We all encounter challenges in an uncertain world. Each one of us is unique, with distinctly different brains and bodies, developed in diverse environments; accordingly, the challenges we each face, and our solutions to them, are as infinitely individual as we are. This infinite individuality qualifies us to be our own best caregivers. Self-care is to intentionally take time to tend to our personal well-being; as we practice self-care, we find strength, resiliency, and the ability to flourish in the face of our unique challenges.
As dance educators, we are aware that the art of dance is more than mere exercise or entertainment; we understand that our brains and bodies work in harmony as instruments of expression and communication. As we encounter challenges, we need to carefully keep our minds and bodies in tune by intentionally tending to our personal mental and physical needs.
To effectively give self-care, we must first be self-aware. We need to learn to pause daily to reflect and to find and refine restorative practices that nurture critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills vital to maintaining balanced well-being. Self-care practices that can fulfil our emotional, mental and physical needs differ for each individual, so we must try them on, like shoes, until we find the perfect fit. Take time to discover things that nourish and recharge your soul, and bring joy and fulfilment to your life.
The pursuit of knowledge and caring for the complexities of our brains and bodies is the educational quest of a lifetime. As dance educators, perhaps the fullest fountain of understanding can be found within as we immerse ourselves in the rhythms and sensations of our own souls.
Now, more than ever, it is vital to mindfully tend to our personal care. Stress and anxiety can creep into our lives at every turn. It takes intentional practice to pay attention to personal needs and to practice self-care for a strong and balanced well-being. As we compose and choreograph these principles into our daily dance of life, we perform critical thinking and creative problem solving practices that promote balance and well-being in ourselves. We model, for others, meaningful messages of strength, resiliency, and the ability to flourish in the face of unique challenges in an uncertain world.
Questions you might ask to identify your needs:
What is going on inside and outside of me that I need to address?
What are my limits? When do I need support? Do I need to ask for help?
What do I have control of? What do I need to let go of that is outside my control? ?
When can I make time for solitude each day? Where is a place I can go for solitude?
What takes me to a place of happiness and peace?
What helps me feel grounded?
What can I do to create a healthier relationship with myself?
What helps restore my physical and mental energy?
What helps me feel I am achieving success?
What brings meaning to my life?
What have I thought of or noticed today that I want to try as a self-care practice?
Find and Refine Restorative Practices
Celebrate life and take care by:
· Breathing deeply
· Practice smiling
· Nourish your body with proper nutrition
· Spend time in nature
· Express gratitude
· Create something
· Read a good book
· Journal to express your feelings and organize your thoughts
· Take care of your body by exercising regularly
· Get plenty of sleep and rest
· Connect with others
· Focus on what I can control
· Turn off electronics
· Treat yourself with compassion
· Forgive yourself and others
Other valuable resources include-
- Teachers’ Guide to Resiliency Through The ARTS Cally Flox, Dr. Melissa Sadin and Nathan Levy
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
- The Power (The Secret) by Rhonda Byrne
- The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker, M.D.
- 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
- The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute
- Practical Mindfulness by Kim Davies
- Daily Mindfulness by Benjamin W. Decker
- Self-Compassion and Mindfulness by Tiffany Shelton Mariolle, Ph.D.
Websites and Blog Articles
Written by Miriam Bowen, Dance Specialist at Reagan Academy in Springville, UT and BTSArts Professional Development Partner for the BYU Region. She will be presenting at Arts Express this summer. Register now!