Dance for Self-Care
* Scroll down for articles on/prompts for dancing for mental health and self-care.
I like to get my groove on. Dance to music, I mean.
I am not a fantastic dancer. My flexibility and gracefulness are mediocre. Yet, still, I find myself moving to the music.
I loved school dances and parties, where it was OK to fling your body all about, jump up and down, and shake, shake and shake with your friends, all to the funky beat of your favorite tunes.
As a parent of young children, I rocked down through the kiddie music of the times (well, most of it … definitely with the various gangs from High School Musical and Anna and Elsa from Frozen … not so much with Barney and Friends), when the kids actually wanted me to dance with them.
These days, though, most of my dancing moments are done in the company of one: myself. And that it OK with me, although I am happy to extend my dance party to willing others.
I have an 8’ x 8’ floor mat that is the scene of my dancing queen moves (before that it was the open spaces in and around my kitchen and family room). I have built a dance playlist on my phone with a lot of rhythm. When I get onto the “dance floor,” I turn on the music, start shuffling to its beat and then aim to move my whole body in sync with it. Sometimes my attempts at coordination sorely miss the mark, but nevertheless, I persist. As I dance, I at first often feel stiffness of my joints, but I know that gently moving will help me loosen up. After a while, I’m just having fun and occasionally laughing at my blunders.
And then something kind of miraculous occurs. I lose myself in the music and movement at least for a little while. I am not thinking about anything except the sound and the flow of it as it pulses through me. The dancing connects me to the musicians, the ground beneath my feet and the world outside my windows and pleasant memories of dancing over a lifetime. I’m happy.
Maybe dancing could be a way to get “your happy on” too. Don’t be afraid to try it. While it might initially feel like you are tripping over yourself, hang in there; you’ll find your groove. Don’t fret over trying to achieve star-quality dancing. Bottom line, it’s all about having fun with your own dancing style, without taking it too seriously. Hope you find a little dance bliss.
Article by Kristin Littel.