We are strongest when we are at our emotional best. It doesn’t always seem like the two should be connected at first glance, but your emotional health is important in how your body functions. Too much stress or exhaustion will negatively impact your training as a pole dancer. In turn, this might make you feel like you’ve “lost” a part of your training, or something just isn’t right.
Compound that with the fact that studios are closed at the time of writing due to COVID-19, it makes sense to attribute it to a personal lack of motivation or inability to pole dance at home – but that’s not quite true.
Signs You are Emotionally Exhausted
- Unusual Fatigue with Less Activity
- Consistent Symptoms of Anxiety or Worry
- Irritability or Denial
- Emotional Detachment or Apathy
These are just some signs of emotional exhaustion. The signs can vary depending on the level as well as personal circumstances.
The main takeaway is: if you are experiencing this right now, during a pandemic, this is completely normal. This is how your body reacts to chronic stress or a traumatic event, and it’s called allostatic overload, as outlined by stress researcher Lisa Johnson:
“[…]Basically, the body’s physiological stress systems overreact without sufficient outlet. This causes fatigue of many bodily systems, ultimately resulting in both physical and psychological exhaustion.”
The bottom line: it’s okay to not be productive or strong all the time.
It is still important to continue listening to what your body needs and try to maintain a balance between physical exercise and rest, but know that it’s okay to feel this way.
Many of us are feeling this way, especially as we go through these lockdowns. Studios are closed, jobs are uncertain, everyone is feeling a low level of anxiety or worry, and we are learning how to cope with a new way of living.
Of course this can affect your pole training!
When your body is exhausted from these outside circumstances, it’s not going to perform the best physically. Self-care has always been a vital part of training as an aerialist, but now it is even more critical to balance.
How to Practice Self-Care to Regain Strength
Spend time alone and dance
Put on some music that gets you feeling the groove. You don’t have to record it, you don’t have to follow a class, or even have a pole. Floorwork it out, learn some chair moves, or just wiggle around a move your body!
Set the mood and move to it in a private space, even if it’s your bathroom. It doesn’t need to be perfect or good. It doesn’t have to be long, either – twenty minutes or two hours, it doesn’t matter – the important thing is that you move.
Create a space that is completely yours
It can be hard to maintain our own personal balance when we have to share our space with others during a quarantine. Maybe you and your partner are both working from home, or you’re living with family, or roommates who may not be entirely supportive. Maybe the kids are home and you’re feeling overwhelmed with keeping up with the house.
Find a space where you can be uninterrupted and fill it with thing that you love.
Cozy blankets, books, warm tea, plants – whatever gives you a sense of peace and calm.
It might just be a temporary space – a dry bathtub filled with blankets and pillows, incense on the counter and candles to set the mood, your favorite book ready to read.
How amazing does that sound?
It might even be jamming out to your favorite tunes in the middle of your living room with crazy, pent-up energy you need to get out.
Give your body physical rest
Rest is important for your emotional and physical health – period. If you feel tired, don’t beat yourself about it. Instead, take a short nap. 20-30 minutes isn’t an interruption to the day, and you’ll feel rejuvenated when you wake up. You’ll be surprised at how much more energy you have with daily catnaps.
Stay consistent with your physical exercise
You might be used to working out at your pole studio, or even at your local gym. You might not have a home gym, or workout space. That’s fine.
It’s still important to keep up with your physical exercise. Even if you don’t have a whole floor to yourself, there’s always space for your body. You can work on bodyweight exercises and stretching routines if nothing else, just to keep your body moving and healthy.
Prepare a meal you love with mindful intention
Sometimes, it’s the intention that matters. You might be used to eating just to fuel your body or to tick “mealtime” off the chore list, so for one meal, change it up.
Prepare a meal that you particularly enjoy; something that nourishes your body. Prep the ingredients and cook with mindful attention. When you’re done cooking, sit and give yourself the space to eat mindfully. Enjoy the taste, mindfully chew, and do your best to enjoy the experience in itself.
Unplug from the internet and reconnect with nature
The internet is a place where there’s something always happening. There’s a new pole trick, a post from your favorite pole star, or maybe you’re chatting with studio mates.
It might be tempting to scroll through social media, binge Netflix, or get lost on Instagram for a few hours while you’re stuck at home. Instead, set a time each day to spend with nature, whether it’s houseplants or just sitting in your backyard.
If you have a stage pole, set it up in your backyard (weather permitting) and enjoy a dance outdoors!