Every once in a while a dancer is faced with with many weeks or months without a day off. Whether that is rehearsing, performing, teaching or all three it can be pretty draining on the mind and body. There are a few ways that you can make sure to take care of all of you. Of course there is not a specific set rules on how to care for your body, but here are some helpful hints that you can try in order to keep you in tip top shape!
1) Sleep! Make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night. Also, don’t underestimate a 20 minute cat nap. One trick to increase the effects of a nap is to drink a cup of coffee before your cat nap and you will wake up feeling full of energy. Why the coffee? Well caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in, so your brain gets a little down time while your body is reaping the benefits of a cup of joe! Just make sure your nap doesn’t exceed 20 minutes, if your nap is too long you will feel groggy the rest of the day instead of energized.
2) Diet. Make sure you are getting enough protein, fruits, and veggies. Carbs are great for giving you immediate energy and a full feeling but after you’ve burned up the carbs if there isn’t anything else in your system, like lean protein, you energy and body will crash in no time. Also, make sure you are eating every 4 hours. By eating more often than usual you will be able to keep your energy up and your belly full of good food. Follow this link for some examples about making a balanced diet . . . http://www.buzzle.com/articles/balanced-diet-chart.html
3) H20 . . .the key to success! Often when tired, I find myself reaching for a cup of coffee instead of a glass of water. Drinking at least 8 glasses a day will keep the lactic acid moving out of your system and of course keep you hydrated. Being dehydrated can not only lead you to intense headaches but also can be a contributing factor to injuries. The last thing you want is to hurt your chances of success because you didn’t drink enough water. Since it is starting to get warm outside it is especially important to get in your glasses!
4) Down time. . . yes, you need to relax! Even if it is only 1 hour to watch your favorite TV show or listen to some music, you have to give yourself a few moments in your day to unplug. If you don’t find time to take it easy daily, you can risk overloading, and if you’re like me being overloaded can be okay for a while but long term can have some consequences. I generally can get pretty cranky and have a solid break down. To avoid this for myself and for my friends, I have had to learn to relax. It is not an easy task but it can do wonders for the mind and body.
I hope this advice can help you during your busy times. These tips and tricks have certainly helped me, and I hope that you find use for them too! Happy Dancing!