When I used to work in a big corporate office, I would dance A LOT. We had this little room that was designated for meditation, but it was a rumpus room. People legit took power naps in there, so I was definitely going to dance in there. With abandon. I just loved going in there after having a crappy conversation with my manager about my performance (which was always good, she was just high maintenance) and dance it out. I’d put on some Robyn and let her dance me into oblivion for 15-20 minutes.
It was a great workout that left me feeling so much better about whatever issue I had. It exceeded the feeling I would get from walking and to be honest, I need to walk for about 30-60 minutes before I’ve come to terms with whatever’s bothering me.
Fast forward to today and I’m still dancing, but with a different purpose. Reading is a great way to unwind and let yourself be immersed in a story, but have you ever tried to read a book when you’ve got a million thoughts in your brain? For me, my thoughts almost get so big I can’t focus on my book. It’s just me reading a bunch of words strung together. I can’t immerse myself in a story when I’ve been thinking on my career, writing my blog, or working on another book for work. It’s exhausting to be a freelancer and sometimes books just won’t do it for you.
Lately, I’ve been doing these dance breaks where I set up my camera, put on a bop that I’ve been obsessed with, and really just dance it out. I usually do these before I jump into a read because 1) I’ll be spending a ton of time on my butt 2) I can’t read when I’ve got some heavy issues weighing on my mind.
The dancing lets me remove myself from what I’m dealing with. It clears my head. Someone told me once that physical activity really helps for people who are super stressed and I totally believe them. Putting effort into dancing allows me to focus on one task and doing it well. I mean, doing it to the best of my abilities. I’m not formally trained and I always stumble and make goofy faces or do something stupid. It’s not about me being good at dancing; it’s about me using my body to release all the stress and tension I’ve got going on.
It really gets me cleared up before I head into a book. I can immerse myself in a book and come back to the issues later and it doesn’t ruin my read. Sometimes self-care doesn’t mean taking a bath and wearing a face mask. For some people, self-care is the act of focusing on one task and doing that to the best of your abilities. Perhaps it’s cooking or gardening for you and for me it’s dancing and working out. I love that I gave myself the space to explore what self-care works for me and now I can use it not only to dance away my troubles, but also dance myself into a better mood.
What’s your favorite form of self-care?