July 10, 2014 by Nicole
A couple weeks ago, I strained my calf muscle. (No, it wasn’t dance-related. I was taking an Insanity Bootcamp class and I have to hand it to them for truth in advertising – it was crazy!) At first, I thought I was just sore, but when pain persisted (even after heat, massage and stretching), I realized I was actually injured. And it is FRUSTRATING.
I did try to work through the pain at first – trying yoga classes to see if that would stretch out/loosen up what was bothering me. It didn’t. There was as much pain as ever afterwards. Which was disappointing. I don’t like taking nights off – I’m honestly not very good at relaxing! So whether I’m in dance class, or strength training or at yoga, I’m usually doing something every day.
I finally gave in and took a night off to rest. No long walk/jog with the dog, no classes of any kind. And the next morning it was actually a little better! I did the nearly unthinkable and took another night off….and the difference those two days made was astonishing. Pre-rest, even sitting down was really painful….forget curling my legs up at night! After the off days, I was pretty much back up to speed – a little tight and in obviously no position to push it – but able to work again. I just needed the time off.
Which, is what I wanted to share today. I know for some of us, time off seems like the worst….you feel like you’re just going to lost your momentum and stagnate and if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward, right? And as frustrating as that feeling is – and as hard as it is to fight it – I’m here to vouch for the equal benefits of rest.
There should be a balance between hard work and time off….but it’s really important to make sure that there is time for recovery. It makes a difference.
I can 100% sympathize with rest-haters. It can be hard to get your mind to accept the justification of needing rest/recovery. That’s where positive self-talk comes in, to reinforce the value and the benefit of both listening to our bodies & giving them what we need, even if/when we don’t exactly want to. You can either burn your body out, trying to beat it into submission….or you can be actively in touch and caring for your body, as your instrument. Being in tune and responding to your needs is the best way to give you career longevity in dance or even just keep you feeling good & dancing throughout life.
How do you deal with injury/recovery periods? What’s the worst part?