Suzannah Friscia's blog

As much fun as social media can be, you may also be familiar with the unpleasant side effects of constantly comparing yourself to others. Maybe a bunch of your dance friends posted photos from a performance you couldn't make it to, or your classmate got into the summer intensive you wanted and then boasted about it on Facebook.

If you've ever needed to take time off from dance due to injury, then you know how frustrating it can be to rebuild muscle strength after a long period of inactivity. But a recent study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology found that the mind—not just the body—may play a key role in maintaining strength.

This winter, as you juggle busy rehearsal schedules, Nutcracker performances and New Year's plans, it's important to stay health-conscious to fight off those nasty seasonal colds that can slow you down. Try these foods to give your immune system a boost, so you'll head to the studio feeling your best: 

 

After a particularly rough day in the studio, or a long and tiring performance, last-minute holiday shopping might be the furthest thing from your mind. But a recent study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that shopping can actually boost your mood. 
The research showed that when people were feeling down, shopping was 40 times more likely to cheer them up than other activities.

When winter hits (especially if you live in the north), the shorter days and chilly temperatures can start to get you down. But there are simple things you can do to cheer yourself up as you go through your day. Try these tips the next time you're longing for spring:

It's no secret that negative thoughts—the kind that circle around and around in your mind— can make it harder to sleep. Maybe you're nervous about taking on a new role in an upcoming performance, or daunted by a busy rehearsal schedule. Previous research has noted the link between lack of sleep and the development of repetitive negative thoughts.

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but with the marathon of Nutcracker rehearsals and performances, the holiday season can also be one of the most stressful times for dancers. It's important to carve out some downtime for yourself, but for those days that are just too hectic, try these quirky research-backed tricks for some instant relief: 

When faced with a decision, big or small, how can you be sure you're making a smart choice? The strategy may depend on what type of decision is being made.

You already know that cooking at home makes it easier to control what goes into your meals, allowing you to choose healthy and fresh ingredients to fuel your dancer's body. And a new study published in Public Health Nutrition is ready to back that up, finding that people who frequently cook at home tend to have more nutritious diets overall.

When you're working around a busy schedule of classes and rehearsals, you may be in the habit of eating meals quickly between activities. But two recent studies reveal the potential health benefits of taking your time.