It's a well-known fact that self-care is extra important for dancers. We're super busy and constantly running from school to class to rehearsal and back again. And as dancers, we deal with quite a bit of mental pressure (like our often super-intense desire to be perfect). Not to mention, we're constantly putting our bodies through intense physical stress. So, yeah, it's safe to say that finding some balance in our lives is kinda important. When dancers learn to slow down and take care of themselves, their art is truly better for it.
Which is why, on this #MindfulnessMonday, we were super inspired by New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns' interview over at Sakara Life's The S Life magazine. Mearns dishes about her wellness rituals and how she makes sure she's operating at 100%, even when her schedule's insane. And you should trust her, because not only did she just wrap up NYCB's fall season, but she's heading right into performances for The Red Shoes, which opens at New York City Center later in the week.
"I would say practicing self-care and taking time for yourself is huge," Mearns told S Life Mag. "I can get so stressed at the theater and stepping away, taking a moment to regain clarity and clear your mind is key."
She also believes dancers are athletes and, therefore, need to be treating their bodies as such. "Basically our daily life revolves around our body," she says. "We consider our body to be a sacred temple that needs and deserves the utmost care and devotion. We have to realize that we're not machines, so the more we listen to the body, the longer it can sustain such an intense physical career."
And she admits, it took her a while to learn. "In my early-to-mid twenties, I wasn't as in tune with the important balance between work and rest," Mearns explains. "I have since learned my lesson many times over, and everyone knows that my body comes first when it comes to my daily routine. I have a check list in my head of what I need to do and what parts of my body are hurting and what feels good."
Her top rituals? "Hot showers and stretching are huge morning rituals for me. At night, I take epsom salt baths, ice whatever is hurting, then rub Voltaren cream on my muscles," says Mearns. "I prioritize hydration and drink about 2 liters of water a day, and eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and good protein."
Read the full interview for more details about her wellness journey, and make sure to take some time out today to indulge yourself—you deserve it!