Self Care for Lindy Hoppers During COVID-19

How are you doing?

No really. You hanging in there? Are you taking a moment to care both for your physical and mental health needs? This is a tough time for all of us and we really encourage every Lindy Hopper to take care of themselves.

Without trying to be preachy, take a deep breath and please take a moment to check in with yourself and make sure you’re managing stress, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, and your physical well being.

Manage Your Media Consumption

Being fed a constant stream of news in a time of crisis can really impact your mental health. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s even more important to take breaks from it all. If you’re only consuming stories about COVID-19 or you’re watching the economy decline on repeat, it’s going to take its toll on you.

And that goes for social media too. Checking social media to connect with friends and dancers can be a good thing, but seeing bogus studies, reports of people breaking social distancing rules, and debating politics all day long just isn’t healthy.

Consider limiting yourself to periodic news check-ins at set times during the day. Maybe twice a day for checking the news and just a couple of times a day for social media. Or, perhaps only once a day. 😀

This might also be a good time to check your phone addiction as well. What, you? No! Well….maybe. You know what – It happens to most of us! Maybe it’s time to check in on our daily consumption and get it down to a healthier level. If that feels like too much, how about trying to cut out 15 minutes a day of use? That’s an hour and 45 minutes a week!

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Instead of leaving your phone by your bed, leave it further away so that it’s not the first thing you think about when you roll over during the night.
  • Set a 20-minute timer when you read the news or do social media so you can better keep track of your time.
  • Remove facebook and news apps from your phone and only do these activities on your computer.

Keep a Schedule

Just because you’re spending all or most of your time at home now doesn’t mean that you should throw your routines completely out the window. Keeping regular hours for sleep, meals, dancing, exercise, and work (assuming you’re working from home) will help keep you much more healthy and sane during this time of social-distancing. Were you used to getting up and leaving your home for work at regular hours? Ok, then get showered and dressed and give your day some structure. You’ll feel so much better! Some people like to go for a walk in the morning (if you can) before arriving back at their home office to start the day.

Let’s talk about the NO PAJAMA RULE. While it may have been nice to lounge around in your pjs for most of the day (or even the entire day) when this all started, that is a fast track for starting to feel awful about yourself. Put on some decent clothing; you’ll feel a massive difference. Consider joining our friends at Saint Savoy for #FancyFriday or Jo for the #wearyourcloset challenge.

Here’s something else to add structure to your week. Plan to “go to dance class” at the same time as you usually do, just dancing at home instead. Use resources like iLindy’s library of over 1000 videos to keep up your dancing habit.

Try to stick to regular meal times and exercise times as well. And again, if you’re allowed outdoors in your location, try to enjoy some daylight and soak up some vitamin D.

Connect with Real Humans

We are so very lucky to have the internet and so many virtual tools to help us stay connected. Whether you use Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or another tool, make sure to book some time to “see” your friends while social distancing, especially if you live alone and you’re isolating. Sure, it’s not a perfect substitute, but it’s better than nothing.

Consider Meditation

As Lindy Hoppers, we usually use social dancing as a liberating way to experience some relief from daily worries. It’s one of the reasons why Lindy Hop was so popular during the Great Depression – it got people’s minds off of other worries.

But now that we’re social distancing, your stress and anxiety could easily be creeping up. If you’ve never tried meditating, now is a great time to try it. Taking the time to breathe, centre yourself, and quiet your thoughts can be very powerful.

In many ways, meditation does for the mind and spirit what dancing and fitness do for the body. Rather than building physical muscles, meditation builds mindfulness and relaxation habits to strengthen your spirit.

Hey hey hey, we know some of you might feel like it’s silly, but it’s not. Think about it like getting ready to compete and you’re trying to get your head in the game; that’s similar to meditation. It’s breathing, it’s focusing on the desired outcome, it’s clearing your mind of your fears, and getting ready to put your hard work out into the world.

Try Yoga

Did you know that Kevin practices yoga regularly? “Yoga is an excellent, low-impact body and mind conditioner,” says Kevin. “Like most things, it takes consistency to experience the benefits, but what else are you doing while sitting at home? 30 days with Adriene is a great program for beginners. It’s free and each session lasts about 30min.”

Give it a try and you might just love it!

Dance your Cares Away

It might feel hard to get motivated to dance at home when you’re on your own but this may be the most beneficial time EVER to get in some dancing. Your body will appreciate it, but even more so, it’s a great way to lift your spirits!

Set up some dedicated dance space in your home. Even if it’s just a tiny corner of a room or a spot in your kitchen, say to yourself: THIS IS MY DANCE SPACE. Bonus points if you have a mirror or a bit of reflection to see yourself, but during this period of COVID-19, take whatever space you can!

Commit to using that dance space on a regular schedule. Sometimes you might just want to put on some of your favorite music and boogie in a free form way, but it’s also a great time to dedicate yourself to some more serious training.

We’ve written a whole blog post about How to Work on your Lindy Hop When You Don’t Have a Partner but here’s a more condensed focus list for this period of social distancing:

  • Work on your own solo movement, rhythm, and technique (don’t forget to check out our Solo Jazz course )
  • Watch and analyzing online lessons (like the 1000+ videos available here at iLindy.com)
  • Visualize yourself dancing
  • Ask questions and get support in the iLindy Community Group on Facebook
  • Watch dance videos for inspiration, both new and historic
  • Learn about the Black History, cultural context, and roots of the dance
  • Develop your own dance philosophy and training regimen
  • Cross Train: physical conditioning, strength, and flexibility

Every Lindy Hopper should have a solid foundation in solo jazz in their dance vocabulary anyways and now is a great time to work on it! Jazz steps will help you develop your body movement, improve your rhythm, and will better help you understand the way that the dance connects with the music. They’ll also give you a creative basis for your Lindy Hop when you’re finally able to dance with a partner again.

Everyone should spend time alone working on solo jazz, body isolations, and general movement periodically so why not right now? Our online solo jazz lessons can take you through the most important vocabulary with detailed breakdowns.

Essential Solo Jazz Moves

We’ve organized the jazz steps according to rhythm pattern. These can be found in line dances and with a little creativity, can be adapted as styling options to enhance your partner dancing too.

Full Time

Half Time

4-Count

Triple Steps

Multi Rhythm

And here are some more solo videos for training on your own:

Motivate Yourself With Music

If you’ve been meaning to work on your jazz collection, now is a great time to do it! You can support some great musicians while filling your day with uplifting, happy music. We have a whole bunch of artists we can recommend on this page and you won’t be disappointed!

This is also a great time to dig into understanding jazz music better. We recently wrote a blog post about it: Understanding Music Structure in Jazz Music

Set Yourself Some Challenges

This is a great time to get creative. Set yourself a unique challenge. For example, 7 days of Charleston Drills in a row, or 30 Days of Dance where you commit to improvising to at least one song for practice. Or you can get outside the box a bit more. Jo has given herself a “Wear Your Closet” Challenge (as mentioned above):

“As I recently organized my closet and I’m not living out of a suitcase for the next X number of weeks, I promise myself that I would start wearing the clothes that I only wear on weekends. Hence the outfit (and no makeup). #closetchallenge

View this post on Instagram

Okay, so a lot is happening here 🙄🤨 1) I am fairly unimpressed by my dancing these days and feel like I've lost my mojo. 2) As I recently organize my closet and I'm not living out of a suitcase for the next X number of weeks, I promise myself that I would start wearing the clothes that I only wear on weekends. Hence the outfit (and no makeup). #closetchallenge 3) I am incredibly UNcomfortable dancing in this outfit. I have spent the last year and a half dancing in tennis shoes and pants – I'm sure you can imagine the outfit assuming you've seen me in the last year – and I totally don't feel like me nor "Performer Jo." Don't get me wrong, the shoes are plenty comfortable, but I feel like I forgotten how to dance solo in heels on a slippery surface. #bambionice Coaching Tip: I know the only way I will be comfortable dancing in dress and heels again is if I start doing it. It's really just that simple. #practicewhatyoupreach 4) I don't want to dance, I'm THAT unhappy with my dancing. But staying where I am is not an option. Feeling like you suck when you dance, sucks, but not improving is worse. So, if I want a different outcome I need to try something new. #ufff 5) Thanks for reading this far! Last but not least, it's okay to suck. At least that's what I'm telling myself so that I keep going. So, without further ado, here are some snippets where I sucked less. 😊 #notperfect Yup, even teachers feel this way as well 😉 Bonus: when I'm feeling stuck I take classes in other dance forms. Just yesterday I took a hip hop class from one of my dance mentors, @gunnarlaatsch and I do his choreography (poorly) at the end of the last clip. Thanks for the inspiration, man. #Lindyhop #shittyhiphop #polkadots #johoffberg #solojazz #practicesession #ipromiseIllgetbetter #jolosthermojo #recoveringperfectionist #sucklessplease

A post shared by Josephyne (@hoff_the_record_w_jo) on

This has inspired some iLindy Members to try it too:

Boost Your Diet

We realize that you might have some serious grocery limitations based on your location, but do your best to fuel your body with healthy things. Even if we aren’t all professional performers, we’re still dancers and putting energy toward your health and nutrition can really make an impact. Even if your tendency is to reach for the ice cream and chips at times of stress, if you aren’t balancing that with some solid nutrients, you’re going to feel even worse in the future. We aren’t saying never indulge, but we are strongly recommending to get some fruits, vegetables, and other nutrients in there too.

Get Outside If You Can!

Again, not everyone is able to get outside but depending on your location, if you can, please do! If you have a balcony or porch, use it. Try to get some fresh air every day. Whether you go for a walk in the neighborhood or sit in the backyard or the front porch, take some deep, mindful breaths of the crisp spring air. And, by the way, opening your windows to let in some fresh air is a good habit and feels especially great in the spring!

Self Care Matters

This is a difficult time for everyone, but as social Lindy Hoppers, you might really be feeling the pressure. Here are some other tips from community members in our iLindy Community Group

What other helpful advice would you offer to fellow dancers?

Whatever you do and wherever you are, we want to send you our best wishes for your health. We miss you and hope to see you on the dance floor as soon as it’s safe.

From all of us at iLindy, please stay safe and please take care of yourself. 💙

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