Amid a busy rehearsal schedule, exams and much-too-cold weather, it’s easy to find yourself down in the dumps these days. (Hello, Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka depression often caused by the long winter months.) While you may be inclined to hole up in the studio and focus on nailing a new variation, that can actually make you more depressed. Here, former Martha Graham Dance Company member and psychologist Sophie Giovanola, Ph.D., suggests fun and easy ways to boost your happiness. Although they may seem obvious, these simple, relaxing activities are the perfect way to keep your mind and body in balance.
Soak in a warm bath surrounded by aromatherapy candles. (We love soothing lavender-scented ones.)
Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure. (Bright pink toes? Yes, please!)
Listen to relaxing music you enjoy. (Adele, Sara Bareilles—you get the idea.)
Laugh with your best girlfriends. (Plan a sleepover. No boys—or their drama—allowed.)
Have a meaningful conversation with your family. (Believe it or not, chatting with Mom and Dad can be the perfect remedy for a bad day.)
Go shopping! (Buy yourself a new shirt—bonus points if it’s on sale!)
Dr. Giovanola says: Happiness is linked to self-esteem, which can be an issue for dancers who are constantly looking in the mirror and being compared to others. Take some time to recognize the little things you’re good at—besides being a dancer. They can be very rewarding.
Move over, blueberries: There’s a new super food in town. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island are calling maple syrup a super food because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, their study suggests that the syrup may help keep your blood sugar levels in check. The next time you’re looking for something sweet to add to your yogurt (fresh or frozen!), pancakes or oatmeal, reach for the maple syrup.
Did You Know?
When you skip a meal, you’re causing a chemical imbalance that may be making you grumpy. A recent study at Cambridge University found that when our serotonin a neurotransmitter that greatly influences our mood) levels drop, it’s more difficult to control our tempers. Since seratonin plummets when you haven’t eaten, be sure to toss a few healthy snacks in your dance bag before a long day of rehearsals.
Use your break from rehearsals to enjoy time with family and friends in a healthy way (like snowshoeing and building snowmen!). You’ll head back to the studio in January refreshed and ready to rock 2012!