7 Easy Self-Care Tips for Actors


BEING AN ACTOR IS HARD

People tell you that what you do is just “play”. But, you know better.

The emotional, physical, and intellectual work you put into your craft can drive some people to the point of insanity.

This is why self-care is so important in this field.

You can find information all over the internet about how to care for your physical instrument (eating healthy, stretching, yoga, getting enough sleep, etc.).

But, there is a part of your instrument that is often ignored, or worse – abused. That part is your mind.

If you are not caring for your emotional and intellectual well-being you are taking a huge risk with your mental health.

Many actors have allowed their mind to fall into disrepair which has led to consequences including mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide.

Here are several steps you can take to keep your emotional state healthy:

1. Get Outside

There is nothing quite so invigorating as getting outside.

The fresh air, the ambiance, the connection to nature all help clear your mind and keep you in touch with the world outside you little circle.

So, get outside and take a walk, go swimming, take a hike, go camping, anything that gets you out, gets you moving, and gives you a chance to breath.

Plus, if you’re outside, you’re more likely to exercise even if it is just walking to your favorite park bench!

2. Get Enough Sleep

The amount of evidence detailing the importance of a good night’s sleep is overwhelming.

Just take a second and look at all the studies on sleep deprivation and you’ll see the nasty toll it can take on your mind and body.

Sleep is just too important. Don’t overlook it.

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

3. Read

Engaging in an activity that gets you thinking creatively and makes you use your imagination is going to have major benefits on your health.

Books can teach you things, let you escape reality for a bit, help you work out issues in your real life, and increase your empathy.

Plus, the amount of help it gives with things like character development are essential to actors! So, stop “researching” (see: binging Netflix) and start researching!

You’ll see some pretty dramatic improvements in your life!

4. Be Social

Yes, it helps with networking. Yes, it’s fun. And yes, it’s good for you. Don’t be a hermit.

Being alone for too long allows you to get wrapped up in your own head. We’ve seen the kind of tragedy this can lead to.

Pick up the phone or get out of the house and talk to a real person. Not on social media. Talk in real life.

5. Have Hobbies

You are a well-rounded individual with lots of interests.

As actors, we can fall into the habit of narrowing our focus too much.

We feel as if we’re not “real” actors if we’re not constantly pursuing our career 24/7.

You like to do lots of things. So, take time to do other things. “All work and no play,” and all that…

You’ll feel happier and more fulfilled if you’re taking the time to ride your bike, bake, read, garden, or whatever it is you like to do.

6. Positive Self-Talk

This is a really big one for actors.

We get so stuck in the habit of negative thinking.

The entertainment business is a competitive world.

If you mentally inflict self-harm (thinking you’re not good enough or focusing on rejection), your mental health will suffer a serious toll.

Be kind to yourself. You are your best friend and biggest cheerleader.

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

7. Therapy

Sometimes, you need to talk things out with a professional.

There is no shame in this. It’s actually really good for you.

Talking things out with loved ones can be helpful, but often they are too close to the problem (or maybe they are the problem).

Therapists are trained to help you work through tough emotional baggage, which you have to do if you want to be an artist.

I had a teacher who liked to say, “Your shit doesn’t make you an artist.”

So, if you need to, hire someone to help you scrape that shit off your shoe so you don’t track it through every facet of your life.

Instilling these healthy habits allows you to be a better artist and, more importantly, a happier person.

Take care of your whole self so that you can achieve your goals and enjoy your journey.

 
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Erin Floyd-Smith

Erin Floyd-Smith is an actor, writer and mother of two crazy smart, adorable kids. She has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of genres including Shakespeare, musicals, film, and Improv. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Drama from UC Irvine and has attended conservatory acting programs and studied film acting techniques with professionals in the industry. If one thing has been consistent in her career, it is how her real-life role as a mother has been reflected in her acting. Her kids are her inspiration and she am constantly drawing on my relationship with them through my art.

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