5 Ways to Start the New Year Right

January 3, 2016

If you live anywhere like my cold weather home states—first Minnesota, now New York—you know that taking care of your dancing self in the winter requires a whole new regimen. So whether you’re feeling the chill, or simply trying to start off the new year on the right foot, check out some of these tips.

1. Fill your diet with seasonal produce. Then think about what’s missing.

Yes, it will be months before you eat another truly delicious strawberry again. But winter has its own set of produce that you should take advantage of, and eating seasonally offers peak taste and at the lowest possible price: There’s kale, cauliflower, rhubarb and more. After you make that list, fill in the gaps. Vitamin D deficiency, for instance, is already common among dancers because they spend so much time indoors. But it’s an even bigger issue in the winter.

Why and how to eat kale. Plus other green veggie alternatives.

Smart ways to eat healthy on a budget

How to tell if you’re vitamin D-deficient, and how to fix it

2. Don’t let your cross training falter.

It’s not easy to stay motivated to exercise during the winter, since the easiest, cheapest, most beautiful gym (the outdoors!) has been taken away from you. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of resources available. Do some laps at your local pool, find an indoor track, join the gym or just develop a set of exercises you can do at home. Revel in the chance to change up your routine.

The beginner’s guide to swimming for dancers

Frances Chung’s water kickboard workout

How Ailey dancers stay fit all year long

Make cross training part of your New Year’s resolution.

3. Reevaluate your footcare regimen.

Winter is harsh on your skin, which can mean trouble for your tootsies. As a dancer, you’re already prone to blisters, splits and other foot problems. Paying extra attention to your feet during the coldest months is well worth the effort.

A guide to overcoming pointework’s pain

From skin splits to bunions—common dancer feet woes

4. Fight off flu season. And cold season. And every other sickness season.

It’s coming, whether you like it or not. Be prepared, and if you still find yourself sick, rest for a few days. You won’t be dancing at your best, and worse, you could spread your germs to someone else.

Zinc: the immune system boost you might be missing

How to survive cold season

5. Curb stress and keep your head up.

Seasonal depression is a real thing, and even if you don’t have a full-blown diagnosis, it can be easy to feel down during the grey winter months. And though the stressful holidays are over, the time of year that follows can seem even more difficult to tackle since it’s audition season at every stage—summer intensive, college and company.

Work your way out of a slump.

The link between stress and injury

Why it takes more than auditioning to book that job.

7 things your agent wishes you knew