Acting can be a very demanding profession. Spending hours and hours in the theater at class or rehearsals can be draining, not to mention the physical and emotional toll that a play or classes can take on you. And if you’re trying to do all of that plus auditioning, doing an occasional staged reading, running lines while also working a day job, you’re sure to wear yourself thin.
That’s why self-care is so crucial for actors. It’s essential that we take care of all of our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs so that we don’t burn out, and so we can come to each performance with our full selves.
So if your goal is to have better self-care this year, we have a few tips to keep you in good shape:
- Eat Healthy
Any healthy food substitutions you can make are a plus. Just because you’re out late at rehearsal doesn’t mean you have to eat junk. Take time to make nutritious meals ahead of time and bring them with you, or take energy snacks with you to avoid fly-by food. Think of food choices in terms of colors. Green is good. So are purple, blue orange, red and yellow. Beige and white, not so much.Tackle mind-fogging sugar with healthy lower-glycemic choices such as coconut sugar, Stevia, raw honey and other healthy substitutes. Limit gluten. Notice how you feel.
Finding time for workouts may seem like sheer fantasy given an already crowded schedule, but did you know that even a few minutes here and there can make a positive difference?Short sprints, walks around the block, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator — it all counts toward keeping in shape. Stamina-wise, you are helping yourself to deeper breathing, greater flexibility, mental focus, alertness and endurance.
If you can make time for intense workouts, do it. Spice up your routine with a Zumba class, dance class or kickboxing. Make yourself accountable to someone else and tell them each time you go to the gym, or find a friend to go with you to make it more fun.
The exhaustion culture may regard sleep deprivation as a badge of honor, but getting enough rest pays big dividends for your health and acting career.Healing—mental, physical and emotional—happens mostly while you sleep, so don’t deprive yourself needlessly.
Routine sleep deficits can show up at inconvenient times in the form of lagging energy, distraction, lack of focus and missed opportunities—not to mention compromises to your health and wellness.
The fix? Try cutting back on rehearsing lines or checking your social media late at night, move bed time up half an hour each night until you’re feeling rested when you wake up. Your attitude, health and performance will improve and you’ll accomplish more with less effort.
There’s a reason successful people swear by this simple de-stressor. Even a few minutes a day is calming and centering, helping you notice important details you might otherwise miss.Meditation brings you into alignment with your deeper creative self, helps your day flow and yields amazing insights. You’ll also be more centered and better able to connect with your emotions in class or rehearsals.
If you’re new to meditation, sit comfortably, shut out distractions, take a few deep breaths and let go of mental to-do lists. Picture peace, or light, listen to what your inner voice is trying to tell you.
- Drink Water
Staying hydrated can help boost immunity, keep your system in good running condition, and lubricate your voice.Go for six to eight glasses daily or half your weight in ounces (ex: 150 lbs. = 75 oz. water). Sipping throughout the day is more hydrating than drinking a lot of water at once.
- Maintain Outside Relationships
If you’re so busy that you ignore friends who are outside your theater circle, think twice. Your social network can help you keep a balanced perspective and lighten the load. No matter how busy you are, keeping in touch with friends outside of acting is smart for moral support, a laugh, and good company.
- Seek Mental Help if Necessary
Acting can be a very emotional profession. Not only do we have to deal with countless rejections, but also, the work we do in class or rehearsals can bring up unresolved issues and memories from the past. For tough issues requiring an unbiased listener, seek out a reliable professional. There are plenty of options for help—some with sliding fees—so don’t hesitate to talk it out.