Guest Post: The Mental Health Benefits of Dancing by Rachel James

Please welcome to the blog, Rachel James! She is a fellow blogger out of the UK who kindly put together a few important reminders for all of us dance enthusiasts. The topic of this article may seem obvious to us, but obvious benefits can be easily taken for granted. Also, what is obvious to us is not obvious to all. So help spread the word! Let everyone know about the wonderful and amazing mental health benefits of dance.

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Understanding Why My Body Hurts

Happy Saturday, dancers! Life has kept me busy over the last few weeks. I was travelling for about a week (airports and airplanes were a lot fuller than my last trip in February!). The day after I returned home, I was sitting in line to get my second dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine. I’ll be fully charged in another week, yay! Go go gadget Covid shield! For those interested, I had one day of fever and body aches following the shot. Unfortunately, the body aches triggered one of my headaches (it doesn’t take much) and that hung around for several days. It was interesting how the fever and body aches came and went. I described it to a friend like doing a system check – flip the switches on and then flip them off. I was feverish and then I wasn’t. There was no lingering.

Luckily, I was free of all symptoms in time for my first dance lesson in two weeks. I didn’t have the opportunity to solo practice while I was gone (aside from visualizations), so my body was either going to love or hate me for jumping back in. Sometimes I feel like the Tin Man during those first few dance steps as I shake the rust off my joints. Our warmup Waltz felt pretty good though!

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Sometimes You Just Gotta Check Out

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you may have noticed that I typically post a new article every weekend, with the occasional bonus guest post or interview in the middle of the week. Last weekend, I decided not to post. In fact, last weekend I decided to check out of several of my usual activities, including watching or reading the news and checking in on my social media feeds.

It was all part of my election week selfcare plan.

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After Seven Months, I’m Still Grieving

It’s been over seven months since the pandemic sent me home to work at my kitchen table until further notice. In addition to packing up my cubicle, I had to clear my schedule. The ballroom dance competition where I was going to debut in a new style, the wine-tasting trip that a close friend and I were taking to celebrate our birthdays, the cruise to Alaska with my mom — it was all wiped away by our unwelcome guest, SARS-CoV-2…

Continue reading on my Medium page.

It’s the Little Things

As we advance along our ballroom dance journey, the fixes, adjustments and tweaks we make to create higher quality movement become smaller and smaller. We learn what the steps are, how to do those steps, and then how to actually dance in between and through the steps. Each level builds on the one before it. This process can get frustrating though because every time you start to think you know what you’re doing, you find out you’ve barely scratched the surface.

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Stoking the Dance Fire

Hi dancers! How’s Day 6549723 in quarantine going for you? It’s starting to feel like a real-life version of Groundhog Day here, without the public gatherings of course. I’m coming to you a day early because the day job asked me to take some vacation days while I barely have any work to do (insert slightly worried emoji here).

Week after week of staying home is creating a new challenge for me in writing. I usually take inspiration from my experiences, and after five weeks of basically the same experience, it’s kinda hard to come up with something new to write about!

Week 5 did bring a couple new developments that I’ll share. I also want to remind you that the next workshop in The Girl with the Tree Tattoo series is only a week away, so be sure to register soon! These workshops are just one way I’m stoking the inner dance fire (keep reading, I’ll explain).

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One Impossible Thing at a Time

Tomorrow marks a full month of working from home. Time has been moving at an erratic pace. It feels like months since I had a dance lesson, years since I last competed, and yet, have I really been home for an entire month already?

Week 4 of staying at home brought its own challenges, but I held fast to the idea of pacing myself. Finding the right pace turned out to be one of the challenges, and the search continues.

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Dancing on Carpet and Other Quarantine Challenges

Three weeks in. It’s been interesting to reflect on how each week of staying home has brought something different. The first week was full of stress and anxiety. The second week was full of motivation and determination to not sit and wait for things to “get back to normal” and instead, accept this new reality and figure out how I was going to thrive in it. Week 3 unfortunately had me paying for some of that enthusiasm.

But as I always say, it’s all part of the journey!

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