Mental Health Awareness Week

Everyone has Mental Health, which changes along a spectrum from mental ill health to mental wellbeing. This changes during the course of a year, a month, a day or I know for me even in minutes sometimes. All kinds of factors impact our Mental Health; some we have more control over than others. We understand the circumstances that dancers live and work. There is no doubt that mental wellbeing is vital for dancers to lead fulfilled careers and lives. The enormous impact of the pandemic that continues to be felt by our community makes it essential now more than ever.  

DCD are champions of empowering dancers to make active choices in shaping your lives to able to show up as your best selves. This takes daily practice, something I myself am practicing and some days go better than others. The DCD team have kindly shared with us some of the ways that they take care of their mental wellbeing day to day.  So if nothing else, I hope you can take 2 minutes today to bring some awareness to how you take care of your mental wellbeing.   

  1. Rest & Sleep! We were all very inspired this week by Brene Brown’s announcement to take a sabbatical, prioritising the call for rest, over the call to work. Of course extended time off comes with privilege, but what small gifts of rest can you prioritise for yourself when you need it?  
  2. Cooking and eating a favourite or new healthy meal 
  3. Reading a novel or listening to a Podcast episode
  4. Practicing Mindfulness or Meditation 
  5. Journaling or writing a list of 3 things I’m grateful for if that’s all I have time to do
  6. Talking to someone friend/colleague/family without any solutions. Just being listened to.
  7. Exercising, either getting outside or doing something fun with friends 
  8. Do any of the above outside! Being with nature and fresh air is food for the soul.
  9. Take a moment to check in & notice, am I prioritising my own needs? What do I need? Quieten the noise of expectations. Then make any adjustments to my mind-set, or adjust my plans in order to give myself what I need. Coaching helps me do this too. Click here to find out about DCD free coaching service
  10. Asking for help. Communicate how you are feeling with someone you trust or feel safe with, communicate what you need to someone. 
  11. Give yourself permission, to take your time, not be productive, not to have the answer, to be and accept yourself where you are at. 
  12.  Self-Care – take a bath with bubbles and candles and music, paint your nails, do a face mask. Take care of those feet! Have a massage. 
  13. Spend time with people you love. Hug someone. Cuddles with your pet!
  14.  Take up a hobby/learn something new. Try something that you aren’t good at (this is more fun with other people). Give yourself permission to have fun with all the pressure off! 
  15. Looking at photos/reminiscing of happy memories or listening to music that makes me feel good
  16. Seek Medical and Professional Support

If you are experiencing mental ill health symptoms (find out more here) that are persistent and prolonged (more than 2 weeks) you can seek professional and medical support by contacting your GP. DCD staff are not therapists but there’s some incredible organisations out there with those skill sets and we’ve listed some of them for you below. 

Free therapy for current and retired dancers: 

https://www.bapam.org.uk/counselling-dance-professionals-bapam-and-dance-professionals-fund/ 

Mental Health Charities: 

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/  

https://www.mind.org.uk/  

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/  

https://sidebyside.mind.org.uk/  

https://www.samaritans.org/  

https://mhfaengland.org/  

https://hubofhope.co.uk/  

Support for Black, African, Asian, Caribbean Heritage Communities: 

https://www.blackmindsmatteruk.com/  

https://www.theempowermentgroup.co.uk/  

https://www.baatn.org.uk/  

Support for LGBTQ+ Community: 

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/wellbeing  

https://www.pinktherapy.com/  

https://www.beaumontsociety.org.uk/transgender-counselling.html  

https://www.transunite.co.uk/  

An interactive check in guide for people who struggle with self-care, executive dysfunction, and/or have trouble reading internal signals:  

https://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play/index.html  

Lucy Glover
DCD Support and Programmes Manager: Inclusion and Impact Lead and Mental Health First Aider.