Winter and spring are notoriously tough seasons for dancers. On top of all your schoolwork (plus, uh, midterms), competition season is officially in high gear. It’s likely you’re at a convention every weekend, and you may still be auditioning for summer study programs.
It’s normal to feel tired from time to time, but it’s not healthy to let yourself get so rundown that you’re totally exhausted. Here are six signs you need a real, relaxing, do-nothing day off.
1. You’re not sleeping well. Despite being so exhausted, you’re restless all night.
2. You’re busting your butt at the studio, but your turns are getting slower and your jumps aren’t getting as high. Performance setbacks are immediate signs of overtraining. In order to get stronger, your body needs to put in the hard work and rest appropriately in order to reap the benefits.
3. You’re dehydrated. Is your pee dark yellow? That’s a clear sign you’re hydrated and need to drink up and take a step away from the studio.
4. You’re super cranky. And we don’t just mean you’re stressed or PMS-ing. If you’re constantly crying or snapping for seemingly no reason, it could be because your body is overwhelmed. Too much training can actually lead to irritability or anxiety. (It’s science.)
5. You have nagging pain or an injury. It’s in a dancer’s nature to just power through. But that’ll only hurt you in the long run. As tough as it may be to have to sit out a few convention classes or an entire weekend-long competition, it’s important to focus on your lifelong goals, and not just what you want to do in the short-term.
6. You’re sleeping great — but it’s still not enough. If the 7–9 hours you get every night still don’t feel like enough, it’s probably because your body is past the point of exhaustion. Give yourself a much-needed (and definitely deserved) break.
Take good care of yourselves out there, dancers. Your body needs you!