“How do you do it?”
I get asked this question a lot. The truth is: I don’t sleep enough and I’m stressed most of the time. About 6 months ago I gave up drinking coffee in the afternoon. I did this to save money since I was always buying my coffee, plus I was having difficultly sleeping and thought coffee might be the culprit. I would say during that 6 months, I was not practicing as much as I should be. It’s exhausting working full time, commuting home, making dinner and then getting a toddler into bed. Even though I have my husband to help out with all that, it’s still tiring. I don’t often get to practicing until 9pm at night. The problem with that is if I do practice, then I get an energy rush and can’t get to sleep until late. It’s a vicious cycle. At the beginning of May I went back to afternoon coffee so I could start getting serious for Belly Dance Off. There was a marked increase in my energy level and practice became a little easier. But coffee isn’t the only trick to fitting in practice time. See the tips below!
Nap Time is Your Friend
Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, use that nap time for practicing! It’s also easy to use that time for cleaning up the house. First, get your butt in your practice space and practice. The housework can wait, don’t worry about it! I find on the weekends it’s far more beneficial for me to practice during my son’s nap. I’m awake and excited, instead of tried and dragging myself to my practice space at 9pm.
Practice with a Friend
I learned this tip from Ruby Beh. Get together with a friend, once a week, once every couple weeks, once a month, whatever works for your schedule. The one downfall of this tactic is that it’s really easy to end up talking most of the time instead of practicing. Make a goal for each time you get together. Try and stay on topic.
Don’t tell my lab mates, but any time I’m in lab by myself, you can find me practicing a move or just doing a little combo. This also occurs in my house, mainly when cooking and no one is looking. Shimmy while brushing your teeth! There are tons of moments where you can just do a little something.
Entertain Your Kid
Most kids love dancing and watching dancing. My son, unfortunately, is going through a phase where he tells me not to dance. But there’s one thing he does love, my veil. So I give him a veil and we dance around with them. It’s fun for him and I get to work on my props. This tip will definitely be age dependent but use it while you can!
I do this on the bus. I listen to my songs and picture myself dancing. It’s a very effective technique. You can do it while driving in the car (but you know, pay attention to the road too). Laying in bed at night, listen to a song and just imagine how you can move to it.
DVDs & VIDEOS
One of the hard things about practicing is deciding WHAT to practice. There are so many things! Choosing can seem overwhelming when you are maxed out and have no bandwidth left for making decisions. That’s where DVDs and videos come to the rescue. Another great thing is that you can break them down into bite-size chunks when you only have a few minutes to practice. So if you only have 20 minutes, pop in a DVD and work on something. I highly suggest the Combination Nation DVDs. They have several dancers and short combos that you can use to practice. Also Ruby Beh’s Practice Perfect DVD is great for working on the basics (it’s super long, so if I’m short on time I definitely break this one up into sections). Bahar also has some free super short videos on our Facebook page, for when you are extra pressed for time.
What tips do you have for fitting practice time into your busy life? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on our Facebook page.
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