How to Stay Motivated and Healthy Throughout Winter

We're reaching the time of year when the fatigue of Nutcracker, regionals and school haven't quite been replaced by late-season stamina and the mercy of winter vacation.

But guess what? You're almost there, and we've got your back. Here are a ton of tried-and-true ways to stay motivated and healthy through the tough winter season.

Food

Don't go to bed hungry. Nothing's worse than starting a day of school/rehearse/homework/perform/homework/repeat with a calorie deficit. And when you're working in close quarters with a ton of other dancers, #hanger should be avoided at all costs.

(San Francisco Ballet, photo by Erik Tomasson)

Focus

Be a better understudy. Yes, you're dancing 13 performances of "Waltz of the Flowers," and yes, you're tired. But that doesn't mean you can slack off in rehearsals—especially if you're "only" an understudy. Show your professionalism by getting the sleep, fuel and healthcare you need to be your best, even when the spotlight is on someone else.

Health

Address small aches and pains before they become full-blown injuries. Blisters and swelling come with the territory for dancers, but that doesn't mean you can ignore them. Nothing will sideline you quicker than an infected blister or Achilles' tendonitis.

(New York City Ballet, photo by Paul Kolnik)

Beauty

If you're doing your hair on autopilot at this point, try switching things up with a new 'do. Or, use countless shows and rehearsals as a way to (subtly!) test out new makeup looks, like classy contouring, super-bold eyelashes or a shimmery glow.

Pre- and Post-Show

Reinvest in your warmup. There's having an active pre-show ritual, and then there's slamming down into the splits while scrolling through Instagram. Take 10 minutes before rehearsal for this quick total-body workout to center yourself.

Cooling down is as important as warming up. After class, rehearsal or performance, take a few minutes to stretch. Your body will thank you in the morning by letting you walk (maybe). When you have a little more down time, try these relaxing yoga postures.

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