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Dancing gracefully through life's challenges

All through the beginning weeks (and perhaps it is still happening for you) of Covid-19, if you're anything like me, you may have felt like we were dumped into the middle of a bad science fiction movie. With everyone encouraged to stay home, businesses closed/open/partially opened, and "life as we know it" is a thing of the past, you may feel overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, angry, frightened, guilty...or any or all of the above. It doesn't help that school will be (or maybe not?1) resuming is causing an enormous amount of conflicting messages/advice/laws every second of the day--through friends, family, social media, and the news. Whether or not you are aware of it, these conflicting messages can affect your mental well-being--and this includes children-who may not understand, and teens-who do understand, depending on the teen. Believe me--I am with you--I am standing in the unknown with you. Trying to simply exist... and of course, worry- because, well, that's just me.


I know a secret. And sometimes you can "know" something, but it is difficult to actually DO. But, here it is: Dance provides an escape. Your brain doesn't have room for your inner voice in dance class, because you are concentrating on what you are trying to do, not on what that voice is trying to tell you. On top of the magical self-talk "off" button, exercise releases chemicals, called endorphins, into your system. These endorphins create feelings of positivity and an energizing outlook on life. And who doesn't need some of that right now...well, anytime?



As teenagers, I know a lot of us struggled with negative feelings and just bad situations. For me, the actual movement of dance and escape from reality--not to mention my constant negative inner self chatter-- that dance provided me in turbulent teenage thoughts/feelings was my only saving grace from going down a darker path. Trust me--I experienced normal teen angst and rebellion, and I thank the internet gods that social media wasn't invented... but dance was my way of controlling "me"--my life and my emotions when I felt I was totally out of control.


So, when things are getting too much to handle, or that inner voice is just too loud, consider dancing, moving, stretching. I know that when you're down, the last thing you feel like doing is move, let alone exercise or dance. But, in these troubling and overwhelming times, I encourage you to join a class, or jump on with a virtual class, or turn up your favourite song and let loose!


Resources and other links:

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression#1

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/dance-health-benefits

https://time.com/5484237/dancing-health-benefits/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/why-is-dancing-so-good-your-brain

https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain/dancing-and-brain

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