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Preventing Burnout

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Jen Levin.jpgBeing an actor can get pretty exhausting, even if you aren’t booking work. There are submissions to do, auditions to prepare for, classes to take, and special skills to add to your resume (I’m thinking of taking a class in precision driving so I can add that one to my resume). I sometimes feel like I’m a hamster on a wheel spinning super fast, but getting nowhere.

I’ve been in LA for 12 years now (my LA anniversary was this past week) and have been seriously pursing acting since 2007. I’m not where I thought I would be in my career, but I’m not even close to giving it up. But there are times that I have doubts, and that’s when I usually realize that I’ve forgotten to take time out for myself.

So for the past year, I’ve been trying to be better about having a life outside of acting. I make sure to make plans with friends at non-actor related events, I take myself out on artist dates and I’ve been trying to be better about taking vacations from LA.

In the past, I’ve hated when I had to leave LA. I would always remember to book-out with my agents, but I would always feel like I’m missing auditions while I’m gone. And I’ve even found out about auditions while I’m out of town and have changed my travel plans to make it back.

But I can’t do that anymore. When I leave the city, I need to mentally leave it as well to allow my actor brain to have a vacation. This month, I went to Lake Tahoe for the weekend to hang out with my parents and my dog.

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I had a great trip and even was able to leave my iPhone at home sometimes while we were out hiking (an unheard of thing for me to do in LA!). I didn’t wear a watch and just focused on being present instead of what I need to do next. And coming up in September, I’m going to be in Hawaii for an entire week. I’m going for my brother’s wedding, but I’ll have some adventure time too.

Getting back into town after being on a vacation (even if it’s only a day trip) really allows me to come back more focused and dedicated than I would be if I was on my hamster wheel the whole time.

While this might sound tough to do (believe me, I couldn’t do this a year ago), try to just take an afternoon each month for yourself. Go on an artist date. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Even a movie by yourself can be a nice break. Or binge-watching a tv show (I recommend “Orange Is The New Black”). When you allow yourself to have some non-actor (or artist) time in your life, the time you do spend focusing on it can be so much better.

So if I can assign homework through this blog, I want you all to schedule an artist date for September. I’d love to hear what you all plan to do. My artist date for September is going to be on September 2nd. I happen to have that day off from my day job, and my plan right now is to go see a movie and then hopefully also make it to a museum.

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About Jen Levin

Actress/Blogger - I’m originally from the Bay Area, but I’ve been in LA for over a decade now, so I consider myself a native. I’m working as both a blogger and actress (with a couple of day jobs to pay the bills on the side). I love being in the entertainment industry where every day is an adventure! When I’m not working on my career, I’m either reading (I’m a total book nerd) or enjoying my newfound love for spin class (which is helping towards my goal of losing 100 pounds for the last time). I like to joke that I’m a girl with Southern charm and Jersey moxie, which I think has worked well for me so far!