Letter from Terri:
I work in the theatre industry and have trouble focusing on my career and staying healthy and having wellness in my life.I would love any tips you have on keeping a balance between career and quality of life.
Dear Terri, Terri, not contrary…
Staying balanced and focused in any career is a challenge but particularly challenging in the performing arts because of the unconventional scheduling, while also presenting your craft at a higher level each time you present. Performing artists are subjected to some of the most extreme scrutiny and rejection than any other profession. It can take its toll both physically and emotionally. You did not share with me if you are a dancer, singer, stage manager, director, etc. So, I will assume that you are a performing artist. I hope that this list of suggestions will be of assistance to you.
- Maintain a sleep schedule. The body thrives when on a routine. 7 hours of restful sleep is suggested for adults. Try to go to bed before midnight.
- Find an exercise regimen that you are excited about. I love doing Pilates and also enjoy elliptical, running, and long meditative walks. A body in motion is a healthy body. Spa visits are beneficial, along with meditation and massage.
- Don’t complain. I hear lots of people, from various professions, complaining about what they do for a living, the sometimes uncomfortable situations, and the people around them, especially in the arts. Find the positive aspects of what you do each day and focus on that alone. Staying positive is a part of wellness.
- Practice a religious or spiritual faith. Whatever you do, believe in something greater than you. The last thing we need is more self-indulgent, demi-gods in the performing arts. This will help keep you grounded and help maintain a sense of empathy, which is lacking in many artists.
- Write a plan of action. Make a list of auditions you’d like to do, people you’d like to network with, make a vison board or write a letter to yourself stating where you’d like to work and with whom you’d like to work. Do something on your list at least 3 times per week if you are not currently in a show.
- Deliver quality product. Some artists focus on money or fame. If you are doing quality work and are a good colleague, the money and fame are waiting on you. Make sure that your craft is polished and ready to be showcased on the biggest stages of the world. Invest in voice, acting & dance lessons, take free classes, etc. Stay relevant.
- Be package ready. Some artists don’t present the “persona” of who they are selling at all times. You are your product. For instance, I’m an opera singer, so my hair and makeup are always done and I’m always well-manicured and vocal ready to “present” my product. Be prepared to present and live into who you are at all times. Keep high quality copies of your resume, cards, and head shot ready.
- Mental health is wealth. Doing all of the things listed above will help encourage emotional health. Many artists experience “emotional drain.” The everyday hustle of “making it happen” and being “on” can take its toll. Be a beacon of light and mental wellness advocate for others. Do your affirmations and meditation. Seek counseling and medication if you need it. If your doctor prescribes medication, do not be ashamed to take your meds.
- Take supplements and maintain a balanced diet. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I do raw blended smoothies. I also do vitamin B injections with amino acids when I need an extra boost of energy. Find exactly what works for you and be committed to it.
- Have your yearly check-ups. If you do not have health insurance, get it. There are several websites that offer cost effective health insurance. Do a Google search for affordable health plans. Obamacare is good for some but not for all. Weigh your options and choose wisely. Once you have insurance, go to the eye doctor, dentist, OBGYN, etc., and have all of the nooks and crannies checked & maintained. (smile)
- NO DRUGS EVER! This is a red line and includes marijuana. Marijuana is legal in several states, and if you live in NYC it is legal to have up to a quart size bag of marijuana on your person without fear of legal reprimand. While on your journey to career success, it is important to have a clear mind free of lethargy. Are there hugely successful people who do drugs throughout their careers? Yes. Believe me, they are an anomaly. If drugs of any type are a problem for you, get help. Never has there been a high good enough or effective enough to ensure career success.
- Limit alcohol intake. There are various studies and articles written about alcohol and its effects on the body. I’ll only speak to the effects of alcohol on the vocal chords for now. Alcohol is an astringent. Please look up a photo of what cirrhosis of the liver looks like. Imagine what it can do to your thin vocal chords’ membrane. Everything in moderation.
Be responsible for your mind, soul, and body by MAINTAINING A SCHEDULE. Enacting these suggestions takes lots of effort, but CONSISTANT effort brings about success. Wishing you success in your career and abundant wellness and quality of life. You deserve it!
You Can Heal Your Life, by: Louise L Hay
The Artist’s Way, (book and work book) by: Julia Cameron
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