Roll up, roll up! Here we give you our top 10 tips for looking after yourself as an entertainer. From cabaret and drag acts to cruise and holiday park teams, street performers to circus acts; as an entertainer you give so much of yourself to your craft that it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself.
Why is self-care so important?
The nature of your work means that your body and mind are at the forefront of what you do. If you’re stood behind a till or sat at a desk you might be able to survive a day nursing a hangover or feeling a bit under the weather, but unfortunately this doesn’t translate to the life of an entertainer. When you’re not feeling your best sooner or later it will show in your performance. You can think of self-care as caring for your ‘instrument’.
1. Surround Yourself with the Right People
Chasing your dream is a lonely road and dealing with rejection, highs and lows is all part of the game. Do yourself a big favour and surround yourself with supportive positive people. Getting to know other performers and building up a support network can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the entertainment industry.
2. Get Some Sleep
We don’t need to tell you that sleep deprivation is heavily associated with your profession. Working late into the early hours and travelling long distances are not conducive to a good night’s sleep, but there are some tips you can follow to make sure that you reach the land of nod quicker once you get the opportunity:
- Resist The Phone – Ever find yourself reaching for your phone to ‘quickly check your emails’ when you’re in bed? Resist the temptation to use devices when you’re trying to sleep as the blue light they emit simulates daylight keeping you alert. If you must check those emails make sure you turn the brightness on your screen down.
- Keep Warm – Warm hands and feet are key to deep sleep. You could warm them up for sleep by wearing socks and keeping your hands under the covers.
- Steer Clear of All-Nighters – When you’re trying to learn lines or choreography last minute it can be tempting to pull an all-nighter, but the hippocampus (the part of the brain which transforms short term memory into long term memory) requires sleep to function properly so you’re unlikely to be helping yourself.
3. Eat & Drink Right
Most experts recommend that you drink 2 litres of water a day. If you struggle to remember what you’ve drunk you can find bottles with the time printed on them in many high street stores. Keeping hydrated is essential when you rely on your voice for your profession and improves your appearance as well as your digestion, which keeps weight off.
When you’re always in a rush to leave early for work it can be difficult to fit breakfast in, but its worth getting up that little bit earlier for the benefits associated with the first meal of the day. Eggs, greek yoghurt and nuts are some healthy choices with sugary and starchy foods on the ‘to avoid’ list as they can cause an energy crash later in the day. Eating breakfast keeps snack cravings at bay and helps you retain focus throughout the day. If your blood sugar levels dip it can cause your mood to deteriorate. This can be avoided by snacking on healthy food like nuts or fruit every three to four hours.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day puts you in a positive state of mind and will help give you momentum. If you can’t afford a gym membership you could take up jogging in your local park or hiking. Your brain interprets the heart pressure increase as you fleeing from or fighting an enemy so releases the protein BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) to protect it from stress. The protein is both protective and restorative acting like a reset switch to make you feel at ease and happy.
5. Alone Time
When you’re trying to further yourself creatively or pursue your dreams career wise each day can quickly be consumed. Taking five minutes out of your busy day to be by yourself somewhere you feel comfortable can help you reset and be more productive for the rest of your day. This should be a room or location you exclusively visit to relax; perhaps your own or a public garden, a bench nearby or your sofa.
6. Stay Professional
Its an old cliche but in any performance discipline it is often about who you know rather than what you know. If you’re trying to pursue dance and you have two left feet its probably not going to work out for you regardless of who you know, but if you’re competing with an evenly matched performer in a casting and you know the whole team behind the show it might be that difference which gets you the job. Professionalism is key to making people remember you for the right reasons; you might not get this particular job but they could tell their colleagues about you or remember you for a more suitable job down the line.
If you’re applying for a casting make sure you fit the criteria and fill out your application correctly, always arrive on time for any meetings or castings, watch your language, respond to people in a timely manner and in proper written English and always be prepared when you’ve been given the opportunity to show your talent.
7. Tame the Green Eyed Monster
Think of other entertainers as your colleagues rather than competition; you know you’ve overcome jealousy when you can be genuinely happy for and inspired by your peers. Jealousy is misdirected inspiration – you want to experience what they’ve got but you feel that there’s an obstacle in your way. It can help to isolate exactly what it is you’re jealous of and what you think is holding you back. Try to turn that into a positive, eg. ‘I’m afraid I’m not good enough’ can become ‘I trust in my talent and the fact that I’m always improving through experience’.
8. Respect Nerves
When you’re stressed the adrenal glands rush adrenaline into the bloodstream causing your body to go into a heightened alertness mode characterised by a dry mouth, sweating, shortness of breath or dizziness. This is commonly referred to as stage fright, butterflies or nerves and for some it can lead to a panic attack. If you embrace the feeling and its inevitability rather than trying to avoid it you will become accustomed to the fact that it will pass. Nerves can be seen as a sign that you still have passion for your craft.
9. Stay Artistically Fulfilled
If what you’re doing to pay the bills isn’t particularly inspiring make sure you’re keeping yourself artistically fulfilled elsewhere. Creative people can easily become frustrated if they lose a creative outlet, so make sure you’ve always got something else away from your day job to retreat to. Taking on a special skill is always beneficial for a performer as it can often feed into your working life. If you’re a dancer why not take up comedy? If you’re a cabaret performer why not learn something you could use in a sideshow act?
10. Give Yourself A Break
It can be easy to burn out if you’re spending every waking moment dedicated to pursuing your career. Don’t forget to spend time with the friends and family you know outside of your ambitions; these are the people and experiences which provide a solid foundation in your life supporting your through each hurdle in your career and inspiring you along the way. When you love what you do it has a tendency to dominate your time, but making sure you’ve got other experiences and relationships outside of it makes for a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Side Note: Don’t Forget To Take Care of Your Voice
Thank you for reading all our tips for looking after yourself as an entertainer, we hope you’ve found them useful. Hydration was mentioned earlier in this article and its importance really can’t be stressed enough but this wouldn’t be a Vocalzone article without a shameless plug at the end, so here goes:
When used in combination with good hydration, the powerful formula in our pastilles and tea help you keep a clear voice.