End-of-Year Meltdowns Got You Down?

It’s spring, so that means meltdowns and performances. (Haha.) Seriously though, it’s definitely performance time: most dance schools are having their end-of-year shows to showcase all the good work their dancers have accomplished over the year. So it’s a time of excitement but also nerves, often for teachers as much as students. Everyone wants to put their best foot forward (no pun intended), but the anticipation can stir emotions into a real frenzy.

If you’re still in the countdown to an end-of-year show and are either experiencing meltdown-inducing levels of stress yourself or dealing with them from your peers or teachers, here are some fun tips to keep you sane.

  • Perfection will not be achieved between today and the performance, so let go of that as a goal. How you’re rehearsing today is the best indicator of how the show will go, so start turning on your face muscles to get ready to glow onstage because…
  • Performances are the reason you work as hard as you do every day. They should be exhilarating, as well as fun. If you keep the focus on dancing your best and having fun, you’ll be happier.
  • If your teacher(s) is overly stressed, don’t take it personally; end-of-year shows are an evaluation of them as well as you, so they’re entitled to jitters. Remind yourself of that if those jitters become meltdowns: everyone is doing their best and some people cope better than others.
  • Be in control of yourself and only yourself. There’s no point in trying to fix everyone else’s problems because it won’t work. Turn your focus inwards to yourself: how can you be best prepared to perform well? Keep your focus there to feel less stressed.
  • Finally, mark the end of your school year with a celebration after the performance, however small. It’s important to mark the occasion with a dinner out or some other way to celebrate your accomplishments.

Don’t fall into the trap of letting stress overshadow your performance(s); learning to cope with pre-show jitters is a big part of becoming a happy performer. If you have tried all of the above and still can’t deal, email me. I can definitely help.

 

Smoothies for Spring: Green and Scrumptious

Warmer weather brings me back to my Vitamix and green smoothies. I started making green smoothies when I was studying nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2010. Immediately, I felt a difference in my body as it soaked up all those micronutrients. I began craving one every day.

In the wintertime though, I find it more challenging to get into the smoothies. Instead, I use my Vitamix for blending soups and pestos.

Now that it’s spring, I’ve been back into a daily smoothie and I feel fantastic. Dancers have asked what’s the difference between a green juice and a smoothie? A smoothie is made in a blender where all of the greens, fruit, and water are blended together; a juicer presses the juice out of greens and fruit into a glass. The “husk” of the greens and fruit gets thrown away once it’s been pressed.

I like smoothies better than juice because

  1. I don’t own a juicer and I’m not going to buy a juicer. They’re expensive and take up a lot of kitchen space I don’t have.
  2. I like that the entire vegetable or fruit is IN the smoothie- that’s a lot of soluble fiber, which helps keep my intestines clean and happy.

That said when wandering the streets of Brooklyn or NYC, I will occasionally stop for a fresh green juice at the local juicer. The benefits of green juice shouldn’t be understated – I just don’t happen to make it.

The recipes I start my dancers on are the following:

Sweet Smoothie

  • Add 3.5 glasses of water to blender
  • Add 5 oz washed baby spinach
  • Add flesh from one mango, peeled
  • Add 1 banana
  • Blend at high speed until smooth

Savory Smoothie

  • Add 3.5 glasses of water to blender
  • Add 5 oz washed baby spinach
  • Add flesh from one avocado, peeled
  • Add 1 cucumber
  • Add handful of fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Add juice from half a lemon (or more, to taste)
  • Blend at high speed until smooth

Depending on the power of your blender, you may have to chop fruits/veg into cubes or blend in stages. With the Vitamix, it can all be blended at once.

I always start with water and suggest you do too. (Too much unneeded sugar in juice.) The banana and avocado act as the emulsifier- the thing that makes all the ingredients stick together.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll learn which fruits and greens go well together and which tastes work best for you. There are tons of recipes online, but I’ve found it fun just to experiment and see what I like.

A green smoothie is great first thing in the morning before you jump into the shower. In fact, it’s recommended to be consumed on an empty stomach for maximum absorption of nutrients. It also makes a yummy snack in between class and rehearsals or right when you get home as you’re preparing dinner. Rather than reaching for crackers or some other empty-calorie snack food, drink down a smoothie. It will satisfy your hunger without ruining your appetite for that delicious dinner you’re making.

Let me know what you think if you try these recipes!