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Finding a balance this holiday season.

Finding Balance This Holiday Season By Jess Spinner 'The Whole Dancer'.

As you look ahead to the holidays (whichever festivities you partake in this time of year) and the busyness of the last few months of the year, how do you feel? It’s a lot, and if you are performing in the Nutcracker, auditioning for summer intensives, or auditioning for company jobs, it can be really overwhelming.

So many dancers get to the new year and end up feeling quite burnt out, but there’s not much of a break in sight.

There are lots of proactive things you can do to care for yourself through this busy time. I hope this post will inspire you to take action and support yourself.

Honor your needs and set boundaries.

During the holidays, there’s a lot of pressure to attend events, parties, and gatherings. You also have to balance that with a busy Nutcracker season and upcoming auditions.

What’s your personal threshold for socializing? You might be someone who feels more energized by going out and being with people. Or, you might be someone who needs quiet and alone time to rest and recharge. Be honest with yourself about which camp you fall into, and set some boundaries for yourself around this busy time.

You are allowed to say no to as many things as you want and need. That being said, isolating yourself isn’t great either. Are there more relaxed ways you might like to connect with friends or family? Maybe you set up a coffee date and let that be part of your holiday social plan.

Respect your body but still allow for freedom with food.

There’s a very necessary balance with food freedom and self-respect. Those things need to go hand in hand, and a supportive food relationship is essential. This means that throughout the holiday season, you’ll allow yourself to enjoy all the foods that feel good to eat.

There may be some foods that you love to eat but don’t make you feel good. That’s where the self-respect piece comes in. Don’t eat food that doesn’t make you feel good.

It’s possible you love the way something tastes, but sometimes you don’t feel great after you eat it. Sugary foods and sweets can have this impact on some of us. It might be a matter of finding a way to healthfully incorporate these foods with balance. You might need to make sure you save sweets for after you've already eaten a complete meal. Maybe you need to have a protein-rich food to accompany your sweets.

Allow yourself to find your personal balance without judgment. Then, use that self-awareness to approach holiday gatherings and dressing room sweets.

Give yourself time to recharge, rest, and find inspiration.

It’s very easy to get swept up in the chaos of this busy time. Dancers tend to struggle with guilt around downtime and rest. However, it’s essential if you want to do your best dancing and avoid injury.

When are there opportunities for you to have time to yourself, and how would you like to spend that time? During the holiday season, if you’re performing and preparing for auditions, you need to give yourself ample time to rest.

Prioritize sleep and the routines that help you maintain calm. If you’re someone who thrives on an invigorating morning routine or a calming nighttime routine, the busiest time of year isn’t the time to let those things go. Maybe you’d benefit from creating a shorter version of those practices. Either way, create space to include whatever helps you feel your best and even consider adding things like journaling, mediation, or yoga to see if they help.

If you love being social, make sure you find ways to include the time with friends and family that you crave. One of the most powerful things you can do is honor your unique needs and

preferences. Doing the things that light you up will allow you to enjoy the holidays and thrive.

If you’re struggling to find balance, join me for a free finding balance challenge here:

For more from The Whole Dancer, visit

Jess Spinner is a former professional dancer and now a holistic health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach for dancers. She’s been supporting dancers to find a more balanced approach to food, their bodies, dance, and life since she founded The Whole Dancer in 2015. To learn more about Jess, visit

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