Guest blog – crystal nicholls
Crystal Nicholls is a Professional Dancer and Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach (CTNC).
19th April 2021
Taking the Blinders Off
When theatres closed in March last year, I had six weeks left of my contract with Disney’s The Lion King.
I had been in the show for six years and had finally decided to move on. I already had another gig lined up and was about to start rehearsals. The truth is, I was exhausted, and welcomed what I thought would be a two-week break.
It soon became clear to all of us that this would go on much longer than we anticipated. As the lockdown went on, and the dates for my gig were pushed back further and further, I became nervous, anxious and scared. I was scared that my gig would be cancelled. I was scared of blowing through my savings and not making any money. And I was scared of losing my identity.
For most of my life, I identified as a dancer. Who was I now that I wasn’t taking class or on stage, or doing auditions? What was my identity now? The uncertainty was the most frustrating part–I felt like I was in limbo.
One day I was listening to my favourite podcast–The Model Health Show–and the host spoke about the need for nutrition and health coaches. He said that now more than ever, people needed leaders who could transform their lives and show them how to sustain their bodies through the pandemic and beyond.
The thing is, I always loved nutritional science. I listened to this podcast religiously, and I was always reading up on the latest research, sharing what I learned with family and friends. I just never knew or thought it was possible to have a career in it.
Like most dancers, I had blinders on. I couldn’t see beyond my dancer identity, and with the hectic west end schedule of eight shows a week and one day off, I never had the time or energy to develop any of my interests past a general curiosity.
But now I had time. And energy. So I did something about it. I did lots of research into nutrition coaching and enrolled in the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. What I loved most about their program is the fact that they described nutrition as anything that feeds you–physically, mentally and spiritually. These three pillars make up the foundation of heath, and without one, the foundation cannot be strong.
This stood out for me because as a dancer, I was always so focused on my physical health, and completely neglected my mental and spiritual health. I spent years beating myself up and speaking to myself unkindly. I never felt like I was good enough–even when I was performing in the biggest West End show. I didn’t see the value of balance, of mindset, or self-care, because I didn’t think those things mattered. But I realise that if I had known then what I know now, my journey would have been much more joyful and fulfilling.
In January of this year, I finished my course and graduated as a fully certified Transformational Nutrition Coach. My mission is to teach other artists how to achieve a balance in their lives, so they can achieve their career goals without losing themselves. It has been deeply fulfilling work to coach other artists one on one and give them the tools, support and encouragement I only wish I had received sooner.
I want to tell other artists that it is ok to take your blinders off and explore your other interests, talents and passions. No one in this world is passionate about just one thing. We are artists, yes, but we are human beings first, and it will do us a world of good to remember that.
Click here to book your place for the EVOLVE Digital workshop this Thursday 5 August, 10:30 – 2pm and hear first-hand from Crystal: ‘How to get out of your own way, manage negative thoughts, and step into courage’
Free, online workshop guiding dancers through managing energy and enhancing wellbeing at this time.