Sarah Haslock-Johnson Co-founder, DanceRX

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I wanted to take a moment to encourage a different idea this year – join me and our DanceRX team in practicing self-love. There can be unnecessary stress around this commercial holiday. This year, be your own Valentine. You deserve it. 

Having been a dance professional myself, and now a teacher and studio owner – I feel it is critical to share this piece of advice: practicing self-love is just as important as taking class, stretching, staying hydrated and eating well. 

As we embarked on DanceRX, one of my key priorities as co-founder was to ensure that we’re teaching individuals how to appreciate their uniqueness. Discover, educate and empower. I remain as committed today as ever. 

In my experience, dancers have always had a heavy burden placed on their outward appearance, starting at a sensitive young age where the brain is still developing. This can be deeply damaging to the self-esteem. Today, with a hyper-focus on social media, our teen girls are struggling with mental health like never before. So how do we introduce self-love? 

Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Our genetics guarantee that every person is unique. Let’s teach our dancers (and youth) to lean into this. Instead of allowing comparison to steal those beautiful differences, let’s appreciate what makes each body diverse. When taking our DanceRX DNA test, each person learns how their DNA influences their dance performance. With this empowering knowledge, the focus can remain on self, where it truly belongs. Understanding how the body reacts to nutrients, vitamins, caffeine, sleep and more provides an awareness that can embolden one’s training. When we have the knowledge of how our body operates, an appreciation of self begins to grow.

Social Media Break
Part of creating a mindfulness routine includes disconnecting from technology. It has been proven that social media can be just as addicting as a substance. We know it can be hard to separate from that ever-churning source of entertainment. Start slowly. Leading health experts advise turning off the technology at least one hour before bed so that electronics do not interfere with your ability to sleep. Place your phone far enough in your bedroom where you won’t be tempted to scroll during your nighttime routine. Take time to journal, read or meditate. Clear your mind from the day and begin to mentally prepare for what is ahead. 

It may seem impossible to teach our youth how to meditate, but starting young supplies our students with a resource to turn to when struggling with stress and other mental health issues. After a day of school, dance class, workouts and the other day-to-day tasks, we tend to carry around that frenzied energy that can be truly exhausting. Normalizing taking a mental break to allow your brain to rest and reset should become a natural part of a dancer’s daily routine. 

Meditation has become increasingly popular. It is now believed that one can meditate while walking the dog or washing the dishes. The importance of taking a minute to allow your brain to focus on yourself makes space to appreciate your individuality. 

In my own personal meditation, I introduce mantras that can help focus the brain. I catch myself saying them throughout the day. Here is an easy one to start with: I appreciate my body and all it allows me to do. Thank you for creating me uniquely and powerfully.

And if you’re feeling up for it, why not add “I love you,” this Valentine’s Day? After all, true confidence begins with self-love.

Sending you all of my love, 

Sarah Haslock-Johnson