What do pole dancing, writing, Argentine tango and singing (shouting) all have in common? They are all things I do to help me vent, distract myself, escape the inside of my head and generally keep me sane.
I have been pole dancing on and off for 6 years now and it’s a fantastic way to strengthen and push my body physically. I was hooked by the second class I went to when I’d improved vastly from the week before. It took me a week to recover from the first class though! I feel strong and confident when I master a new trick and for some reason I like the feeling the day after a class when I’m stiff and achy, perhaps because it’s satisfying to know I’ve worked my body.
Writing down my feelings helps me to process them and work through whatever is going on in my world. I express my inner most thoughts in a safe place that I don’t have to share with anyone, unless I want to. If I want to share, I write letters (emails) when I have scrawled through the fury and got to the point where I can make sense of what I’m feeling and how to communicate that in a way that hopefully isn’t confrontational. I’ve kept a diary at various times since I was a teenager, mostly when I’m depressed and angry (I’m too busy enjoying myself when I’m happy). It has helped me through teenage angst, grief and most recently a traumatic divorce.
Argentine tango is a new form of alternative therapy for me, having started taking classes a few weeks before Christmas. I have danced modern jive for well over a decade, my first class being just before I launched my clinic, Peak Wellbeing, in 2007. At that time, it was the only two hours of the week I wasn’t in charge, and it was wonderful to be lead around the dance floor and legitimately blame someone else when I got it wrong! Argentine tango is quite a different kettle of fish, but still requires me to empty my head of all other busyness and tune in to my partner and the music. I’m finding it very technical and am getting used to the increased level of intimacy, but I am enjoying the challenge and am looking forward to it flowing effortlessly.
Singing is also relatively new for me, having had a course of lessons in spring last year. I was told at primary school I couldn’t sing and am naturally a quiet person so to be heard in a new way (even if it was just by my teacher) was daunting. I loved learning how to shape my mouth to hit the notes and turn the volume up. I’ve no plans to sing in public and I’m never gonna be Nina Simone but it’s fun to practice in the car on my own or with my son.
I included shouting in brackets because sometimes, when I’m really, really angry, I shout in my car as loud as I can. It can be an aggressive ‘aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!’, or yelling along to a song, or roaring an imaginary conversation (including obscenities!) to whoever has riled me. I find it’s a fab way to disperse my rage and makes me laugh at myself too. You can’t be angry when you’re laughing 😂.
And I nearly forgot, which is appalling behaviour for an aromatherapist, that I also love to have an aromatherapy massage! If I could I’d have at least one a week as it’s so soothing and relaxing. The oils are tailored to my needs in that moment and work on multiple levels, the massage relieves aches, pains and stress and reconnects me with my body. I am still surprised when I feel which parts of my body are holding tension, and occasionally by which areas aren’t!
I’ve shared the ways I look after my mental, emotional and physical health. I know others find running, gardening and/or cooking helps calm their mind and bring balance to their life. What do you do? What can you add to this list?