Whether you are a performer, stripper, or pole-dancing hobbyist, it is definitely important to take care of your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Self-care is nothing short of important and necessary. As dancers and performers, we can easily tire ourselves out without even realizing it.
This list covers things you can do to take care of your body, specifically for no or minimal costs.
Sleep is the most important thing you can do for your body. Adequate sleep allows your body to recover from the demands of pole dancing. Most individuals need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Play around with varying amounts of sleep to find what works best for you.
Strippers and performers who work late hours should still try and get on a sleep schedule. When trying to sleep during the day, minimize environmental distractions and use blackout curtains to mimic sleeping at night. Even taking naps here and there is better than going without sleep.
Take a Rest Day
It is important to take at least one day off a week for some down time. If your sleep schedule has been off-track or you cannot get adequate amounts of sleep each night, use this day to catch up. Avoid pole dancing activities on your rest day. If you feel the desire to move, do some easy stretching or go for a light walk.
Always stay hydrated. This should go without saying but it is equally as important. Even if you’re on a set or a performance stage, make sure to keep plenty of fluids nearby. When performing or working, always start hydrating with water before drinking fluids with electrolytes (Gatorade, coconut water, etc.). Once you have been dancing for over an hour, you can begin to incorporate fluids with electrolytes. You should drink approximately half your body weight in fluid ounces of water. (If you weigh 160 lbs, you should drink ~80 fluid ounces of water.) Up that amount if you sweat a lot, drink coffee, or consume alcohol, all of which dehydrate you further.
Eat to Perform
This includes eating regularly scheduled meals that have balanced amounts of proteins, carbs, and fats. You expend a lot of energy when you dance, so you must re-fuel your body to improve performance and recover from these bouts of movement. A couple pointers are to include healthy fats in your first meal of the day, carbohydrates before work/performing, and protein following work/performing. To do this, you should plan ahead and meal prep. Use your rest day to prep your weekly meals and healthy snacks.
Warm-Up and Stretch
Always warm-up before dancing and performing in any capacity. This helps to prevent injury and keeps you able to perform for longer periods of time. If you have breaks between sets or shifts, stay warm. As tempting as it is, don’t sit down the entire time. Light movement won’t expend too much energy and will keep your muscles warm, thereby reducing risk of injury. If you are incorporating stretching into your warm-up, do dynamic stretching (i.e., using your muscles to actively move through ranges of motion). Save passive stretching for after dancing and on your rest days.
Seek Medical Advice for Pole-Related Injuries
Pole dancing injuries will occur. Whether it is an acute injury or a nagging chronic pain, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Although medical care can be expensive, the sooner you consult with a healthcare provider the more money you will save in the long run. Be proactive in dealing with your injuries!
Seek Preventative Treatment
Use your rest day to get a massage. Treat yourself once in a while to a good massage somewhere that makes you feel comfortable and welcome. The following services are affordable and recommended once a month: foot massage, especially if you have to regularly wear heels (usually around $35 for half an hour at a designated foot massage location), regular full-body massage (between $50-$100 per hour), and the chiropractor. There’s a nationwide (U.S.-based) company called The Joint that does not require insurance. It’s $60 a month and you get four adjustments per month. Plus, you can also write all of these expenses off on your taxes.
Consult a Counselor or Psychologist for Emotional and Psychological Health
As a dancer, you’re constantly on your feet, performing on stage, and having to deal with unruly customers. If you are an entertainer, you are bound to encounter negative or harsh criticism at some point or another. Make sure you are taking care of yourself emotionally and psychologically. Find a tribe of individuals that you can trust and turn to when you need uplifting. Find some hobbies or activities that bring you joy and fulfillment outside of pole dancing.
Lastly, your mental health is of the utmost importance. The stresses of life and these types of work can weigh heavy on your mind and affect your mental well-being. Know that seeking medical attention to take care of your mental health is sometimes needed, and that is ok. If a counselor or psychologist is too costly, see if there is a local or virtual support group you can join.