WHY EUSTRESSIN'?: RAVEN NICOLE GIBBS
Following your passion can be very difficult. I can honestly say that I look up to this young lady who has not only balanced a full-time job and traveled the world dancing, but she has also founded a non-profit to provide kids an avenue of expression through dance. It was a pleasure to sit down with one of my biggest supporters and to see how she adds Good Stress in her life.
HEY RAVEN, WHY EUSTRESSIN’?
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/ HOW LONG?
I am a professional dancer and have been since 2014.
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR PROFESSION?
I am CONSTANTLY thinking about my mental health in the entertainment industry!
WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR JOB THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THAT OTHERS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
Aside from the stress of castings, auditions, and deadlines, the constant pressure of being the desired “look” can weigh an entertainer down. No pun intended. It is also easy to fall into a trap of comparison and many times dancers find their self-worth dependent on the amount of castings they receive, the amount of praise given from their teachers, or their big ticket castings. Up until recently, I struggled with this.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TAKING ON DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES?
Last year, after dancing professionally for two years, I began to put my mental health in the forefront of everything I do. I had grown tired of beating myself up after every audition whether it went well or not. I was constantly overwhelmed by my thoughts and felt like I wasn’t good enough in my career, in my relationships and wanted to quit. Last year, I took a break from dance and focused that energy on getting better physically and mentally, and learned how to better manage my emotions instead of letting anxiety dictate my actions.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE STRESSORS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
Daily affirmations have been amazing for me! I wake up earlier so that I can start my day with meditation and prayer and then, of course, head to my bathroom to get ready for my day. On my mirror, there are affirmations written in dry erase marker that I reference daily.
HOW DOES BEING MENTALLY HEALTHY HELP IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK OR ON THE JOB?
I feel energized, confident and ready to take on anything. Obviously this is helpful in everything from auditions to actual performances because the goal is to possess energy onstage and look sure of what you’re doing. The better you feel mentally, the better you look physically in performances.
WHAT DOES EUSTRESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AT WORK? AT HOME/AWAY FROM WORK?
Eustress is having a busy schedule and full calendar, but having effective time management skills to power through it all while still making time to take care of you, spend time with friends and family, and maintaining a healthy work life balance. Eustress is hearing the critique, but using it to build my professional skills.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD TELL SOMEONE JUST STARTING IN YOUR PROFESSION OR A YOUNG PERSON WHO ASPIRES TO BE THE PROFESSIONAL THAT YOU ARE?
Take time for yourself. Tune out everything; your teacher, your parents, your peers. Discover what you love about you and remind yourself of it daily. This industry is purposely damaging. They want to break you down. They want to weed you out. They can’t when you know and are sure of who you are. Take the time to find yourself.
ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU WANT PEOPLE TO ABOUT YOU AND WHAT YOU'RE UP TO?
I recently founded a nonprofit organization, Motiv8 Inc., that is dedicated to preserving the arts in disadvantaged communities, inspiring artistic expression, and cultivating positive behaviors in our youth. My goal is to teach them at an early age their worth. Please learn more about our mission and what you can do to help at www.wemotiv8you.com
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION?