Although I generally stay positive in life, I had a really rough March a few months back. There were a slew of unexpected deaths, I felt stagnant in my career, and I was in a vicious cycle of not taking time to let myself grieve while also scolding myself for being unproductive. (If you want to know more, you can read the specifics in this article.)
I decided that I needed to step back, so I took the month of April to focus on my health. Things like drinking water, doing yoga, and window-shopping took priority over forcing myself to accomplish what I thought I “should” do. I found myself asking, “What would truly make me happy in this moment?” and allowing myself to follow those impulses, those small blissful moments. Shifting my focus changed my perspective and allowed me to reset in a way I hadn’t in a long time. And as I stepped back to truly take care of myself, something remarkable (yet, unsurprising) happened.
It supercharged my career.
At end of April I looked at where I had been at the beginning of the month and where I currently was, because it seemed that things like drinking more water and doing 20 min of yoga weren’t drastically changing my life. But when I took the time to really think about it, I recognized that my mental state was SO much healthier. My body was strong from my daily green smoothies and exercise, my energy was up, and I was naturally sleeping less and waking up without an alarm.
And as I made time and space to truly care for my well-being, the universe threw back little career surprises (probably because it knew I could now handle them).
It started with a co-star audition for an ABC Family Drama.
And then a table read of a feature film.
Then I found out that a film I am in and that I choreographed got accepted into the Dances With Films festival here in Hollywood, which meant that I would definitely be able to attend.
I received emails from a few managers who are interested in my work.
I took a pretty intense commercial class that went incredibly well.
A director that I have worked with several times found out I was a choreographer, and immediately hired me to choreograph a music video.
I was hired to choreograph a feature adaptation of a stage musical, which is being executive produced by a 2015 Tony Nominee.
I have been offered a lead role in a fun music video project that will be shot like a short film with pages of added dialogue.
Socially, I noticed that I was having a much easier time really connecting with others because I was taking care of myself enough to be able to focus outward. And I have more energy to go out and meet new people!
And now as I head into the summer, I can see that in general my life is much more balanced. I find myself hiking regularly, working out is something I do daily instead of putting it off, I’m eating very cleanly, and did I mention that I feel like my brain is being bombarded with ideas? I can’t write fast enough to keep up, and that makes me excited because I want to always have some scripts in my back pocket that I can produce when things are a bit slower.
I have momentum, and so many good things are happening because I took a step back to take care of myself.
I couldn’t think myself out of it. I had to take a time out, step back, re-prioritize and refocus. It was just a process that had to happen. Even though I wanted a quick fix, I wanted to ignore the pain and loss I was feeling, I had to go through it.
And coming out the other side, my life is so full and rich and beautiful. I know that life ebbs and flows and I will inevitably find myself back in that place again. But for now, I am going to continue to make my physical and mental health a priority and enjoy the creative energy that comes my way…
This article was adapted from one that originally appeared on www.sarahjeagen.com