How to deal (emotionally) when you have a dance injury
We've all been there: you're having a great class, when suddenly you land wrong from a jump or feel pain from a chronic injury start to set in. The next day you see the doctor, and your worst fear arises - you have to take time off. For dancers, dealing with injuries can often be scarier than the injury itself. But do not fear! I have some tips that may help you cope with the annoyance and often loss of identity when dancers are forced to take time off from their art.
Tip #1: Don't despair!
This is often the most difficult, but also the most important piece of advice to follow. Injuries are part of a dancer's life, and even the best of us must face them at some point. However, it's crucial to stay positive and not worry about how long you might be out of class or rehearsal. Having a good attitude helps the healing process. Think about it - we are more likely to catch a cold when we are stressed and run-down than when we have had plenty of rest. Try meditating, hugging your pet, whatever works to help you relax. Your body will thank you.
Tip #2: Focus on spending more time with friends and family.
For me, this is HUGE. As dancers, we are often so busy juggling school, rehearsals, and part-time jobs that we hardly have time to just "hang out" with friends. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE. You now have plenty of time to spend with the people you love! This can also help with #1. There's nothing better than having a nice long chat with your best friend over some coffee and croissants, and it will also help take your mind off your injury.
Tip #3: Explore new interests.
Finding new hobbies will help you fill your time and you may even discover something new that you love! This is great knowledge to have about yourself. Too often, it's easy to think of ourselves as dancers and nothing else. But this isn't true - you are a person, first and foremost, and are shaped by many factors in your life. So feel free to try something new! Try cooking dinner for yourself and your family, writing or journaling, learning photography, or even a new workout such as swimming or lifting weights (if possible). You never know what you might enjoy.
Tip #4: Take a free online class.
This kind of goes along with #3. If you are not currently in school, this is a great idea to help keep your mind sharp and learn something new in a relaxed environment. Many universities now offer free online courses in a variety of subjects. Coursera.com is a great site that offers many different classes. I'm currently taking a computer programming class for beginners and it's super interesting, and not something I would gravitate towards! However, I love keeping up with my study-skills and heading to a coffee shop to get some work done.
I hope these tips were helpful. Stay healthy everyone!
Post written by Christine, apprentice at Allegro Dance Boutique Evanston and trainee with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.