While the holiday season has slowed down for many actors at this time of the year, I’ve generally advised actors to focus on their training, professional development, rebranding strategies etc. These are all valuable and important tasks in-between gigs and while the working season is slower. BUT, what I’d like to add – more importantly- is focusing on your personal development.
Trying to attain peace of mind should be a year-round goal, but it seems to be more crucial during the hectic holidays than any other time of the year. As an actor, work is slow and then there are high (material) expectations made by your loved ones. Additionally, there are the pressures of society, which can be a constant reminder of singledom or not having a family to celebrate with on Christmas or New Year’s day- thanks to the bombardment of the advertising lords. During these times, feeling full-filled is a challenge – to say the least. But, part of the process of getting there is to slow down, put aside work and reflect on the GOOD that you were able to achieve and still have the chance to in the upcoming New Year.
Being a workaholic can seem like a positive thing…but being a ‘-holic’ in my book is not good at all. Too much of anything is not very healthy, including work. Productivity does not directly equate to happiness, I’ve slowly come to understand. My true sense of achievement comes from the effect I have on others and my loved ones. Feeling good around the holidays to me has turned into donating to a non-profit, taking a break from working and being more cognizant of my family and my long term dreams in life.
Its wonderful that industry professionals in the biz advise us that the holidays is the perfect time to fine-tune our craft with more training and also be more health-conscious during the work lull. However, I think it is more important to take some mental time off of the biz, and just refocus on your life’s purpose. Taking into account that being a performer or being in the arts, while it has its struggles, also is a part of a larger, more important you. In the mornings playing more crossword puzzles, walking to my destinations more and keeping closer tabs on family has helped me feel more full-filled and accomplished already. Having a healthy perspective on our work and goals is also a part of our personal development, which will eventually transcend into our professional development.