Overcoming Post Performance Blues
The curtain falls, the lights go down and your heart is full. But there’s an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach. You suddenly feel alone.
Tomorrow feels unfamiliar and you grasp onto those last moments with your fellow cast, as you prepare to go your separate ways.
“What now?”, you think to yourself.
Those fireworks in your heart which gave you that sense of purpose are very much a part of performance life, but how do you deal with their shadows? The not so desired feelings.
Winding down from something you’ve worked so hard to prepare for is something a lot of performers really struggle with. If you’re feeling a low, it might help you to hear that there is something called, Post Performance Blues.
“But how do I shake it? Why do I feel so bad, when I expected to feel so good?”
Take a look at these five helpful strategies:
1. Practice acceptance
There can be a lot of pressure to get through this feeling as quickly as possible but being patient is the key. Even when your thoughts want to convince you otherwise.
Often feeling low is a sign that you’re processing something important, something that meant a lot to you. Your body is working hard to rebalance itself. Try to allow yourself some room for empathy.
It’s only natural to feel this way and accepting these feelings will help you to let them go.
One of the first things you can do is name the feeling.
Sadness, loss of purpose, feeling of emptiness.
2. Become an observer
Another helpful tool is to become an observer of your thoughts.
Imagine your mind is an auditorium and you are an audience member in the front row. What thoughts can you see floating across the stage?
If you find yourself on the thinking merry go round of racing thoughts like,
“I’ll never get that opportunity again, it’s all over.”
Catch that thought before it runs too far, and check it… “I am going to be ok.
3. Stay present
“It was a moment, I’m really sad it’s over. It doesn’t define me. There will be more positive experiences ahead.”
Being in the present moment can help you to keep things in perspective. Because the future hasn’t happened and the past is behind us, all we have is now.
So what can you do in this moment?
Focus. Just like you’ve allowed for the discomfort of your feet inside your pointe shoes, you can allow those sensations from your feelings and thoughts to just be there in your body, without struggling with them.
Take a moment to close your eyes and scan your body from head to toe.
4. Rest, Recover, Rejuvenate
Try some gentle activities such as walking, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, colouring in.
What can help you achieve a sense of enjoyment and balance in life? Make a plan for when you feel up to it.
Most importantly, let the process happen. If you don’t have the energy to do the kinds of things you were doing pre-show, that’s ok.
5. Learn from your experience
As the true professional you are, use this experience to help you in the future. In the fizz of excitement preparing for your next performance, try to put some time aside to plan for things you can do in your down time.
Now, give yourself permission to be who you are beyond the dancewear. Literally let your hair down and discover the world beyond the barre, so you can feel truly refreshed when you return to your passion.
“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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