It’s that wonderful time of year again. The Oireachtas is over and the Christmas songs are on the radio and it’s very easy to relax and not practice Irish dance for weeks on end. There is a voice in the back of your mind constantly nagging you to put your hardshoes on but you push it aside and go for another cookie. It’s too cold to practice and you just need a break. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time off from a grueling practice schedule but I find that it’s much easier to go back to class after New Year’s having practiced.
I find that the best way to stay motivated over the holidays is to set a goal or two for myself. I think that it’s important to make these goals somewhat fun. For me, this usually includes perfecting a new move that I’ve been meaning to try or practicing a new contemporary set. This way I are motivated by something fresh and new. Oftentimes when I start practicing something fun, I end up working on other not so fun things, such as fixing my arms. It also helps to play my favorite Irish Music while practicing. Everybody has that one reel that just wants to make them get up and dance, so put it on!
One of the hardest things to keep up with over the holidays is stamina. My best advice is to mix up your stamina training routine. (There are some great videos on Diddlyi on how to improve stamina here.) If you usually do lots of steps in a row, try some cross-training instead. The elliptical trainer and the treadmill are great places to start and allow you to put headphones in and forget you’re working out. I find that if I do some stamina training throughout the holiday season, everything is much less painful when I go back to class in January. Happy Practicing!
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