Erika here, your MTCA health & wellness coach, with a few health tips for the season ahead. It’s a wild time of year and it’s so important to remember to pay attention to our personal wellness. Here are a few ways to do just that…
1. Make social plans
As the weather gets cold, it’s easy to hermit. And I am here for some restful hermitting. But make sure you’re making plans to connect with other humans. Connection is one of the biggest fighters of depression and anxiety, and it’s massively important- especially during the dark and cold seasons. Call a friend or loved one, and make sure you’re adding in quality time to your week. It helps us re-fuel and boosts our happy hormones.
2. Sip ginger tea
You can slice a few pieces of ginger straight from the root and steep it in hot water, or get ginger tea bags. It’s cold and flu season, and ginger reduces inflammation and congestion, and is a wonderful soother. Especially for singers! When we drink non-caffeinated tea, we’re also hydrating (which we sometimes forget to do when it’s cold out)- so double win! Hydration is always a plus. Cozy up with a mug of delicious ginger tea before bed, to soothe your insides and help the day digest.
Hug humans, hug pets, hug yourself…we need human touch and it is lacking a bit right now. Hold on for eight seconds – I promise you’ll feel less anxious when it’s done. Or you could consider a weighted blanket that will soothe the body in the same way a hug does. Again, this helps those happy hormones soar. And we love happy hormones!
4. Get your Vitamin D
We forget about this key vitamin this time of year, but it’s so important for a variety of reasons. It helps our body retain calcium and phosphorus (so important for building healthy bones!) and helps our muscles work efficiently. I’m looking at you dancers! But maybe most importantly, it boosts our energy levels and we need all the energy we can get through this season. You can talk to your doctor about taking it in supplement form, or just step outside for a twenty-minute walk in the sun.
5. Turn it off
We’re all becoming more and more addicted to our phones, but we need at least two hours a day where we put it down. If that seems daunting, start with a half hour and build up from there. Constant stimulation causes us to disconnect from ourselves, and that leads to trouble down the road. The light from the phone can interrupt our sleep cycle, and the isolation can elevate our depression and anxiety. So turn it off! Be with you. If you don’t like complete silence, try listening to a podcast, some music, or a guided meditation (there are great ones on YouTube!).
6. Eat the rainbow
Try and incorporate as many colors as possible in your meals throughout your day. Each color offers a different, and important, nutrient. For example, naturally red foods (tomatoes, bell peppers, apple skin) contain lycopene. Lycopene contains tons of antioxidants and is really good for your heart! The more colors you eat throughout the day, the more you’re fueling your body with the good stuff. And we need the good stuff to function at our best!
7. Find a natural mood booster
Include an element of nature in your room to help calm your senses and help you focus. When we see plants, smell scented oils or candles, have fresh cut flowers to freshen the air, or listen to a playlist of inspiring music, our cortisol levels drop and we feel calmer and focused. Tiny tricks like this can really add up to make a difference in our overall mood and productivity!
That’s all for now but as you navigate the audition season ahead, I’m always here if you need me. I’ve loved meeting many of you thus far, and am cheering for you always. Taking care of our mind, body and soul is the best thing we can do for ourselves as performers. Wishing you and yours a wonderful and warm holiday season!
About the Author
Erika is a proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC. She has performed all over the country and Off-Broadway (St. Joan of the Stockyards, winner of BroadwayWorld’s Performer of the Year), but most especially in her home state (Pittsburgh CLO: Titanic, Peter Pan, Pump Boys & Dinettes, A Musical Christmas Carol, Up & Away, Ring of Fire, Pittsburgh Public Theatre: Hamlet, The Cake, Bristol Riverside Theater: Gypsy, Pirates of Penzance, St. Vincent Summer Theatre: Beauty and the Beast, Leading Ladies, City Theater, Quantum Theatre Co among others). She has merged her experience in the entertainment industry with her passion for health and wellness, and is a proud Health & Wellness Coach to performers of all ages. Erika helps her clients feel safe, proud, and comfortable in their skin- both on and off the stage.