surroundings to clear my mind and bring back memories, and re-live them through my pieces." Ms. Cunningham is a former studio owner and professional dancer from Richmond, VA. She has performed in various venues and professional arenas and loves dance education. She and her family currently reside in Washington, DC and are fully immersed in the dance community there.
Develop a New Self-Care Habit - Journaling, meditating, going for a walk or reading are all ways to nourish your mental health. Longer breaks allow you more time to start these self-care practices. Even adding just 5 minutes a day can do wonders.
UNPLUG - We’ll say it until we’re blue in the face. Put all of your social media notifications on mute, resist checking emails from the business, set up the Do Not Disturb function on your phone… You get the drill.
Take Care of Your Physical Body - Resist the urge to become a couch potato. Recovery practices like Yoga or stretching to ward off stiffness and keep your endorphins flowing and critical for body and mind. World Class Adjudicator and Certified EBAS teacher, Taylor Black loves the practice of Elemental Body Alignment System, “I use this on my longer breaks to have some sort of movement, so I don’t get stiff and restless in my time off.” Taylor is also a Certified Thai Bodywork practitioner and holds her BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.
Enjoy a Favorite Sit Down Meal - And do it slowly… How many nights has dinner consisted of eating whatever you can quickly shove in your mouth behind the wheel, behind the front desk or shhh… in the studio? Make it an experience - put on your favorite artist, take in all the smells and sounds of your kitchen (or restaurant!) and take slow meaningful mouthfuls.
Move Just For You - Without pressure to perform, choreograph, stage, rehearse or record, and most importantly without any self-judgement - find some space, some music and move your body. Carve through the air, feel the ground, breathe in the beat… do whatever feels amazing to you and your purpose.
Take time to Remember Your WHY - Try this as a journaling prompt before you get back to the studio -
I dance because_______.
I love to dance/teach ________ because it makes me feel _______.
Then let your heart and hand go from there. In the bustle of registration, performances, competitions and recitals it can be so easy to lose sight of our passion.
We hope that you'll try a few if not all of these tips over the winter break. Remember that without rest we rarely give our best selves.
“Real rest feels like every cell is thanking you for taking care of you. It’s calm, not full of checklists and chores. It’s simple: not multitasking; not fixing broken things.”
- Jennifer Williamson
We can't wait to see you on stage in the new year!
Happy Holidays with love,
The World Class Talent Experience Team