• emilysophie

When everything is overwhelming you, do this...

Life as a dancer can get full on, so if/when you begin to feel the overwhelm creeping in, be sure to do the following...

Life as a dancer brings with it, a full and sometimes heavy schedule. There are classes to get to, rehearsals to join, shows to perform, plus all the regular things like eating, sleeping and socialising etc...

Something many dancers avoid is rest. Rest is kind of seen as the enemy! And yet, rest is the key to remaining a fully functioning dancer. And rest doesn't even have to mean taking a week off. Rest can be so much simpler.

The feelings of overwhelm can start slow, or they may all rush to you at once. It's the feeling of not being able to cope, the feeling of a weight on top of you, the feeling of too much inside your head that might just burst out.

Regular humans try to do it all. Dancers do all of that and then some. So no wonder feelings of overwhelm creep in from time to time. But having this tool up your sleeve will give you the confidence you need to know that if/when you feel those familiar feelings bubbling up, you'll know how to simmer them down quickly.

And the best tool you have in your toolbox, is your breath.

It's simple, it's free and it's available to everyone all the time. It's also a version of resting. See, much simpler than you thought!

Using your breath, is kind of like waving a magic wand. It makes all the not so welcome feelings just, melt away.

Breathing is something we all do, every single day but it's also something most of us don't pay much attention to.

Our breath gives us clues. If you're feeling tense, your breathing will often be short, sharp and shallow, if you're feeling relaxed, your breath will often be long, deep and full.

What's great, is that we can go from one state to the next in just a few breaths.

If you're starting to feel tense or overwhelmed, placing the focus on your breath-counting in for 4 as you inhale through your nose, then counting out for 4 as you exhale through your mouth-can do absolute wonders for our entire state.

When we don't feel at our best, we want something to quickly help us make these feelings go away and using our breath is probably the best tool we could ever have been given.

Try it right now-close your eyes if you want to. Just simply focus on your breath and don't try and change anything at first. Simply notice it and become aware of it. Then become aware of how your body and your muscles feel, then your mind...then come back to your breath.

Now focus on breathing in for 4 through your nose and out for 4 through your mouth and do this maybe 4 times through to start with and then check in again-how do you feel-do a full head to toe mind/body scan.

If you need to repeat the process, keep going. There is no time limit for this and you can come back to it whenever you need to.

The next time you feel as if overwhelm might be coming to play...stop, close your eyes, tune in, focus on your breath and practice breathing in for 4 and out for 4 until you eventually begin to feel your state changing to a much calmer, more positive place.

Emily Sophie

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