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Mental Health Awareness Week!

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by one of my care homes, to run a dance class for them. The manager said she was conscious that the well-being and morale of her staff has been low over the last two years, as a result of Covid. So she wanted to run a staff appreciation day, to say thank you for all their hard work.

I go into this home quite regularly to dance Ballroom and Latin American with the residents, but a lot of the staff had never really got involved, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received. I had a feeling that most of them would watch for a bit and leave with embarrassment. How wrong I was!

The manager had clearly spoken to the staff to say they can get dressed up a bit and let their hair down. So, after starting off as I normally would with something slow, just to see how people reacted to the music, I decided to teach some salsa. Now, this is not something I usually dance in a carehome as its quite fast and generally, not a dance that the residents would know. Once I had taught some steps to the staff that were with me, I put some music on, so that they could give it a go and at this point, people appeared to turn from everywhere! Not only were some of the staff dressed up and in fancy dress, but some of the residents had also decided to dress up in costume, in support of the staff!! The music was playing, the staff were dancing and joking, the residents were laughing and clapping along and everyone was having a really great time!

And this is a good example of how great music and dancing is! Not only is it exercise, it is also very uplifting! And laughter can be infections, so it’s also very good for wellbeing and mental health, which is the reason I was doing the session in the first place! Not only was it great for the staff though, the residents had a good time, some of them even joined in and this was an added benefit for the staff as they were smiling and laughing with them!

I think this particularly poignant, as this week is mental health awareness week. And I think so many of us have struggled with our thoughts over the last couple of years in particular. By this, I don’t just mean the staff in the carehomes I go in to, but also the residents and some of them are less likely to speak up and talk about their mental health. This is one of the reasons why I feel I am very lucky to be able to do what I do, ballroom & Latin American dancing in the carehomes, singing along with them and generally making a fool of myself, not only to give them a source of entertainment, but also to lift their spirits and, hopefully, help their mental health and wellbeing!

If you work in a carehome and would be interested in having some dancing at the home, please do get in touch. simon@bestfootforward.dance and I will book you in!

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