Today marks the final week of waltz classes this month. Overall it’s been a good experience. The first lesson had me overwhelmed and frustrated. Fortunately the following two went much smoother. I’m looking forward to class tonight and I’m already thinking of what dances I want to learn next. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from dance class.
1. Lower your expectations.
For both you and your instructor. Especially if you’ve never done it before. At my first waltz class I had the unrealistic idea I’d be able to learn each step perfectly with minimal practice. Unreasonable, yes. But welcome to the mind of an introvert and perfectionist. After that first class, I gave myself permission to make mistakes. It became my goal to learn as much as possible each night. As a result, each class was more enjoyable and I had a lot more fun.
2. Embrace the instructor.
While you do this physically when you dance haha, I’m referring more to their style of teaching. My first waltz instructor was very intense. He spoke fast, moved fast, and expected a lot. My current instructor is the exact opposite. He’s laid back, makes lots of jokes, and ensures everyone is comfortable. He spends a lot of time on the little details. Neither way is wrong, simply different, and you can learn from both.
3. Do hard things.
Walking into a dance class full of strangers is terrifying. I still have to psych myself up for a lesson even though I love dancing. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone helps you grow. Embrace challenge! The confidence, discipline, dedication, and perseverance you develop will help you in all other aspects of life.
4. Take care of yourself.
If you aren’t used to dancing, the new movements can leave you stiff and sore the next day. Fortunately my legs are used to worse abuse than dancing (I’m looking at you dead lifts and squats) so they were okay. But it was a good reminder. I need to be more deliberate and proactive about taking care of myself. I need to get enough sleep, take active rest days, stay hydrated, stretch daily, and practice good nutrition. My mental health also needs to be more of a priority.
Learning is fun, something I’ve rediscovered through dance. But I’m always looking forward to the next step and often miss out on the NOW. I’m learning to stop, breathe, look around, and take note of what I’m feeling. Time goes by fast. I don’t want to miss out on all the wonderful, little details that make life so beautiful.
What’s your favourite hobby or activity?
I read a blog post a while ago that really resonated with me. I’ll include a link to it here. It’s talking about how necessary self care is to maintain both physical and mental health. When we hear the words ‘self care’, we usually think of the fun stuff. Alone time, bubble baths, reading a good book, or going for a walk. All these things are great, and should be done! But we often don’t think about the less glamorous, but equally important self care tasks:
- Write it all out.
Write up a list of all the things you need to do (and have probably been putting off). Then, beside each task, give yourself a reasonable deadline. I find that writing things down helps me remember them and helps organize my thoughts.
- Pay your bills.
This is an important part of daily life but I always wait until last minute. Paying your rent, utilities, phone bill, internet/cable bill, credit card payments and more is incredibly important. Or if they’re withdrawn automatically, be aware of when they’re taken out and ensure you have sufficient funds available in your account.
- Work on your budget.
If you’ve already perfected your budget, that’s fantastic. For the rest of us, especially starting out, it can take some tweaking to figure out the best way to direct our funds. But once you have a budget in place its easier to start saving and planning for future purchases or events.
- Maintain your vehicle (if you own one).
Things like oil changes and regular maintenance help prolong your vehicle’s efficiency and can circumvent potential issues. You can even learn how to top up your own windshield washer fluid and change your own oil.
- Keep your living space tidy.
Doing the little things can help contribute to peace of mind and contentment. Finish washing up those dishes in the sink, sweep and mop the floor, vacuum, make your bed, organize and de-clutter the counters and table. You’ll feel so much better when things are in order.
- Maintain your body and mind.
Keeping up with dental check ups and vision exams is so important. Work on mindfulness, meditation, or breathing exercises if you need to find peace of mind. If you’re struggling personally, counselling may be something to consider. Your mind and body are so important and deserve special care.
- Strengthen personal connections.
The people we surround ourselves with are the ones who enrich our lives. Take extra time to connect with those you cherish. Let them know how much they mean to you. This doesn’t mean you have to invite them out (though you certainly can if you’d like). Even sending a quick email or text can help strengthen those bonds.
Do you have any additional self care tips?