12 Months Later

Where does a year go!

Since opening the doors of my Dublin studio one year ago, I have been blessed to be surrounded by like minded people who share the same mission: to empower themselves and defy their own limitations and expectations. I am amazed at how much my little studio has grown and by the progress of all of the students who come and dance with us. It has been a rollercoaster of a year and I am grateful to have shared it with some truly amazing individuals here at the academy!

pole dancing dublin
Performing at my studio’s opening night party 1 year ago!

I have been reflecting on the events of the past 12 months, the triumphs and the challenges, both in business and in life. I was hit with some realisations not only about myself, but about the lives of many people I know. I wanted to share some of these thoughts and insights with you.

I’ve noticed a recurring theme these days: lack of self-care… Or maybe, lack of care of the self.

I have had a handful of conversations with people over the past few weeks where they are feeling completely run down, and I have been in this situation many times myself since opening the studio! The recurring message is that they are too busy nurturing everyone else, or paying attention to external concerns, and are finding it difficult to find time to take care of themselves.Think about this for a moment. How can you be there for others if you are not taking care of yourself? If you are run down, exhausted, and resentful, where are you going to find the necessary energy to take care of your own needs, else let alone someone you care about?When our lives become hectic and jam-packed the first thing we take off our plate is “me time.” And this is the same mistake I have been very guilty of myself, as well as seeing it see over and over again with my clients as well as friends and family. I have made myself pretty run-down on several occasions over the past year, all because I neglected to take care of my own basic needs for rest and respite.It may seem counter intuitive, but when life becomes chaotic and jam-packed, one of the lessons I’ve learning is that “me time” should be the priority.Think about this: If you run your smartphone non-stop, 24/7, eventually that battery is to going to run out of energy. When it runs out of energy it will be of no use to anyone. It is the same thing for the human body. If we push ourselves non-stop, 24/7, to do more and more, eventually our energy will be totally drained. When we run out of energy, we will be of no use to anyone.

We need to stop and recharge every now and then. We desperately need our “me time” or risk losing our sense of self, as well as our health.I’ve been trying out 3 easy ways to integrate “me time” into your schedule. I’ve been trying them out myself, hopefully they will work for you too! Some of them may seem painfully obvious, however I know myself that sometimes I forget these basic things!

Step 1: Bye-bye internet!

Put away your phone, laptop, and tablets. Get off the internet. Social media and surfing the Internet actually drains your vitality as they are often full of negative information and images which may deplete our energy even more. I have taken it upon myself to carve out times of the day when I will check my personal email and Facebook page, and only during these times! I find that it stops me wasting time by just flicking over to see what’s happening in my news feed or inbox, and this ultimately keeps me focused on the important things that I need to do in a day. When I am with my family and partner, my phone is in a separate room so that I can’t get distracted. Try this for a week to see how it can benefit you!

Step 2: Restorative activities!

Come to your class at Irish Pole Dance Academy! There are the obvious benefits of positive effects that movement has on reducing stress and restoring valuable energy. And, you’ll get to meet likeminded people who are on the same page as you; working together to master the next pole trick or perfect their choreography! If anything else, coming to a pole dance class gives you the excuse to put on some nice training gear (maybe even a pair of heels) and get away from the world for an hour or two.

If you can’t make it to class, practice at home with one of our video tutorials or have a stretch! Even 15 mins of stretching will make you feel refreshed and more relaxed.

Read a positive, uplifting book. Whether you realise it or not, you are constantly bombarded with negative imagery and messaging (that’s simply the way modern media is). This is extremely draining. By choosing to engage with something positive, you can restore balance to your energy levels. My favourite book from the past 12 months is ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’.

Meditate. Just 5 minutes a day of sitting or lying down on the floor in silence, focusing on your breathing, will do wonders for your overall well being. It gives your brain a chance to be silent, and a chance for your body to simply ‘be’. Youtube has lots of free meditation music that you can listen to and use.

Take an Epsom Salt bath. If you don’t have a bath or Epsom Salts, treat yourself to a nice long shower and your favourite body lotion. (Of course we don’t recommend covering yourself in body lotion if you plan on coming to pole class in the same day!) 😉

Watch a funny or uplifting movie.There’s a lot to be said for having a good laugh!

Hang out with friends and family. Quite often we go for long periods of time without seeing our friends, as work takes a large part of our adult lives. Make a point of blocking some time in your calendar over the next month where you will use this to hang out with people that you love. Even if it just means a phonecall or quick cup of coffee with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Guard this time and make it your number one priority to spend it with other people!

Step 3: Set boundaries!

I know you are probably thinking, but I don’t have the time or help/support to do any of the above. Too many people need me…You can set kind, clear boundaries like: “Tonight’s my night to go to pole class, will you please not call me about work?” or “I really need a break today will you please make your own dinner?”. Let go of perfectionism and control and allow others to step forth and take care of things for you. If you don’t have someone to take over, then just leave your duties for a few minutes. Believe me, they will still be there when you get back, and you will be ready to tackle them with full vigour.

Another powerful realization I had is that the ‘to do’ list never gets smaller. There is always something that will need to be done, no matter how hard you work. Once you accept this, you can stop feeling guilty about always having something unfinished on that list!Be open to receiving help. Don’t be shy to ask and most importantly don’t say no when it is offered. Don’t expect people to offer when you need it, and get frustrated when they don’t. You will be surprised how many people are willing to help, all we have to do is ask!As you move into this week, set aside time to recharge. Mark it on your calendar. Set up a reminder on your smartphone (that is, before you switch it off of course!) and schedule it with the appropriate people involved.

Whatever you need to do… Do it. Don’t let the next 12 months slip away in a stressed-out blur!

Pole love,
Arlene xx

arlene caffrey interpol dublin
Recently I took some time away from the studio to go and see one of my favourite bands, Interpol, at the Olympia, Dublin. I was smiling for a week!