By Sveindís

No matter how much you love pole dancing, how big a part it is of your life and identity, there will still be times in your life where you can’t make it to practices as much as you did before. We all know this. Sometimes life gets in the way. You might be moving between apartments, cities, even countries, you might have A LOT to study for finals, work can be hectic, your family needs you, you could have a temporary or even a chronic injury that limits you, or you might suffer from a disease that sometimes slows you down a little.

Of course, losing your workout rhythm can be demotivating and limiting. The negative voice we all seem to have in the back of our heads sometimes jumps up and gets very loud, and unfortunately sometimes it does get the best of us. We start to believe it, even though the message it usually offers us is negative and untrue. I, same as everyone else, am guilty of sometimes falling into the trap of listening to the negative voice and for criticizing myself beyond what I deserve. Therefore I feel it’s important that we know a few ways to shut the negative voice down when it starts! Here are a few ways I use:

#1 – Go over your past successes

Yes, you might have a long way to go still. But do you remember where you started? When I’m feeling down, lacking motivation to continue, thinking that I haven’t progressed much and letting the negative voice in my head take over, I go over my past successes. I try to remind myself of everything I’ve already accomplished, and how great I have done so far. Remember how hard it was to learn to climb the pole? Touch your toes? Do a backbend? Go to your first class? Wear booty shorts in front of strangers? All this I have (and many of you wonderful readers) accomplished already. We’ve already done so, so much. We challenge ourselves every day, we are constantly learning and trying new things and we’ve awoken our bodies from a deep sleep. We’ve learned to enjoy movement, and that is the greatest gift we can give our bodies. We need to think about everything we’ve already done, instead of focus only on what we still want to accomplish. There is enough time for that later. Be proud of what you have already achieved!

Be proud of yourself, you deserve it

#2 – Find new inspiration and new ways to work out

I get it, repetition can end up being soooo boring. For example, we all know we need to stretch or work out to progress, but even though we know it, actually doing it every day can be very repetitive and sometimes you just don’t feel like it tonight…or the next night .. or the one after that… and oops all of a sudden it’s been 2 months and you haven’t stretched or gone to practices very often. I know. I’ve definitely been there, and criticized myself for it afterwards.

When you feel you’re stuck in a rut and have lost motivation to continue – try to mix it up! I like to go on Instagram, Youtube or search the internet for motivation, new spins and tricks, new combos or dance routines. I also like to use social media and the internet to help me find new ways to exercise, new stretches, new warm-up routines and so on, the possibilities are endless! Sometimes I get bored with designing my own workouts, so then it can be very helpful to find online workout videos to follow. Aa added plus is that you can do them in the comfort of your own home! You can even try to get family members or friends to join you so that you can help each other, exercise together, have a laugh and motivate each other!

The internet is an endless source of workout inspiration! Use it to your advantage!

#3 – Go back to the basics

I know how it is – of course we all want to master the cool tricks as soon as yesterday … we all want to be able to jump into a handspring, whip it into an ayesha and then nail an iron x, all the while smiling! We all want to be super strong, flexible as cats and to have the skills to combine the two into flowing lyrical dance routines. Of course developing skills in all these areas takes patience, practice, persistence and above all – some time. It can get a little frustrating when you feel you are not progressing as fast as you would like, or when you start comparing yourself to someone else and start to feel down or hopeless because you think they are better than you (don’t focus on things like that by the way! Always focus on yourself and your own journey, that’s what matters).

Some good advice I can give you: when you feel those thoughts creeping up on you, slow down a bit, breathe deeply, and take a step back. Stop frustrating yourself trying to smash something that might not be in your reach just yet, and focus more on the things you already know. There is always something you can work on to make it even better – try spending some time practicing your freestyle, on improving your spins, think about how you can make a beautiful entry and exit in and out of spins or combos you know, work on your invert (perhaps go from bent legs to straight legs, or aerial!), try to make your combos more flowing and natural, and so on. There are so many things you CAN do, focus on those instead of what you can’t (just yet). Use your time to perfect what you already know, and at the same time you are conditioning your body so it will be better prepared for when you move on to something more advanced.

Spend a little time focusing on perfecting tricks you already know well

#4 – Take some time off

I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too. Sometimes life sneaks up on you and you just don’t have the time for practice. Other times you just feel tired, unmotivated and lazy and as a result you skip a few practices – over a few days, weeks, even months. It’s completely natural and healthy. Instead of scolding yourself for missing practices or not working out – try to embrace it and accept it. Sometimes it can be good for the body to have a little rest from practices and we come even stronger back after a break. The important thing to remember is to get going again when you feel ready, not falling into the habit of not moving at all for extensive periods – you can of course always use tips #1 to #3 to help you get going again!

Sometimes all you need is a little rest 🙂 take cats as a great example, they are experts at relaxing!

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