Caring for Your Instrument as an Actor

Our Instrument.  It is our everything.

For it is the very essence of you.  Without it we can not be nor become the actor in which we dream of becoming, the one that has that amazing and oh so dazzling career.

Just like a musician can’t play out his or her genius when the instrument’s not tuned up, we as actors have to stay tuned up to emotionally, physically and soulfully play out all the beautiful elements of the stories we get to tell with strength, vigor, and ease.

I’ve been experiencing trying to work with an instrument that’s not been fully tuned up the past 2 years as I’ve had to take quite some time off each year to tend to some necessary healing.  It’s nice to be back to auditioning again, but I’m only able to return because I keep my instrument as my first priority and there’s no negotiating or I pay the price.

The state of my instrument as a whole, I just wasn’t informed enough and it’s honestly something I took for granted. I was eating what I thought was eating clean and working out to stay healthy, but man when it came about needing a deeper healing for myself, it showcased just how much day-to-day energy I lacked and how much a clear mind was needed to not only audition and handle yourself on set, but just from a starting point of preparing my sides for an audition and how it began to reflect poorly because I was auditioning with brain fog.

You may say, “Oh well, Talia I’m really healthy so I don’t feel this applies to me.”

I used to feel the same way until I really started to make some headway in my career and began to be in demand shooting two pilots, a HBO movie and continuing to audition.  As an actor starting out you don’t feel the true weight of the demands the career can have on your body because you mainly have to keep up with auditioning, your side job, and day-to-day life.

As your career progresses, long hours on set day after day, plus handling your day to day life especially if some stressful unexpected events pop up, it’s most important to be prepared to handle it all with as much stamina and grace as you can, leaving anxiety by the wayside.  Or over time you and your immune system will get challenged.  For we are humans not machines.

Like the makings of Emmy winner Tracee Ellis Ross shared…

“Exercise helps make my body strong enough to do what I set my heart and mind to. I carry myself differently when I feel strong. In order to get through a 15 hr day, I gotta be strong.  I’ve always worked out and been active, and it’s one of the ways I care for myself: along with meditation, baths, eating beautiful things that make me happy, being silent, and being with friends and family. Self-care is one of the active ways that I love myself. When you can and as you can, in ways that feel loving, make time and space for yourself.”

So where to start caring for your instrument?

I’ll take you on a little journey on how to truly tune up your instrument.  95% of what I share is what I do for myself and the rest listed are on my to do list the stronger and healthier I get to take them on like a champ.  Go easy and pace yourself, it takes time and practice to create each into a habit and build upon the other.

Below I share the areas of focus to help keep your instrument intact so you are ready at all times regardless of your career level, the amount of work, or type of roles that come your way that too can take a toll on you.

* We are all wired in our own unique way so some resources will require research on your own.  Google and Yelp are always my best friends to find the best match for me.

Soul

The first stop is your inner world.

Why?

Our circumstances around us cannot change if we don’t start with the circumstances that are happening within us. We so attract back to us and create what we are putting out to the universe intentionally or not.

Your soul is essentially your emotions and every integral part of your being, your story of what’s makes you, you and how you tick, as well a place to surrender to feel at peace and again come in flow.

This is where you may feel stuck, lethargic, uninspired or anxious.  To help ground and center yourself and feel a sense of peace, each day create a connection with self and/or family and friends.

The following are ways to raise your vibration, rid subconscious blocks and feel more at ease.

Prayer

Meditation – 15 – 20 min. a day in silence(most effective to drop into self) or a guided meditation

Yoga – From free yoga on Youtube, an online membership, on your favorite class

Healing Work – Balance your Chakras, breathwork, Reiki massage for energy healing

Mind

Next up is your mind.  We all know your mindset is everything.  How you think and talk has an affect on everything.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, your right. – Henry Ford

Don’t go life alone.  I used to be resistant towards therapy and didn’t think I needed it until life’s event kept piling up on me.  Now I wouldn’t go without some form of it.

Here are some resources to help set your mind free.

For me, to heal from traumatic experiences and rid anxiety, I’ve found the most effective types of therapy have been EMDR and Hypnotherapy.

Affordable Therapy:

Don’t prefer talking to anyone?  This eye opening book, will help you bring suffering in your mind and life to an end with practice: Loving What Is

Physical Body

Last and definitely not least, your body is your rock and foundation, keep it strong, healthy, malleable, and in a place that’s ready to handle what life may throw your way and in your career.

Below are a number of ways to enhance your physical body.

Adequate sleep – 7.5 – 8 hrs each night

Healthy Nutrition – Including at least 5 servings of veggies and ample fruit

Flexibility – Rofling, Foam Rolling

Martial Arts – Build your confidence, focus and core strength

Cardio and Strength Training – Clear your mind and build stamina

Dance – Get in touch with your creative soul, let loose, connect with your heart in dance class or online

Movement based methods to study like Alexander Technique.  Find an Alexander Technique teacher near you – https://amsatonline.org/aws/AMSAT/pt/sp/home_page

 

Have fun my actor friends trying and finding what works for you to create your finest instrument to best support your dream life and career.

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