(credit for the featured image goes to Gorkie. Go check them out!)
Sometimes, the world can get too much.
Pole dance, for me, has become my form of self care. It’s something that has only ever demanded of me the energy that I can put in. If my strength and grip are failing me, I can work on floorwork. If I need momentum and energy, I can work on spins. If I need to feel strong and powerful, I can work on strength tricks. If I need a space to get out of my own head, my studio’s there, and I can just focus on what I need to work on instead of the million other things on my mind.
But it’s inevitable that some days, pole dance might get too much to deal with too. There’s no shame in that. Some days we can lose our pole funk and wonder why the hell we started taking these lessons anyway. Sometimes it can feel like no matter how hard you train, you’re going nowhere.
I hear you.
It’s hard, because we all love pole dance, and it can become an integral part of who you are. It’s difficult, but you’re not alone. We’ve all been there at some point or another. So, here’s some practical forms bits of self care for when we feel overworked, pressured or just too damn tired with pole dance.
1) Step away from social media
It’s easy to get caught up in social media as pole dancers. It’s where our community lives, posting pictures and videos of our latest practices, performances or photoshoots. It’s where we can go for support, solidarity and advice. Sometimes though, the pressure to keep up with it all can be too much.
Try taking a step back from social media to try and refresh your head. If you’re always browsing Instagram for inspiration, perhaps try limiting your browsing to certain times of the day, or take a break from posting there all together. Same thing goes for Facebook, or any other social media app you use to engage with the pole community.
If you’re someone who judges themselves based on what other people can do – and don’t worry, this is natural, and we’ve all been there – it’ll help bring you back to focusing on what you can do, not what you can’t.
2) Take a soothing epsom salts bath
Retreat to the sanctuary of your bath. If you’ve never tried using epsom salts in the bath before, you’ll need about a mug to two mugs full depending on the size of your bath, and you can pair them with regular bubble bath, or dried herbs and essential oils to customise your own bath ritual. Epsom salts are fantastic for soothing tired, achy muscles, so they’re a perfect relaxation aid for pole dancers.
Put on your favourite music, light a few candles, and leave your electronics in another room or at least out of reach. You can use this time just to soak and relax, or read a book while the epsom salts work their magic. I like to use this time to use a face mask or hair mask (or both!) and give myself a mini pamper session. I’m also one of those people that enjoys shaving, so I’ll take the time to work through my shaving routine too once a week. Then I’ll shower myself down with a hot, slow shower, just to finish off the pampering time.
If you don’t have a bath in your home, showers work just as well. You can find soaps with epsom salts in them now, and you can always treat yourself to a full exfoliation and moisturising ritual (depending when your next pole session is, of course!)
This should help soothe your tired body and refresh your mind. Taking time to pamper yourself can help you feel more like ‘you’, particularly if you’ve had an injury or illness that’s kept you away from your regular pole routine. Plus, taking care of your skin is super important for pole dancers to maintain that all important grip!
3) Have a massage
If you can afford it, treat yourself to a sports massage or even a full body massage at the spa. Even a simple back, neck and shoulders massage can work wonders on the stiffness we can all get from training, and it’s super relaxing. I swear I almost fall asleep every time.
Or, you could go one step further, and treat yourself to a spa day! These days you can find deals to fit any budget, from cheaper packages that just grant you day access to the pool, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms, to luxury spas with treatments galore. I went on a spa day recently that cost £70 for day access to the spa, a back, neck and shoulder massage and full body exfoliation ritual, afternoon tea, and rental of a robe and towel.
Sports massages are also a great option, as they’re tailored towards athletes for soothing stressed and tired muscles. Again these will depend on your budget and what’s around you, but it can be a great way to prepare for a showcase, competition, or even just to treat yourself because hell, you deserve it!
4) Ditch the camera
Obviously this is going to depend on how much you take pictures and record yourself during practice. Some classes don’t let you use your phone during lesson, or only during certain classes. Home practice is a little different as it gives you a little more flexibility with the set up and positioning of your camera, the only downside being you might not have someone to grab a snap when you nail your Stargazer!
When I started my pole Instagram, I did so to keep a diary of my progress to help with my mental health. I try and update it with each class, but as time has passed, I find myself getting pictures and recording things less and less, or if I do record things, it’s only for the purposes of putting on Instagram. This is where I remind myself I need to take a step back, and stop putting so much focus on performing for social media.
Recording yourself in this way can also put a lot of pressure on you to nail things, and make them flawless, which isn’t a realistic standard to force upon ourselves. Practice time is for trying, and failing, and falling on your ass, and getting back up to try things again. Taking pictures and videos is great for reminding yourself how far you’ve come and sharing with the community your growth, but getting obsessed with having everything on film and evidence is something that you need to be aware of.
If you’re finding you’re spending a good part of your lesson or home practice time thinking about, practising and recording things for Instagram or Facebook, try putting your phone or camera away for a session or two. Allow yourself to focus on your practice and how your body wants to move. Give yourself permission to fall and fail. Give yourself permission to try for the sake of trying, not for the sake of followers.
And remember, most of us don’t post all the times we mess up on our socials. The dancer you think is amazing and a natural and can in no way make anything look anything less than the queen of spring blessing her people has probably fallen on her ass more times than you’ve touched the pole. The first fight is nailing a new spin or trick, and the second is making it look easy.
5) Take time away
Yep. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves, when we’re struggling with our pole mojo, is to take a step back and take some time for ourselves.
It could be that something in your life is affecting your motivation and energy (hello, depression!) and you need to slow down and deal with the root problem before you can keep on powering through. It could also be that you’re training pole a lot, and the monotony of training in the same way could be slowing you down. There’s so many reasons and ways you might lose your pole mojo from time to time, and it’s okay to feel like that.
It’s hard, but all of us at some point or another have gone through it. We’ve sat at home and wondered why the hell we’re doing this. Or, we’ve trained for a performance and nothing’s seeming to click, and you’re asking yourself what it’s all for. It’s definitely not easy.
Taking time away from the pole and spending the time you would be training doing something that also makes you happy can give you both the mental and physical reset you need to build your resilience back up, so you can come back to practice even stronger.
It’s hard to feel like you need a break from pole dance, but I hope these tips will help you be kinder to yourself and, hopefully, help break you out of whatever funk you’re in before you throw the towel in entirely.
Hang in there, you got this!
Hey! Did this post help? If it did, please consider buying me a coffee. I can’t promise I won’t spend it on Lush products for my self-care time.