You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money
Love like you’ll never get hurt
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’
It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.
I have nothing new to add to talking about self-care. In fact, one of our team Jacqui Atkinson, who sadly last her battle with cancer in 2017, put together a Personal First Aid Kit which some of you may already have. Hobbies are often an integral part of our self-care so indulge me as I share.
You might remember I cycle in order to reach ice-cream and cake shops and I do like a good old sing-song, so this post is my relationship with danceSing and where it fits into my self-care. Whether you agree or disagree or go to something similar I would love to read your comments as I’m completely enthused by my own experience.
danceSing does what it says on the tin. We dance, and we sing but we also laugh, belong to a group, share energy, notice when someone misses a class, congratulate on successes and personal milestones and enjoy life. This isn’t a plug, after all it’s a local group and I’m not local to most of you, but it’s a commendation and a reminder to think of your own self-care.
During the class there are slow routines which allow me to expend great emotion plus quick steps which make sweat run in my eyes as I concentrate only on keeping up and following the instructor. I notice as I lift my arms to the sky and stretch out my back and shoulders I’m in a form of power pose. Amy Cuddy calls it the “The Performer”. A tribute to Mick Jagger in her TEDtalk. Despite the debate on how useful this is I’m reminded of Mothers’ the world over saying “lift your chin and smile” when you thought the word was coming to an end, and they can’t all be wrong.
I have to be present in the class or I’ll trip over my feet and I have to notice my breathing, or I’ll run out of steam. Sound familiar? A bit like mindfulness perhaps? I think so. Like mindfulness, I can make a choice when I swing round and find myself facing the rest of the class as I’ve made a wrong move. I can choose to acknowledge it and then catch up or I can beat myself up for getting it wrong. I never choose the latter.
I’ve spoken about singing and how helpful yet emotive it can be in a previous post. What I have noticed when these songs are chosen by our musical directors is how empowering they are. “I Can See Clearly Now”, “You’ve Got a Friend” and my current favourite “This is Me”. I have a book full of inspiring lyrics which twice a week I repeat over and over at the top of my voice. Anything familiar there? What about positive affirmations or in CBT terms, challenging negative thoughts.
Finally, having hopefully piqued your curiosity, there is the “feel good” side effect of doing something for others. This is a short video/charity single which was put together to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health.
Suzie is a Co-Director of Online Training for Counsellors Ltd, a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist, Supervisor and Tutor. She has a face to face private practice in addition to her online therapeutic work. She is Chair of the Scottish Association of Psychodynamic Counselling and contributed 2 chapters to Online Supervision: A Handbook for Practitioners, edited by Anne Stokes.