In today's world, we talk a lot about stress relief. And it's true that taking time to relax and unwind is a necessary part of taking care of yourself as a dancer. But sometimes figuring out how to fit in that relaxation time—on top of all your classes, rehearsals and a fast-approaching Nutcracker season—only seems to add stress. On your busiest days, you may have just a few minutes in between activities—not enough time for a soothing bath or rejuvenating yoga session. When you're in a pinch, here are a few research-backed strategies to help you relax fast:
Look at something cute. Turns out watching cat videos on YouTube or scrolling through a slideshow of baby animal photos may do more than just cheer you up. It might help you focus when your break is over, too. One study found that participants were able to better perform tasks that required focused attention after looking at cute images.
Focus on your breath. It's been said before, but taking a moment to connect to your breathing may be the easiest and fastest way to relieve anxiety. And it doesn't have to be a full-on meditation session to have positive effects. Research has shown that practicing slow, deep breathing could help lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reduce the stress hormone cortisol.