As dedicated teachers and studio owners, you know how hard it can be to take time for yourself. After-work hours fill up with ticketing tasks, costume ordering, music editing and more, until suddenly even downtime is dance time. The trouble is, when studio responsibilities invade every aspect of your personal life, you’re never really taking a break, and you’re putting yourself at risk for burnout, stress and exhaustion.
At last year’s Dance Teacher Summit, Kim DelGrosso of Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Utah led a seminar called “Fill Your Cup,” urging teachers and studio owners to nurture themselves for the sake of their careers, as well as their sanity. “Take care of yourself so you can take care of your students,” she said. “You can’t fill everyone else’s cup if yours is completely depleted.” DelGrosso shared her favorite rejuvenating pursuits, like listening to music and spending time in nature. Taking time for activities outside of work helps her maintain a grateful and positive attitude, she says, making her a better teacher and business owner.
Here are a few activities that may feel like pure leisure but have been shown to improve mental and physical health. Some take less than an hour but still help you relax and recharge to be your best self at work. We’ve even included low-budget alternatives. So go ahead, treat yourself. It’s good for you.
If you’ve finished answering a slew of client e-mails with your shoulders hiked up to your ears, you know that physical and mental stress are closely linked. Massage is a time-tested way to release tension in the body, which can help ease your mind and get you ready to confront the myriad demands when you return to the studio. Studies suggest that, in addition to promoting stress reduction, massage can also soothe headaches (even migraines), boost immunity, reduce PMS and promote better sleep.
• On a budget: Swap gentle backrubs with a partner for a soothing experience. Skip the heavy pounding and pummeling, though, so nobody gets hurt.
It may sound too good to be true, but shopping can be good for you. A trip to the mall offers rejuvenating “me” time if you go alone, or a stimulating social opportunity with a friend. What’s more, in recent consumer interviews, many people described shopping, whether online or in a store, as a head-clearing distraction, a way to reset their brains when they’ve been working on the same problem for a long time. Think of it as a mini mental vacation. You’ll focus more successfully on revamping registration policies if you have a clear head.
• On a budget: Window shopping, virtually or live, is just as mentally refreshing as dropping the big bucks.
Going to the movies is more than just a fun escape. Research shows that laughing while watching films significantly lowers your blood pressure and can reduce anxiety, aggression and fear. Also, seeing characters confront fictional problems can change how you think about your own challenges. If a conflict with a staff member or parent has your stomach tied in knots, taking a time-out for a funny movie may help you approach the issue with a fresh perspective.
• On a budget: Thank goodness for Netflix. Stream a flick and stay in.
Get Outta Town
Especially if you have a tendency to constantly bring work home, you should consider taking a trip to truly let go. People who take vacations have a lower risk of heart disease, not to mention lower stress and more motivation to achieve goals than their workaholic counterparts. Even an overnight getaway is enough to reap the benefits.
• On a budget: A “stay-cation” can also be relaxing, assuming you have the self-control to put down the sequins and glue gun and step away from the costume catalogs. However, a recent study shows that passive leisure is less effective than active leisure (like traveling) for alleviating job stress. DT
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