How do you handle a lull in your acting career? For some actors, they don’t even want to think about it, lest they call it into existence! Superstition aside, it’s a fact that the entertainment industry is like the ocean—the tide comes in, and the tide goes out. The good news is that there are ways for you to practice self care during slow times that can make good use of any downtime.
Here are my Top 6 suggestions to help you stay strong, focused and in good spirits.
1) Be Realistic About Your Finances.
One of the phrases coach Dallas Travers used to say a lot is, “The first step to winning an Oscar is having food in the fridge.” When times are abundant, it can be easy to forget to plan ahead for once things slow down.
Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t good for your health. The extra stress can cause restless nights, overworking yourself, not eating enough nutritious foods and dropping all your good habits in favor of comfort and distraction.
So be sure to do yourself a favor during slower times and keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind. Plan out your spending for the next few months and create a realistic budget you can stick to consistently.
And once acting work picks up again, remember to reevaluate your budget, and set up a savings plan so the next time the tide is low, you can still safely surf the waves!
2) Detox Your Home.
You may already know that I am a HUGE advocate for cleaning up not only your diet but your lifestyle too—so you can be the badass boss you are meant to be! But it takes time to research products and make changes, so this form of self-care is often overlooked when it’s busy.
I encourage you to take a good, hard look at your home environment while you have the time. There are so many hidden dangers in our homes when it comes to toxins: from household cleaners to glue, paint, detergents, mattresses, plastic food containers and even shampoo and personal hygiene products. And so much of the “clean” industry is poorly regulated, keeping consumers in the dark about what exactly we are inviting into our homes and, indirectly, our bodies.
No need to try to do everything at once; you can start by making small changes in your home—switching out harmful cleaning products, for example, and then gradually move on to bigger household items and habits.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has an amazing and extensive Guide to Healthy Cleaning available on their website, to help you decode tricky product labels and discover what exactly is in your favorite disinfectants and shower sprays, etc. They literally exist to keep you informed, so use their widely researched resources!
3) Take Care of Any Acting Administrative Tasks.
When things are slow, it’s a great time to update your acting materials. Gather footage you need to add to your reel, take new headshots, refresh your online profiles, plan out your social media posts (if you’re into that), anything you’ve been putting off completing because you never have the time.
While this may not seem like a form of self-care, reminding yourself of all that you’ve accomplished can be a definite mood booster! And it’s important to keep the bigger picture in perspective when things are quiet on the job front—you have done a lot!
4) Try Something New.
What a perfect opportunity to mix things up and have an adventure! Have you been thinking about trying a different genre or medium of acting? Adopt a beginner’s mindset and give a new acting class a try. Take an improv class or overcome your stage fright in a theatre workshop.
Or if you want to combine your creativity with your health, you can try a new workout or sport you’ve always wanted to see if you’d enjoy. In fact, when you’re under a contract, you may not be able to do so!
Artists draw from life, from real experience and connection with the world. So don’t wait to take that vacation or spend time with your friends or learn a new skill. Pursue a rich and joyful life outside of acting, and that zest for life will also show up in your work when you’re back on set.
(Side note: I cannot tell you how many times I’ve planned a getaway and suddenly a great opportunity pops up. It’s not magic though! It’s because I’m not sitting by the phone waiting to hear from my agent; I’m busy enjoying my life.)
5) Stay Connected.
It can be tempting to isolate yourself during slow times, but humans are built for connection. Stay in touch with your friends and family, and take advantage of the extra time to be in good company.
Finding an accountability buddy is another great way for creatives (actors included!) to stay connected and feel supported, even when you’re busy doing your own thing. Here are my tips to structure your check-in and stay on track to crush your goals.
6) It’s OK to Indulge… a Little.
I am all for indulging in extra TLC during slow times. If your body is craving extra rest, hit the pillow early. Cook delicious meals with organic, whole foods. Spend extra time in nature. Meditate, pray, soak in the bath, stretch, do yoga—basically, if it’s good for your soul, here’s your permission to take some extra time for yourself.
In Italian, there is an expression, “il dolce far niente,” that means the sweetness of doing nothing. It’s not about being lazy; it’s about being present and savoring the moment, no matter what you’re doing.
So I encourage you to find the sweetness in the slow times, because it will be busy again before you know it!
LOVE + relaxation!