Discover what a day in the life of a dancer with an auto-immune disease really looks like
Anyone who describes themselves as a sun baby and ocean dweller, a dreamer and a dancer is a bit of a legend in our book. We chatted to Chelsea of @feedingmindbodysoul fame about how she copes with her autoimmune disease, the best ways to keep her dancer’s bod moving and why self-care is at the top of her to-do list.
She’s got rhythm
When Chelsea wakes up early, she likes to get moving straight away – a habit she sticks to not just for own wellbeing, but for the sake of auditions and gigs. “It’s important for me to keep consistently fit, it could be a trip to the gym, a run, yoga, pilates or a dance class – whatever I choose that day, I’ll always stretch after my workout,” says Chelsea.
She also knows the importance of fuelling her body properly to keep up with her hectic schedule, so Chelsea chooses to eat two brekkies, one before exercise and one afterwards. During the day she sustains energy levels by eating more frequent, smaller meals, as well as a smoothie for lunch and healthy snacks.
Admin, choreography and lesson plans also form a big part of Chelsea’s day, so she takes a break from her computer wherever possible. “I’ll busy myself with chores around the apartment, go for a short walk, or stretch it out with a bit of yoga,” she says. “In the evening I make myself a hearty dinner and prepare for the next day. I do some light yoga, stretching, or meditation and then it’s early to bed, ready for tomorrow!”
And finally… dessert… because balance is important.
Treasuring her time in the sun
Chelsea has been battling an autoimmune disease for years – although to look at, she’s the picture of health.
“I think autoimmune diseases are particularly disheartening – from the outside you usually look fine, but internally you’re feeling so unwell,” she says. “The pain radiates into your bones and you feel weary to the core; physically unwell, and it will affect you mentally too.”
Chelsea has her good days, then other days where she struggles to even get out of bed. And while every autoimmune disease is different, she explains that every flare up will differ too and she’s taught herself to take each day as it comes.
“I know I will make it through every flare up, come out the other side and have my time in the sun again,” she says. “You just have to learn to be really good at knowing when enough is enough, and when you just need to cut yourself some slack. It’s certainly taught me a lot about myself, and how to treasure the good times.”
Self-care = self-love
Chelsea used to think a self-care routine was something you do once in a while. Now, she sees her whole life as one big self-care routine – that’s our kinda girl. She strives to balance work with play every single day.
“Do things that make you laugh, smile, and feel alive. Every now and then, splurge on the things you don’t really ‘need’ – like the odd Netflix binge or a solo dance party in your bedroom – these are all parts of being healthy,” says Chelsea.
Her final piece of advice for those seeking balance in their lives is to get organised with their evening routine. Chelsea’s is filled with essential oils, candles and a hot bath.
“I couldn’t do without my diffuser. My favourite essential oil is lavender because it helps me to unwind and relax,” she says. “I steer clear of artificial lighting, it just stimulates the brain when I’m trying to prepare for sleep, and instead I use candles which helps give my space a more relaxed atmosphere.”
From there, Chelsea says you can’t go wrong with some calming, peaceful tunes, a good book and remembering to savour the small moments, “like watching the sunset from my window, or a hot bath or shower followed up with my skin and hair care routine (jam-packed with lots of soothing, organic products that make me feel good), and writing in my gratitude journal, to help me end the day on a positive note.”