With Valentine's Day fast approaching many of you are scrambling for ideas on what to do for your loved ones. This is a day that you should also be thinking about yourself. We like to think of Valentine's Day as an excuse to practice self-care. Here are just a few ideas to treat yourself (and possibly someone in your life!) on this holiday.
1. Sleep. As dancers we don't always get as much as we should. Take this time to sleep in, maybe take a nap in the middle of the day, or go to bed early to help rest your body. When you give your body proper rest that is when your muscles have a chance to recover.
* Gift Idea: Let your parents or siblings sleep in or take a nap. It's a win-win for everybody!
2. Nutritious Meal. Start the day off (or maybe for the afternoon, or maybe the evening...) with a good meal. Giving your body proper fuel makes you feel better. Go ahead, indulge in a donut or cinnamon roll, but make sure that you are also giving yourself something good like fresh fruit, a smoothie, quinoa, or steamed veggies. Taking the time to give yourself food that is full of vitamins might not sound like the most appealing thing but your body will thank you for it later. We're not saying that's all you should have -- but make sure that all those yummy sugary treats are eaten in moderation.
* Gift Idea: Make a snack for the entire family. A nut tray or a veggie tray is a simple way to snack together.
* Gift Idea #2: Make a meal as a family. Everyone could be in charge of their own dish for dinner and you can cook together.
3. Meditation. Ten minutes of mediation a day is a great way to clear your head and destress. If you are new to meditation there are apps you can use to help you. Whether it's just to work on breathing or if there is something specific you want to work on (like anxiety or stress) there are a lot of options out there.
* Gift Idea: Do a guided meditation with everyone in your family. After it's done you can discuss if you feel any different. No matter your experience I bet it will put a smile on your face!
4. Yoga or Stretching. Much like meditation, yoga or stretching can help destress the body. As a dancer focussing on this at home helps muscles that are tight from hours of dancing and can release trigger points that might be causing pain. While stretching itself is good and should be worked on at home, doing something more structured like yoga can release muscle tension in a much more holistic way, helping the entire body and not just a specific thing like a sore calf muscle.
* Gift Idea: Either with your family or over a video platform with a friend, do an online yoga class together. There are practices ranging from 5 minutes to two hours. Find one that works for you!
5. Walk. Walking is a great way to show your body some love. Getting up and moving helps get the blood flowing making all of your muscles happy. Plus if the weather isn't too bad then getting outside and moving helps improve both your physical state and your mental state.
* Gift Idea: After lunch go on a walk as a family. Or you could pack a lunch and take a walk somewhere and have a picnic afterwards.
6. Watch a Movie or TV Show. While moving is a great way to help both your body and mind, sometimes you just need to chill. Taking time out of your day to just relax and watch something can help you unwind and destress.
* Gift Idea: Pick a movie that the whole family has been wanting to see, or maybe a classic that everyone already loves, and watch it together. You could make some popcorn, get some blankets, and have your own home movie theater experience.
7. Be Creative. Do something that gets you thinking in a way different from what you normally have to do for school. Paint, draw, do some photography, make a sculpture, do some decoupage, make jewelry, or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. A lot of times we get so set in having to do things a certain way because that's how you get school work done that we don't exercise our creative muscles enough. If you are not used to doing something creative then it can feel weird at first -- but trust me, once you do something create something you'll get an amazing sense of satisfaction!
* Gift Idea: Make cards for loved ones with either a drawing or painting of something they like.
8. Take Time for a Hobby. Is there already something that you love to do but don't let yourself do it because you're just too busy? Make time today to do it! If you enjoy working in your garden then now is a great excuse. If you write then set aside even thirty minutes to work on that. If you play an instrument then take time for that.
* Gift Idea: Share your love of something with someone else! Put on a mini performance, share some poetry, or work together in your garden. Whatever your hobby is, there is likely a way to share it with another.
9. Read a Book. Nothing quite like a good book. Whether you read physical books, ebooks, or listen to audiobooks, all are a great way to unwind. There truly is nothing better then escaping into another world or another story to help calm your body while still engaging your brain.
* Gift Idea: Introduce a loved one to your favorite book. Both of you can sit and read in each other's company.
10. Have a Relaxing Bath. Much like yoga, a warm bath can help ease tension both physically and mentally. If you are able to read in the bathtub, listen to calming music, or have candle burning then all of those can aid in relaxation.
* Gift Idea: Let mom or dad (or an older sibling) have some time to just soak up the bubbles. Try not to distract them for half an hour. As much as you might love each other, sometimes everyone just needs some time to themselves to relax.
11. Have a Glass of Tea. If you have a favorite tea already then get to brewing! Having a cup of tea in the evening can help calm you down. It is especially nice to have some tea about an hour or so before you go to bed. Nothing quite like a warm cup of calming goodness to help get your mind ready for some Z's. I suggest doing decaf tea, particularly something like chamomile or mint.
* Gift Idea: Make a pot of tea for everyone in your family. If you are settling down to watch a movie before bed then it might be nice if everyone has a cup of tea so that you can get a good restful night's sleep.