In this post: No matter how busy you are, after a demanding day of dance in the studio you deserve a simple and easy self-care recovery routine! Grab this 4 Step Dancers Rest & Recovery Routine I share with all my dance students, to bring relief to your sore muscles and support your overall mental and physical health. So you can wake up feeling resilient and ready to take on your next day.
Let’s face it. Sometimes when I come home from an intense day of dance– I’m sore, stiff, and the idea of stretching and putting in ANY more effort to take care of my body seems impossible!
However, I’ve also had so many terrible nights of sleep and even worse mornings! Simply because I didn’t take a few minutes when I got home from dance to properly support the healing and recovery my body needs.
One night I was particularly sore, covered in ice packs and using tiger balm on my strained quads and hamstrings.
I thought to myself, “why am I not tending to my emotions and mental fatigue after dance as I do my muscles and tendons?” I want to feel that self-care glow on all levels, body, mind, and spirit! I deserve to wake up feeling rested and mentally recharged after all that dancing I did!”
So I made some simple shifts that made a BIG difference. Not only did my mental state improve, but I got better sleep and woke up less sore. Plus, my performance in the dance studio later that day was productive!
I felt great. And I wasn’t as exhausted or tight as I would normally be. Here’s what I changed…
This is the 4-step routine that I follow literally every night after a long day of dance. It will bring relief and relaxation physically, mentally, and emotionally to your entire body.
Step 1: 3 Nutritional Keys to Aid Recovery & Healing
#1 Take Your Recovery Supplements And/Or An Anti-Inflammatory
One of my top go-to’s is Tumeric. It’s a safe and effective whole food anti-inflammatory.
I often make a turmeric latte when I get home from the studio. It feels so soothing to have a warm cup of something to drink.
I simply add Your Super – Golden Mellow turmeric powder to a cup of oat milk, sprinkle in some cinnamon, and sip away. This is both beneficial for my body and relaxation. If I don’t have time or ingredients for this, I always keep a turmeric supplement on hand.
Fun Fact: Turmeric is a potent homeopathic anti-inflammatory. Traditional NSAID pain relievers (ibuprofen, Tylenol) have the potential to damage your liver and cause gut inflammation. Turmeric, on the other hand, strengthens and supports your body’s natural ability to heal itself and reduce inflammation.
At one point, I was taking up to 3 doses of ibuprofen a day! I quickly realized this was unhealthy and made the shift to take better care of my gut.
Along with the turmeric, I also take additional supplements I know will help with my recovery and provide adequate nutrients for my needs. I always take my supplements with a meal or protein shake. It’s important to note that each body is different, so be sure to consult your coach or physician before adding any new supplements to your diet.
#2 Have A Protein-Rich Meal Or Protein Shake
I need to make sure that whether it is a cooked meal or a protein shake, I’m getting a good dose of protein at the end of my day.
Sometimes I’m so exhausted from teaching and dancing all day that the idea of making a meal is too much, especially if I don’t want to eat super late– so a protein shake (I prefer pea protein or plant-based) is ideal here.
If I want actual food, but I’m too tired to cook, I keep tuna or mackerel cans in the cupboard. This gives me a good solid dose of protein. I love it on toast with hummus. It’s also rich in Omega-3s, another great natural anti-inflammatory.
#3 Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Don’t skimp on the H2O.
We need to drink as many ounces of water as we weigh per day. It may sound like a lot, but as dancers, we expend so much energy and sodium from our body when we sweat and it’s crucial to replenish our body’s hydration.
Without proper hydration, our muscles cannot restore and regenerate as quickly.
Step 2: Epsom Salts To Increase Circulation & decrease Inflammation
- Draw a Bath with 1 cup of Epsom salts, (you can light a candle and play some soothing chill music too)
- Place a cold wash cloth or eye pack from the freezer to boost that feeling of ahhhh.
- Hydrate with a cup of water or my fav, a La Croix pomegranate sparkling water.
- Breathe deeply, mentally clear your day, and feel your stress and soreness soak away!
Taking a hot bath not only boosts your blood circulation and reduces inflammation, but it’s a wonderful way to rest and relax after a long day. The transdermal absorption of magnesium really helps to soothe my muscles.
If you’re like me, sometimes I say “when am I going to have time for a bath?”. Trust me, the bath doesn’t have to be a long one to be effective. Even just ten minutes or the length of listening to your three favorite songs does wonders! (Don’t have a bath? That’s ok, take a long hot shower, or soak your feet instead)
This is a great chance to practice deep breathing and meditation to bring your mental relaxation to the forefront of your mind. Try focusing on breathing in for 5 and out for seven and let your breath and mindfulness of your body calm you down and tune you in to how you’re really feeling.
“Bath and salts, candle and music, eye pack and water – now you just have to breathe.”
Step 3: Push out Post Dance Class Fatigue: stretch, foam roll, tiger balm
- Face crème and beauty moment (smile, you’re lovely)
- Comfy clothes and dedicated 5-10 minutes of stretching
- Foam roll and stretch
- Massage Tiger Balm into your sore spots, legs, back, arms etc
Self-Care Tip: Right after the bath I also feel better if I tend to my skin a bit. I apply my night crème and eye mask since my pores are open from the steam and hot water, and my skin drinks it up! It makes me feel fresh and beautiful, a lot better than I did when I was covered in sweat and my mascara was smudging…right?
I also use my favorite LUSH body lotion, Dream Cream. The rose and lavender are so soothing.
After your bath is the best time to stretch for even just five minutes, but try for ten. Your muscles are warm and loose, your tendons are relaxed and you’re breathing much deeper now.
I like to foam roll practically every inch of my body. The stretching and rolling really push the fatigue and soreness out of my body.
I also take this time to massage in my Tiger Balm (which has camphor) or Traumeel (which has arnica). Personally, I prefer tiger balm as it’s soothing and makes my sore knees, hips, quads, and hamstrings feel better nearly immediately. Some people also like a magnesium rub, but I only use this when I’m desperate, personally, it’s a little sticky for me.
Step 4: Ice, Heat, Ice Formula For Truly Sore Muscles After Dance Training
- Ice pack 10 min
- Heating pad on low or medium 10 min
- Ice pack 10 min
- Bonus: Add in meditation and visualization to bring your self-care full circle before going to sleep.
For those truly sore evenings, remember you want to ice, heat, ice. Not just Ice!
The combination of ice, heat, and ice not only brings inflammation down with the first initial ice but then the rush of heat pushes the blood flow through that area causing new blood to rush in. This greatly contributes to the reduction of inflammation and the healing of the body. Then icing again continues this process to bring the inflammation down.
I do this in bed after all the previous steps, then I’m soothed from the inside out and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Wind Down Tip: I put my headphones in and meditate for 10 minutes or until I fall asleep. This seems to wrap my day up and get me spiritually grounded, breathing deeply, and feeling complete. Everything else can melt away. Your to-do list, your homework, any strain from relationships… Just let it all go.
Breathe and visualize your dreams for yourself, and know you are capable and worthy of bringing your dreams to life!
“I’ve always found that I truly feel better in every aspect of my life when I have tended to my body in a thorough and loving way. This 4 Step Dancers Rest & Recovery Routine has been a game-changer for me!”
I’ve dealt with strains, pinched nerves, hyperextension, overused hip flexors, tendonitis, plain old sore muscles, and mental and emotional fatigue. When I don’t take care of my body after an intense day of dance, I always pay the price with terrible sleep and fatigue the next day.
Taking care of your one, precious and beautiful body is what you deserve.
You need to dedicate the same attention and care to your body at the end of the day when it’s sore, as you do in the studio training your technique and choreography.
So now when you hear your body saying, “Um, heyyy girl? Can you please love me, feed me, soak me, massage me, stretch me, ice me and rest me!” You now have a simple 4 step self-scare dance recovery routine to restore physically, de-stress your mind, and reset your energy before bed.
I’d love to hear how my Kea Method 4 Step Dancers Rest & Recovery Routine works for you!
Try it out and drop a comment below to let me know how your body and mind feel after a little self-care recovery love!