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: 

Mental Health Charities:  

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

Support for LGBTQ+ Community:  

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

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


What to expect at a skills for living virtual workshop

We’ve had lots of questions recently on what is involved in an online workshop, so this post aims to demystify and break down any barriers you may have about what to expect.


What is an ACT3 Skills for Living workshop?

DCD’s unique Skills for Living online workshop, in partnership with and developed by ACT3 Psychology, are designed to provide you, as a professional dancer with psychological skills to help you navigate the challenges of your career. The online sessions are fun and creative and will focus on teaching you how to use a full range of ACT techniques, that can be applied to a range of life challenges.


How long is the session?

The workshop is 1.5 hours long.


What do I need to have at hand?

Mainly an internet connection and to be in a space where you can engage. Somewhere quiet and comfortable without distraction. You can also bring along paper and a pen. But don’t worry, we will send the slides to you afterwards to keep.


Who runs the workshop?

These particular workshops are led by former Royal Ballet Principal dancer Jaimie Tapper and Ross McIntosh, Organisational Psychologists and experts in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).


Are these workshop for me?

These sessions are open to ALL current and former professional dancers who have worked in the UK regardless of genre, age and location.


How much does it cost?

These sessions are FREE to all UK Dance professionals.


How do I join the workshop?

All you need to do is register here for the session you would like to attend and we will send you the link to join. All sessions will take place via Zoom. For any access needs please contact, we will be happy to support you.


What happens in the workshop?

Jaimie and Ross will demonstrate how to use the ACT model to build psychological flexibility, creativity and resilience. The session is a mixture of group discussion / sharing, listening and personal reflection. We aim to bring the concepts we are discussing to life using imagery, personal stories, metaphor and research evidence.


Do I have to talk?

Participation is encouraged but not mandatory. If you have any questions or concerns during the session but don’t want to talk, you can always send a message via Chat or alternatively as a private DM to Ross or Jaimie if you would like to remain anonymous.


Do I have to turn on my camera?

Cameras on is encouraged in order to get the most out of the workshop. It’s always lovely to see faces and we do feel it’s more engaging to be able to connect visually. You do not have to have it on if this is a barrier for you to engage, we understand individuals have different access needs, and we are all experiencing online fatigue. If you have your camera off please use Zoom’s chat function and Reaction buttons to engage.


Is anything expected of me?

Just turning up is a great step. We never pressure anyone to contribute but value the insights participants bring and help bring the topics to life. Workshop participants are invited to take part in ways that work for them, by joining the discussions, commenting and posing questions for us in the chat and just by listening and taking in the information. Whatever you feel comfortable with.


Is the workshop available publicly?

No, the session is totally confidential.


Am I allowed to attend more than one session?

Yes! You can register for as many sessions as you like throughout your career. You can also register for our other workshops like EVOLVE, alongside our ACT3 Skills for Living sessions.


How often are the workshop?

Online sessions have been run monthly. Friday 25th March 2022 is our final session in this series. We are planning on running both online and in-person sessions in the near future. Keep checking back to our calendar page on the DCD website or sign up to our newsletter, as we will be updating the ACT3 Skills for Living events page soon.


What happens after the workshop?

After the session you will be sent the slides from the workshop. We always provide further resources for anyone who would like to delve more deeply into the topics we discuss. We have also recently introduced follow up sessions where you will be invited to join us for a shorter session to recap and delve more deeply into how the skills and techniques you have learned are helping you and any challenges you’ve encountered putting them into practice.


Will you be doing in-person workshops? 

The online workshop have been really successful so we will continue to run these sessions virtually ongoing. Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with up-coming ACT3 Skills for Living virtual workshops and in-person workshops when they are announced.


I’m still unsure whether this is for me . . . 

Here’s some feedback from our previous attendees about their experiences. . .

‘The session provided a safe and communal space that allowed you to ask questions or shares doubts without fear of judgement.’ DCD Supported Dancer

‘The “matrix” we learnt was super helpful, having a structure to work with is a great tool to keep referring to.’ Skills for Living participant

‘The tools and insight given in the workshop were very useful and helpful in these times.’ Former DCD Partner Company dancer

You can also contact us at where we can assist you and answer any questions you may still have.


We would love to hear from you

If you have topics in mind for the next series or any feedback on how to improve these sessions for you, we would really love to hear from you


Would you like to attend our next ACT3 Skills for Living workshop?

Book now for our last ACT3 Skills for Living workshop of the series ‘Being your best self (a bit more often)’ on Friday 25th March 1:30pm-3:00pm. Find out more here and book your place by clicking this link here.


We also run exclusive ACT3 workshops for our DCD Partner Company dancers. To find out more speak to