A Heart-to-Heart about Dance and Mental Health.
Hey—how are you holding up? I hope that you are doing well and are taking care of yourself. I know that these times are hard and can take a toll on you both mentally and physically. Whether you are fighting this with your loved ones, friends, or even by yourself; I just wanted to let you know that you are going to get through this. We all know the effects Covid has been having on all of us physically, but it’s important to look into your mental health as well.
Halting your daily routine and being cooped up all day in your home can have altering effects to anyone. Some may see this as an opportunity to get work done; a rare moment to harvest all your energy into a new project and start a new chapter. However, for others it can feel like the complete opposite. You might feel like you are trapped with no motivation to continue your work, unable to leave bed, or sometimes get lost in the rabbit hole of social media and compare your daily life to everyone’s accomplishments. If you are like me, you fall into both categories with some days filled with motivation and fire to get things done, and other times unable to continue working without feeling overwhelmed. But if there is one thing I have learned throughout my little journey in quarantine is the arts and dance will always have my back.
As a dancer and dance teacher, I’ve come to witness the arts suffering greatly these past few months. The thing that keeps us afloat has been halted and has been for good reason. Although dance classes and other forms of art expression have been stopped, the resilience dancers hold surpass the barriers of Covid-19 bringing therapy to those who seek it and to those who may not even know they are seeking it.
The arts and dance in most countries are not considered essential work, and although they may not be in the eyes of global leaders (I’m not saying open up all doors haha, social distancing is still very much needed to keep the curve down), I’ve come to realize that the arts is essential for the mental health of millions around the world. With many professions and workplaces temporarily shut down, people have turned to the arts as a form of entertainment and coping. From tik tok dance videos to free concerts done by artists, and neighbourhood block concerts held from balconies, the arts became an essential in helping fight mental health. With all of this being said, what I’m trying to get at is art and dance is needed and has helped us in many ways; and in essence way more than the amount of credit we give it.
So take care—take care of your head and your heart, recognize the thoughts and feelings you are having without judgement and allow yourself to feel them. Focus on something positive like dance class and use that to fuel you forward during quarantine. Do the things you love and aim to do it every day and enjoy it to the fullest. Dance, all day, every day or for as long as you want. Learn dances on tik tok, YouTube or even Instagram but make sure you are staying healthy mentally. This time will pass and you will get through it. Stay connected with your friends, your family, your colleagues and neighbours and If there is one thing I want to emphasize it’s that the impact that Covid has had on the arts industry will recover in time. Until then, it will be here for you no matter what life throws your way.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. but poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
- Dead Poets Society.