Teacher Tune-Up | Just Be

by Sandi Duncan

In this ever-changing landscape of life, we may find ourselves constantly on the go, working to complete as many tasks and goals as the day will allow. If your to-do list is longer than your leg and multitasking is a way of life, you may be in need of some time to “just be.”

(Insert loud groan with arms folded.) You may be thinking, “Is this woman for real? I can barely find time to use the restroom.”

Yet for your health, it is necessary to take time to breathe, relax, and decompress from the hectic schedule of running your business, teaching, choreographing, caring for your family members, and so on. As author Steve Maraboli says, “I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”

“Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.” —Charlotte Eriksson

I’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty incredible teens, and I see many young people learning that an over-scheduled life full of stress and anxiety is the norm. Their stories inspired the creation of my class Empowering Improv, in which I encourage dancers to let go of whatever is causing them to feel anxious and stuck. When leading this class, I find myself repeating the phrase “Just be” over and over—meaning, take time to quiet the mind, heart, and soul; to listen to yourself; and to acknowledge what’s going on in your life. We’re taught to brush aside our feelings and emotions, toughen up, and move forward—and this advice can serve a purpose at times. But it’s also important to pay attention to whatever is holding us back and work through it.

In this chaotic world, how do we find the time to just be?


Give yourself permission. First, it’s absolutely necessary for you to believe that finding decompression time for yourself, each day, is critical for your well-being. Give yourself that permission. This may at first feel self-indulgent, and feelings of guilt may creep in. But remember, if you aren’t at peace, it’s difficult for you to be of value to those around you. Embracing this time each day, with an open heart, will enable you to move forward in your life. So enjoy just being, without guilt.


Evaluate your daily life to find time. Second, take some time—perhaps in the early morning hours when you’re fresh—to evaluate how you spend your time. Is there a time of day that always feels overwhelming? Are you productive during work hours, or are you so distracted by social media, outside forces, and other people that you end up working longer than necessary? Consider making yourself a brief to-do list each day, with specific times for accomplishing your goals, and stick to it. This should enable you to find 5 to 15 minutes to put aside—your “just be” moment for the day.


Photo by Kimi Duncan

Find a peaceful spot to just be. Once you find your “just be” time, explore convenient locations that feel peaceful: a cozy chair, somewhere with a view of nature, a quiet coffee shop, a place by the lake, or even your parked car between jobs. You might want to practice meditation, listen to instrumental music, incorporate deep breathing exercises—or do absolutely nothing and truly just be. Enjoy!


Sandi Duncan is a senior staffer at Melissa Hoffman Dance Center. A certified life coach, she conducts team-building seminars and workshops for studios nationwide.