About creating expectations, taking breaks, putting too much pressure on yourself and giving in, by Marit Meloe

It is easy to give advice. It easy to tell other people to take care of themselves, to listen to their body. Asking them if they are okay, hugging them when you see they are struggling. Listening to your own voice telling people to be mindful about how they treat themselves, to allow themselves breaks when needed. Words coming out of your own mouth, hearing them and meaning them, wanting other people to feel good and to be okay.

It is easy to give away your energy. To care more for other people than for yourself. Today I struggled. Today I hit a wall, having to give in to my own tiredness. I have not been honest with myself and my well-being. I know I have been exhausted, I have felt my body struggling. I have woken up some mornings asking myself if this is a day where I should not go to school, where I should stay home and allow myself to take care of my personal well-being. To allow myself a tiny little break, in the middle of it all. But I have never listened, always gotten up out of the bed and gone to school, working hard as I always do, living up to what is expected from me. Being on it every single day, telling myself that I can do this and I love doing this and that I should be grateful to have been given such a wonderful opportunity to do what I am meant to be doing.

In the bubble that we live in as dancers we are taught to push through. Taught to leave our issues outside of the studio. Taught that when we are tired, we have to confront the tiredness and keep going. Doing this, we will find new ways of moving, we will find new energy and explore opportunities we would have missed if we gave up. Therefore I never give up, not even when my body screams to slow down, to take a look inside. I go through everyday, thinking some new revelation will appear if I just push through. One more week, one more day, one more class.

When do you listen to your body and decide not to push through? I thought I had a good balance in my life, taking time for myself in the weekends and evenings, doing things I enjoy doing and trying to get a good 9-hour sleep every night. Therefore, I never felt that I had the right to take a break. I haven’t been able to sort out the difference between giving up and taking a break. I have not been taking a break because I have felt like that would be the same as giving up, and for me giving up is a synonym for being weak. I have not been listening to the advice I have given away to other people. I have created so many rules for myself, putting to much pressure on my self and expectations to reach. As dancers the body is our most important tool, and if the body is not well our mind is not well either. Today I fully understood the meaning of body and mind being one.

I just want to give one last bit of advice to all my fellow dancers, which I hope for once I can manage to follow myself. Do that thing that makes you feel really good, that relaxes you and makes you happy. Allow yourself to listen to your body when it is trying to tell you how it feels, what ever that means. For me, today, it meant going home early from school, having a good old cry and letting go of the pressures I put on myself. And for god’s sake, have a RESTFUL reading week.

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