Suzannah Friscia's blog

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.

When you're rushing to the studio for your morning class, it can be tempting to skip breakfast. But a recent study published in the Nutrition Journal found that eating breakfast may help to reduce food cravings and make you less likely to overeat later in the day.

When you're dreading an especially rough day at the studio or a challenging performance, improving your mood could be as simple as changing the way you walk. A recent study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that subjects who walked in a more depressed style (with shoulders rolled forward and less arm movement) experienced worse moods than those who walked in a "happier," more upbeat style.  

Struggling to hone your interpretation of a new role? You may want to reach for some fruit. Many fruits, like bananas and peaches, are high in the amino acid tyrosine, and according to a recent study published in Psychological Research, foods with high tyrosine levels may help us to think harder and more creatively.

Apple picking season is here, making it that much easier to find a healthy snack when you're on the go. Apples are full of fiber and nutrients, and research (detailed in a recent Shape magazine article) shows that they can improve your body's overall health. With thousands of varieties to choose from, each with its own individual flavor and nutritional perks, you can enjoy them all autumn long.

Here are a few dancer-friendly varieties to get you started: