Confession: when I’m home alone, I blast Taylor Swift and dance around with my dog, Pancake. And I don’t mean dance a little. I’ll run around chasing Pancake, leaping in the air, spinning around, and it makes me feel good. Like, really good. 

When I was four or five years old, my parents put me in a dance school. I quit after my first class because I didn’t want to spin around to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on stage with other clumsy preschoolers. During college, I took ballroom dance as one of my fitness courses, but it was right after I fractured my knee cap. Just imagine how graceful I must have looked in a full ACL brace trying to waltz. And most recently, in my first ever aerial performance, there was a moment that was perfect for a dance break. So naturally, I chose to air guitar instead of taking things too seriously.

I had a particularly stressful December, and I was looking for a way to unwind a bit. There have been a ton of studies touting that dancing makes you happy. So despite how idiotic I look shakin’ my thang to T Swift, I decided to attempt a 30-day dance challenge.

THE RULES

I made a 25 - 30 minute playlist for every day of the week and told myself I would dance every morning to see if it altered my mood. Below are the playlists I used. Huge shout-out to The Fitness Marshall. His workouts are FREE and ridiculously fun.

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

I’ll be honest: I failed this challenge the first time around. And that’s okay. I assured myself I would try again in the new year. The second time around, I made it through the entire month, and I’m so happy I did.

THE OVERVIEW

The first week was my attempt to get into a morning routine that kicked off with dancing. Despite the fact that my new alarm didn’t actually go off on the first day… The rest of the week went rather well. 

One of my more brilliant moments of this challenge was when I added “Pony” by Ginuwine to the Wednesday playlist at the last minute. Man, there’s nothing like your inner Magic Mike coming out at 5:30 AM.

The second week, I danced off quite a bit of alcohol. I even had a buddy dance party! Work For Your Beer co-founder, Alicia, danced with me after our sleepover (because we are adults and sleepovers are totally normal). There were some complicated combinations in Kelis’ “Milkshake,” and when Alicia and I finally nailed it, we cheered WAY too loud and high-fived in celebration! We threw in “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj as a bonus song that day, because that song is too damn fun, and I knew she’d love it.

The third week, I was in Vegas for work. My room wasn’t massive, but there is always enough room to dance! I realized my headphones don’t sync perfectly to YouTube, so sorry to anyone in the rooms next to me who heard “Work, Bitch” by Britney Spears on full blast at 5:15 AM. One day this week, after a particularly crappy evening, I actually just modified the playlist to things that I thought would make me happy. It truly put me in a much better mood to kick-off the day. 

The last week of the challenge, I got to weave in a brewery Zumba class at Bold Missy Brewery! Dancing with other people is a completely different experience than dancing alone, but I absolutely adore the beer fitness community because it’s such a judgment-free zone. Lybbi, the Zumba instructor, has such a fun personality! I found myself smiling through the entire class (even during all of the squats). It was a great way to close out the challenge. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, I felt invigorated. In my opinion, there is no better way to kick off your day than by being goofy, getting a little sweaty, and listening to some upbeat music! Some of the videos genuinely made me laugh (whether it was something The Fitness Marshall said or me trying to follow his moves), and any workout I can laugh during is a good workout.

At the end of everything, I wouldn’t say I’m a better dancer. But I will say that I dance around a lot more often to relieve stress! After all: why be moody when you can shake your booty?