Actor Self-Care: How to Reset Your Mind + Body During a Day Off

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Photo Source: Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

It’s a tough, wonderful life, starting an acting career. One or two day jobs—maybe three—plus the audition that pops up out of the blue and requires that you drop everything, resulting in another IOU to the generous co-worker who covers your shift.

It’s admirable, crazy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way (except for that series regular…), but there does come a point when you inevitably hit a wall and exhaustion kicks in. Frustratingly, that exhaustion can creep into auditions and performances. So when a true day off finally does come, I encourage you to use it as a reset day to focus on self-care and not ever-enticing bar hangouts with friends. Sure, the latter feels good in the moment but it’ll only exhaust you further in the end. Use your day off to recharge so you can be at your best when that audition calls; you’ll be ready to take on the world.

From a nutritional and holistic perspective, here’s an example of what a nourishing self-care day would look like:

Wake Up
Standing up, drink a glass of water with ¼ tsp. Himalayan salt mixed in that you prepared the night before. It’s an old remedy that helps spare the adrenal glands (stress organs) from kicking in full force to increase blood pressure. It’s also a super energy kick first thing in the morning and a surge of over 70 trace minerals from the Himalayan salt specifically. (Never use regular table salt for this).

Follow this with a big glass of plain water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed in to alkalize your system. (Throughout the day, make it your goal to have at least three liters of water. Hydration is key!)

Eat Breakfast
Either skip breakfast and fast until lunch (only unsweetened tea or coffee) to give your digestive system a break or have a supercharged smoothie with protein powder, almond butter, and polyphenol-rich berries like raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

These are very different options but both have their benefits. One offers your digestive system a rest while the other nourishes your body with the building blocks it needs to thrive. Listen to your body on the day and go with what intuition tells you.

READ: The Secret to Finally Silencing Your Inner Critic

Meditate + Affirm
It’s easy to think of all the “to-dos” and “catch-ups” you could get done on your day off, but I urge you to tune out the chatter and take time to meditate. Set your phone’s timer for six minutes and meditate. Just sit in silence, breathing in and out through your nose, not allowing any thoughts to take hold.

Following the meditation, your mind will be primed for affirmations. Try a few and find what works for you. Smiling as you say them aloud always helps!

  • I am proud of myself for being brave every single day.
  • I trust that I am on the right path and am grateful for the journey.
  • I trust in my lucky star to guide me.
  • I love myself, I love myself, I love myself!

These are wonderfully powerful tools you can implement, fueling your foundation during your off-days so when you have to be on, you’re more than ready.

Get the blood flowing before lunch with a sweat session. Whether it’s a sauna, yoga, a quick strength training routine, or a workout app at home, exercise has been shown to boost memory (making your line memorization easier!) so make sure you take advantage of the free time to get a workout in.

Eat Lunch
Make lunch a chance to nourish your body with as many colors as you can. The more variety you eat, the more phytonutrients you give your body. Have a salad filled with the rainbow: purple cabbage, field greens, cauliflower, red pepper, shredded carrot, protein (tempeh, salmon, or grass-fed beef), olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Save some of the more indulgent foods for dinner and use lunch to really supercharge your system. A meal like this will boost your detoxification pathways and immune system, both of which will help carry you through tougher days.

Get Energized
Connect with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, but only if he or she is the kind of friend who lifts you up—not one who drains you. On this, your day, you don’t have the resources for any energy vampires. So catch up with friends who make you laugh and nourish your soul.

Eat Dinner
Do what will make you happy for this meal. Pizza and wine? Go for it. Takeout and Netflix? Perfect. The point here is to immerse yourself in the joy of indulgence free of any guilt. After all, this is feed-the-soul time, an integral part of a recharge day.

The only caveat is that you should finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This way, your sleep will be restful and no energy will be diverted to digestion.

Turn your phone to night shift mode so the blue light from your device won’t impede your melatonin (sleep hormone) production, and watch your favorite show or curl up with a book.

You may also want to sip on a sleep-promoting tea to ensure the best night’s rest possible to bookend this recharge day. Grab a pre-packaged blend or go the loose leaf route. My favorite combination is chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, skullcap, and lavender.

Try your best to get to bed at a reasonable hour (10 pm is ideal) so you can fully rest up. Aim for at least eight hour of uninterrupted sleep, so work backwards from when your alarms will go off the next morning to figure out when you should climb into bed.

And that’s it! A day designed to recharge your system so that you can crush it come the next.

It’s essential to take care of yourself as an actor. You are your instrument, after all, and without a functioning you, your instrument is broken.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Kyle Buchanan
Kyle Buchanan is one of the acting industry’s top health and nutrition experts. Being an actor himself, he works one-on-one with actors and performers across North America. Through nutrition, health-hacking and personal development coaching, his clients are able to look their best, feel their best and subsequently perform their best, booking more along the way.
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