I put Looney Tunes on this morning as background while I worked on today’s post. Sometimes I really miss the old classic Saturday morning cartoons. Looney Tunes were the best! Yes, incredibly violent, but also brilliant! What led me to Looney Tunes was noting the number of bruises I’m currently sporting on my legs: one on my left knee, one on my right shin, one on my left ankle, and two on my right ankle. I’m like a slapstick character, get it?
It’s not unusual for me to have a few bruises. Despite my apparent skill in dancing, I am a klutz! If there is a table corner, my knee will bang into it. I’ve sliced the top of a toe or two doing lock steps in rhythm shoes and kicked myself more times than I can remember while practicing smooth. I also have two very active german shepherd/husky mixes! One of my bruises is from one of them jumping and landing on my ankle.
This week I’ve also been fighting a cold. It’s been a rough week! But thinking honestly about it, it’s my own fault. I haven’t been taking great care of myself. I’ve been lazy about eating healthy and have been letting life’s stresses get to me. I’ve been neglecting my self care. You may have heard the term before; it seems to have gained popularity recently. I hadn’t heard the phrase until the last year or so. The idea isn’t new – take care of yourself! But modern life is so full of to-dos and taking care of other people that it’s become very easy to neglect ourselves. And self care isn’t just about taking care of the body by getting enough sleep and eating healthy. It’s also about taking care of the mind by setting aside time that is just for you and doing something that brings you joy.
I bring up self care because as you move further along on your journey in pursuit of your passion, the concept is going to become more and more important. You are going to need to be at your best to reach those dreams! I had to reschedule one of my dance lessons this week because I was sick, and my ankle is still a little sore from my dog jumping on it. These are minor, temporary health issues, but what if it was the week of a competition?
You can’t live in a bubble obviously, and I don’t think you should try. Injuries and illnesses happen. But if you are actively managing your self care, some of those can be avoided and you’ll recover from others faster. I don’t think I would have caught this cold if I had been treating myself and managing my stress better during the last couple weeks.
As I advance in my dancing, the steps get harder, the moves get bigger, and the technique becomes more important. I need to be more mindful of taking care of my body, so it won’t struggle to dance the way I want it to dance. And I need to take care of my mind, so I’ll be strong enough to handle my demons when they act up and to take on new projects, such as my writing aspirations.
I want to continue connecting with and writing for other dance websites. I want to write books on my ballroom experiences! I won’t be able to do those things if I’m constantly weary and stressed. It was a challenge for me this week just to get my daily blog posts published.
I wrote before about realizing the need to increase my flexibility and stamina as I moved up into silver. I started swimming laps in my complex’s pool with a friend and participated in the Journey to Splits challenge. Confession: I have a problem with discipline and consistency. I kept up the stretching for a few weeks, maybe a month, after the splits challenge ended. A lot of scheduling conflicts interfered with pool time with my friend and I couldn’t motivate myself to go alone.
So I’m renewing my efforts to better my physical health, but modifying the approach. Instead of forcing myself to do things I think I should do, which just plays to my weakness of a lack of discipline, I’m going to focus on what doesn’t need forcing: dancing! I found a Zumba class that is only $5 and even less if I sign up for a group of them. An hour once or twice per week of intense cardio in the form of Zumba routines should help my stamina!
I’m also going to recommit to going to the studio for Teacher’s group classes twice a week. I haven’t gone in awhile because all of my money was tied up in USDC and Ohio Star Ball. They don’t really advertise the classes, so more often than not, no one shows up. So if that happens and class isn’t held, I will use the time to practice. I always stretch before my practice; it has become part of my warm-up routine. It feels more natural than remembering to take 10 random minutes at home to do it. So by planning on going to dance at the studio more, I’ll get more stretching in, which will help my flexibility.
I’m also renewing my efforts to better my mental health and, more specifically, reduce stress by better organizing my goals and dreams. Pursuing one goal often leads to other goals, and I’m the kind of person that will get really excited about an idea and want to jump in right away. But if I have multiple projects ongoing, I can also get overwhelmed easily. Creating a schedule and breaking bigger goals down into smaller pieces will help me to continue making progress without increasing my stress level. Less stress also means a happier me! Who doesn’t want to be happier?
Don’t forget to check out other posts from the 31 Day Writing Challenge!