5 Step Guide to Self-Care for Actors - Reflections Talent Agency
Updated: Sep 11
The return to on-set productions has been an exciting time for actors in the film and TV industry.
But with it, there have been brand new challenges. Self-care for actors is more important than ever during these unprecedented times.
New production guidelines are helping to combat the spread of coronavirus, and keep cast and crew safe on set, but they can also be difficult to get used to.
New ways of working, combined with the excitement and stress of on-set productions can easily lead to actor burnout.
Read on to discover how to maintain a good actors' self-care routine in our '5 Step Guide to Self-Care for Actors'.
Self-care for actors should always incorporate mindfulness. Mindfulness is a therapeutic exercise that involves paying close attention to the world around you, noting the small things, whilst calmly accepting and temporarily putting aside thoughts and anxieties of upcoming auditions or recordings.
Even just 10-15 minutes of mindful meditation can give you fresh energy and inspiration to perfect your performances.
There are many different kinds of mindfulness exercises that would fit with an actors' self-care routine, and you'll need to find the right one for you. One of the most popular techniques is 'mindful breathing'. This involves focusing on your breathing, paying close attention to the sensations as you inhale air towards your lungs, and exhale air out. If your mind slips, just gently guide your attention back to your breathing.
Repeating positive affirmations is another aspect of mindfulness that can boost your self-esteem.
Build exercise into your daily actors self-care routine
Exercise doesn't just keep actors healthy, it makes a huge difference to how we feel about ourselves and can give flashes of inspiration for upcoming performances.
Tina Barnes believes in the importance of walking:
"Do not underestimate the power of walking! Before breakfast everyday, I go for a walk. It kickstarts my metabolism, wakes up my mind and burns calories. Make it brisk, 10 or 15 minutes around the block should do it. This is also a great way to begin to introduce exercise into your daily routine.
Studies have also shown that going for a walk can spark creativity. So if you're stuck on an idea for how to tackle a character or maybe you have writer's block, go for a walk. I learn my lines whilst walking too."
Exercise improves mental and physical wellbeing, boosting your overall mood for acting opportunities.
As Bryan Larkin adds, "exercise prevents injury and sets the mind up for the day".
Stay healthy and hydrated
It's not just exercise that has an impact on an actor's health. The nutrients in the food you eat will make an immense difference.
In stressful times, it can be tempting to slip into bad eating habits. Keeping plenty of greens in your diet gives you the full nutrition you need to take on the world. Substitute cakes and biscuits for healthier snacks, such as nuts and fruits.
The impact of water on the body is also heavily underestimated. It's important for the body to receive at least six glasses of water every day. Dehydration can have surprising effects on your body, including poorer skin health and increased fatigue.
Develop a sleep pattern
Getting a good night's sleep is an important aspect of an actors' self-care routine, as it can have a huge impact on your performing skills. You can become overtired, which makes it difficult to fully get into character.
Keep a sleep diary to note down issues with your sleep patterns. What time did you go to bed on nights you didn't sleep well? Simple changes, such as keeping a consistent sleeping schedule, eating earlier in the day, and avoiding social media in the evenings, can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.
Give yourself time to rest
Acting can be a competitive industry, and at times it is challenging to see yourself in perspective. It's vital to build breaks into an actors' self-care routine.
As Gemma Wallace says, "My biggest advice that I think all of us need to do from time to time (including myself) is: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Everyone has off days; whether it be lack of confidence, doubts creeping in or feeling guilty for not being "productive". It’s perfectly normal! Allow yourself a day off! Reflect and learn from your experiences and try to enjoy the process. Do what makes you happy!"
As the acting industry returns to work, keeping a steady work/life balance will be a bigger challenge than ever. Through an actors' self-care routine - developing a healthy diet, daily exercise and sleeping pattern, whilst giving yourself plenty of time for rest - you will create more meaningful performances and enjoy every moment of your work.