Whether it's spring performances, final exams or preparations for summer intensives, this can be a stressful time of year. While these bigger sources of stress are more obvious, some others aren't as easy to spot, and they can take a toll without you realizing it. Here are three less noticeable ones to keep in mind:
1. Your friends' stress: If everyone in your studio is freaking out about an upcoming performance, you may feed off each other's nervous energy. A German study found that simply observing someone else complete a stressful task can increase production of the stress hormone cortisol. Try scheduling time with non-dance friends to get some outside perspective.
2. Multitasking: You may think getting two things done at once would reduce stress, but a study from the University of Irvine found that participants who responded to e-mails all day in the middle of their other work had more fluctuations in their heart rates (a stress indicator). Giving your attention to one thing at a time can also help ensure you're giving it your best effort. Cramming for that science test while backstage at a dress rehearsal may not be the best idea.
3. Texting instead of talking: Texting a friend can be a quick and fun break during a busy day, but it won't have the same positive effects as verbal conversation. A study published in Evolution & Human Behavior found that teenage girls who talked to their mothers on the phone or in person after a stressful event had lower cortisol levels than those who simply texted. Try giving that friend a call instead when you have a few minutes, and talk through whatever is on your mind.
Nov. 29, 2001 07:00PM EST