Performing Artists And Mental Health

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How do performing artists care for themselves within their art form?
How do performing artists care for themselves within their art form?

As a former professional ballet dancer, I understand what many performing artists experience in their daily lives. Whether you’re a dancer, actor, singer, musician, or any other creative type, your art form usually requires a lot of you. There are many ups and downs to take into account. With that being said, self-care can be of utmost importance when you’re involved in a performing arts field, especially as it relates to caring for your mental health.

Performing artists are intelligent, motivated, and disciplined creatures. When struggle is present, internalization of the particular issue might occur. Negative thoughts and/or feedback can feel earth-shattering, and perfectionistic tendencies might become detrimental and self-destructive. Some performing artists struggle with achieving their vision of the ideal, a pursuit that is sometimes rewarding and fulfilling … and at other times overwhelming and unattainable. How does an artist maintain balance in striving to achieve his or her optimal best? Goal-setting in this regard can be tempered with setting reasonable expectations, in order to enhance both ambition and the drive to keep creating in a way that is healthy and empowering.

Some artists struggle with maximizing their talents and passions. Others may find that their world has turned “one note,” and feel as if they’re missing out on other aspects of life. Struggles related to internal and external validation might surface. Rejection and injury are also common roadblocks that performing artists encounter, and these can have a negative impact on self-esteem and identity. As we are all human, we are all prone to such struggles - but we don’t have to go through these trials and tribulations alone!

In celebrating life through art, there is sometimes risk and reward. The lifestyles that performing artists embrace are beautifully unique and challenging. Therapy can be a helpful outlet for performing artists who are looking to create, maintain, and sustain a healthy relationship with their art forms, or to explore alternative paths that might fulfill them otherwise.

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