Get back to YOU this school year!
You may be familiar with the phrase “Just be yourself.” But what if you don’t know who or what that is? Being you can be empowering because there’s no one exactly like you in the world. However, it can also come with a great sense of confusion and fear. It can be hard to be ourselves if the very things we identify with are questioned, ridiculed or misunderstood. Depending on our age or life circumstances, it can also be challenging to know exactly who we are.
This past year has not been without its challenges, and while the school year may be looking more like it did in the past, we are carrying around the weight, anxiety and stress from this pandemic. That being said, it is even more important to find a sense of self, embrace who you are and “do you.”
Inspired by Só Dança’s bold new BE YOU collection, we’d like to offer some tips and movement-based interventions to help you explore and step into “you” this new school year.
#1. Start off on the right (or left) foot.
Tapping into your sense of identity and embracing the amazing “you” that you are begins before you even get out of bed. Think about how you woke up and how you want to start your day. Starting your day by encouraging connection to yourself supports formation and reclamation of identity, values and self-worth. Plant your feet on the floor before you stand up and get out of bed. Take up space in your body to claim your space in the world. Breathe deeply as you wake up in through your nose and out through your mouth. Tap into your personal sense of style and comfort. Find ways to express yourself through your style at school and at the studio. I like to say “dress to express, not impress,” especially during the school week. Só Dança has you covered with the amazing BE YOU Collection of luscious leotards, crops, shorts, bralettes and more.
#2. Limit distractions to tune in.
This can be difficult with all the tools we have that distract us on a regular basis. However, it is necessary to limit the noise in our life in order to hear our own voice. Make sure to give yourself screen-free time and social media breaks especially if you find yourself comparing your situation to others. A great way to accomplish this through movement is to take movement breaks throughout the day without technology. Take a walk, stretch your body, or tap into your five senses to bring you into the present moment.
#3. Make time to be with yourself.
The school year can be filled with social activities and gatherings, but be aware that those can cloud your self-perception. Plan some downtime to be with you. After all, when you want to get to know someone, don’t you want to spend time with them? Your own self is no exception. This allows you to identify your likes, dislikes, strengths and growing points. Think of solo activities that you can do to encourage reconnecting to yourself. Take a movement-based class, explore a new art form, or get back to nature. Keep in mind that comfort is invaluable so you are not distracted but rather can move freely as yourself. Choose dancewear that you are comfortable and supported in. Items like the new Só Dança Queen Shorts are a comfy addition to your wardrobe with mircofiber and a drawstring for that easy and perfect fit.
#4. Be aware of how you show up.
This doesn’t mean censoring or compromising yourself. On the contrary, it involves noticing how certain interactions throughout the day influence your ability to be present, confident and grounded. Become aware of your posture and how it may change in the presence of certain people or situations. Pay attention to how you walk down the hallways between classes. Are you standing up tall with your head held high or slouching with your head down to limit interactions and go undetected? These add up throughout the day and have a huge impact on your mental health.
#5. Set boundaries.
This is a hard one, as setting boundaries can make others really uncomfortable. Self-care is vital, and one way to care for yourself is to be protective of your emotional time and energy. It is okay to say “no” to people or opportunities if the person you are actually saying “yes” to is you. Even more important is setting limits and boundaries around physical and emotional safety. Take the opportunity to notice how your body reacts when your mind says “yes” but your body says “no.” Practice listening to those sensations and cues, as they are there to help you.
Being you is a right that no one should ever take away. The more you know about yourself, the more you can stand up for what you believe in and walk away from people or places that don’t align with those values. After all, in the words of Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”