Here’s the thing: If you let it, the holiday season will support a more balanced approach to auditions. Are you shocked? Hear me out. You can focus on your health for auditions.
Throughout your Nutcracker run, I hope you have been prioritizing adequate fuel and meeting your personal needs. It can be a time of restriction — sometimes intentional, sometimes not because of the busy schedule and lack of free time for meal preparation and planning.
If you’ve been underfueling, the holidays can be a time to regain balance. This would mean eating more, incorporating more variety (cookies too), and giving your body and mind lots of rest.
Ask yourself if your current approach is balanced.
At The Whole Dancer, we’re all about self-reflection to build self-trust and honesty. So ask yourself important questions and commit to answering honestly. The truth is, there may be times when you’re not able to be honest with yourself; that’s when it’s time to meet with a support person.
Have you been cutting back on meals or snacks lately? Have you gotten into a headspace where you’ve eliminated foods or food groups? Do you experience guilt or fear around the sweets and treats of the season?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, the next thing to ask yourself is why?
Prioritizing high-quality fuel should not mean being restrictive.
It’s true — the food you eat gets broken down and metabolized and used by your body as building blocks for new cells, muscle tissue, and energy to propel your body and dancing forward. A good food goal for most dancers is to increase variety! This is how you’ll ensure you’re covering your nutrient bases.
This doesn’t mean your body has no use for less-nutrient-dense food. The cakes, cookies, and treats provide you with energy, and beyond that, they are part of the joy in life. You might decide that eating cookies every day feels balanced to you. That might mean having a cookie with a friend for afternoon tea. Other times it might mean enjoying homemade cookies with high-quality ingredients (think oats, tahini, nuts, seeds, etc.).
Discover balance for yourself.
What I know works for dancers is experimenting and exploring to discover what a balanced approach to these foods means for you. Your personal balance will look nothing like balance for the dancer next to you, and that’s OK.
Some dancers may find they feel better when avoiding refined sugar and using coconut sugar or mashed bananas as sweetener. You won’t know what feels best to you unless you experiment and stay honest with yourself.
Allow yourself to enjoy the holidays so you go into auditions from a place of joy.
To be fully present during the holidays means enjoying the food that brings you happy feelings. For me, balance with holiday treats means enjoying a couple bites of all the foods I enjoy. That may or may not feel balanced for you.
You may need the opportunity of bigger holiday meals to replenish depleted nutrient stores from your busy performing season. Adequate intake will help you build strength and avoid injury.
Connecting with family and friends can fill up your cup, and you can harness that joy and bring it into audition season. If you have moments of stress looking forward to auditions, ask yourself, How can I make this a more joyful, easy process?
Be aware of the messages you take in.
If you’ll be auditioning in the coming months, you have to stay aware of where you are mentally and the messages you’re allowing into your space. This post was actually inspired by a very damaging article I read on a similar subject. The dietitian who wrote the article had extreme, restrictive, and in my opinion unhealthy advice when it comes to food quality and choices.
When you read nutrition, mindset, wellness, or “support” articles (and I put support in quotes because the article I read was not, in my opinion, supportive), ask yourself: Is this helpful or hurtful for me personally?
You should curate your social media feeds to only include things that allow you to reflect and grow. Unfollow or hide the accounts that put you in a state of self-doubt. Allow yourself to move on from articles or posts that don’t serve you.
Bringing your best for auditions isn’t just about one thing.
It’s not just about food and cross-training. To bring your best to auditions, it’s about mindset, mental wellness, planning, support, calm energy, self-care, body image resilience, and anything else that you need to perform from a place of self-trust.
To take action on each of those areas, write them down and consider which area needs your attention the most. Then, create some actions that might help you improve. For example, if you feel like self-care is an area of opportunity for you, pick a few things that will help you progress in that area (dry brushing, taking a bath, 5 minutes to yourself) and decide how you’ll prioritize your action steps.
If you’re looking for a way to start off 2023 from a place of balance and put your health and best dancing at the forefront, join me for the Finding Balance Challenge. Sign up here.