HERE ARE FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD ASK YOURSELF THIS WEEK.
For those of you who are wondering, it’s Vanessa (Groove Therapy Founder) writing here from BARBADOS. It’s been dreamy but I’ve taken the time to research, read, grow and evaluate life.
Today, I felt the familiar sensation of an invisible boa constrictor wrapping itself around my chest and tightening. Ahh my old friend, anxiety.
Now there’s something you need to know. This isn’t the part where I spill about how my life is falling apart. I’m good at identifying when my body is feeling anxious well before my conscious state of mind knows what’s bugging me. Better yet though, I’ve developed an incredible set of coping mechanisms that keep me on top of my mental health and life in general.
I don’t know if this is something that you do and I’m certainly not some wise preacher here to be preachy like a preachy preacher…but JUST in case you’re a bit curious you can read about what works for me.
These are the four questions I like to ask myself:
1. How am I valuing my time?
Have you ever sat back after a whole day (week/month) and thought ‘What have I even achieved?’
OMG SAME! Personally I feel the worst when I’ve thrown away my day mindlessly watching people’s insta stories, attended time waster meetings that didn’t need to happen, sent a slew of vague, inconclusive admin emails back and forth and clickbaited my way through every cat video on the internet.
I tell you what though, chilling in Barbados where you have work to get through + the beach of your dreams waiting outside makes you get a days work done in 3 – 4 hours. You cut the bullshit on vague emails, you set strict meeting timelines and you start your day with a list of things that need to get done and you methodically cross each of them off in a frenzy to get to the beach.
Why as a society do we waste our time on such shallow screen time? You have my word that I am going to try a few tips and tricks to reduce my social media, email and clickbait habits and I will share them with you if anything sticks in the next few months ok?
I think we all need to work as if a metaphorical beach chair in Barbados is waiting for us outside.
2. Who is my community right now?
No really who is it? You’re the average of your environment and the product of the five people you hang out with the most. My biggest thing is to call the fam bam at every possible opportunity, check in with the bf about feelings n shit and make sure I attend dance class on the reg. This is about seeing familiar faces each week, learning names, adding routine to my life and becoming part of a community. In New York I’ve gone back to my original dance roots and enrolled in a classical Indian dance school here. I attend between 2 – 4 times per week on top of house classes every Friday, hip hop classes on Wednesdays and a heels or vogue class whenever my schedule will let me squeeze it in. After the last 2 months, being a face that your teacher and other students recognise has been huge for my mental health! It validates my existence and let’s me know that a city as big as New York doesn’t have to feel so big or overwhelming.
3. How much money do I need?
My bf just told me the most mind-blowing quote which sums up my rambling life ethos in the most simple sentence.
“If you don’t know how much you need, the answer is always more”
OMFG THAT IS SO WOKE I CANNOT EVEN. When I’m stressing about growth, sales and projected numbers and shit on excel spreadsheets I like to go back to my baseline happiness budget I drew up a year ago. It covers costs for me to pay rent, eat food, treat myself and also fund our community projects. It turns out that I don’t need to make nearly as much money as I keep stressing over. I know money is a yuck thing to talk about but honestly, a baseline happiness budget has been a HUGE reliever of my little invisible boa constrictor friend.
4. Have I danced this week?
The answer to this for me has been no. It’s been some 7 days since I’ve danced and I’ve spent the evenings drinking cocktails and eating chips. This is an excess of sugar, alcohol and fried food in my system without any of the natural endorphins, cardio and self-expression that dance gives me. What is your dance de-stresser technique? In my bf’s case it’s surfing or getting into nature. For other people it’s lifting weights. You just need to try all the things and see what sticks I guess.
These four questions got me thinking today – I feel unhealthy, I haven’t danced and I haven’t had a sense of routine in my life for a week and we’ve just made the executive decision to launch online dance classes (YES) which is a scary new life chapter of the unknown and a huge load of work to put it together.
It’s left me feeling unsettled about Groove Therapy admin and what I’ll need to jump back into when I head back to NY. So I had a little dance session in the hotel room, found a cool little vegan cafe that filled my body up with good nutrients and time managed the day to research everything possible about launching an online dance class series (ok QUICK PLUG: it’s for peeps who can’t come to our regular classes because they are scared/time poor/geographically unable or just want extra practise).
It ended up becoming a really exciting and productive day! My tight chest is gone.
Now this was a mild tight chest situation and this is just MY way of dealing with mild anxiety. I know a bowl of veggies doesn’t just fix you but my enormous ego was sufficiently stroked by thinking I’d been mad healthy and efficient *once* and this was a huge reliever for me.
I completely acknowledge that we can’t just write down simple blanket dot points to ‘fix’ people. We’ve all walked different life paths, we’re all built differently and we’re all prone to dealing with stress differently.
I just hope that you’re not letting life slip by on this wonderful Monday by letting stress always get the better of you. I hope you’re taking care of yourself and maybe reading this to know that we all have good and bad days.You are not alone.
I’d also love to hear more. What are your coping mechanisms?
Groove Therapy is a dance community aimed at bringing the mental and physical benefits of dance to all walks of life. You can book yourself in for class here.