several empty apparatuses in a studio

The Attitude Adjustment Bureau

In the words of the late, great Tom Petty, “Some days are diamonds. Some days are rocks.” What to do when you’re having one of those rocky days — but you’ve got circus class that night? Trust us, we’ve been there. Whether you’re coming off a super stressful workday, experiencing turmoil in your personal life, or just dealing with a random case of the blues, here’s what we suggest when you’d rather crawl into bed than come to class.

Accentuate the Positive

It’s certainly cliche, and far from foolproof, but sometimes a gentle reminder of what’s going right in your life can be helpful. Consider your body, and the many wonderful ways in which it moves, the stories you can tell with it, the strength and grace you’ve gained so far on your journey. Remember that you live in a city where circus is accessible, where you have the opportunity to learn from wonderful teachers. You might even ruminate on the pure joy of being alive in a time when circus is enjoying its current renaissance; if we look back even ten years ago, schools were extremely few and far between, and prior to that, they were practically nonexistent.

Take One for the Team

Sometimes it helps to take the focus off of yourself. If you can’t find the motivation to come to class for your own benefit, consider coming in just to support your classmates. Make it your mission to cheer them on, celebrate their victories, commiserate with them when they struggle. Maybe they’re having a hard day too and could use a cheerleader or someone to vent with. Sharing our hard times with others often makes heavy loads easier to bear. And it’s possible just seeing that group of friendly faces you’ve bonded with week after week will raise your spirits before you even get airborne.

Find a Focal Point

If the thought of being in class right now feels overwhelming, try this: pick one thing to focus on and forget about the rest. This isn’t the day to worry about nailing that advanced trick that’s been eluding you, but maybe it’s the day you point your toes in every skill. Or concentrate on not making that weird face (you know the one). Or just pay attention to your breath and how it affects the quality of your movement. Let everything else go. This is all important work, by the way, and spending an entire class period prioritizing it is excellent training.

Give Yourself a Break

If you’re reading through this and it just isn’t resonating, that’s okay! Some days, it’s just not going to happen no matter what. If coming to class feels like too much to handle with whatever else is happening in your life right now, give yourself permission to take the day off. Let your instructor know you won’t be there (no explanation needed), and then reclaim that time however you wish. We’ll see you next week, and you can always schedule a catch-up lesson with your instructor to go over what you missed.

Rocky days happen to all of us. Many times, we feel better after a little air time, and we hope that showing up to class at the end of a rough day will help you shake it off or forget your woes for an hour or so.

Do you have a tried-and-true motivating factor that gets you to class when you’re not feeling it? Please share it with us in the comments!

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