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Actors: An Industry Guide to the Holidays – Mind, Body, & Soul

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Ahh, the holidays. For many, it is a special time of year for spending with family and taking some time off. Perhaps it includes eating too much, catching up on sleep, and vegging out. Or maybe it is full of stressful travel plans, blizzards, and getting asked by your Aunt Mildred for the 100th time when you’re going to get a real job (or when she’s going to get to watch you on her favorite TV show…or why you couldn’t stay in your hometown to pursue your acting career. You get the idea).

Whatever the holidays mean for you, it is absolutely essential to take time off to revitalize your mind, body and soul.  After all, Pilot Season is right around the corner.

With that being said, here are my 3 Suggestions for making the most of the Holidays:

1. Mind

It is important to have a good mental game when you’re in the entertainment industry, because there are inevitable rejections, let downs, and dry spells. This can be especially disheartening when you have to answer, “So what have you been working on?” 500 times during a family dinner. My suggestion? Have one or two projects you’re excited about that took place in 2015 or that you already have lined up for 2016, and be ready to talk about them. They don’t need to know that your last job was 8 months ago – find your genuine enthusiasm for the work you’re doing, and have that answer ready.

I love this suggested exchange from Robin Riker’s “A Survivor’s Guide to Hollywood”. She says that when someone asks, “So, how are things going?” your answer should always be “Great! Luckily, I’ve been keeping really busy!” Because it is true. Keeping busy doesn’t always mean shooting a Network TV show or landing a role in the next Star Wars film. But it can mean getting new headshots, updating your website, taking classes, networking with new people, maintaining industry relationships, writing your webseries, and any number of other things that are necessary parts of the “behind the scenes” of this business. Stay in a good place mentally by giving yourself credit and not letting the naysayers get you down.

2. Body

This one can be particularly tricky with the vast amounts of generally sugary, fattening, and all around unhealthy foods that appear in every nook and cranny this time of year. As an actor, your body is your instrument, your tool of expression that is used to do your job, and it is important to take care of it. But I certainly don’t think that means abstaining from the holiday cheer.  My suggestion: Indulge a bit, but also balance it with healthy, nutrient dense foods, working out, and getting extra sleep. 

This was posted by Jenn of For the Glow, and I LOVE her philosophy:

“Blend (green smoothies) + reboot in the morning, which will probably be followed by a plate of leftovers. And another Reboot. There is NO shame in my food game, so I don’t consider it yo-yo dieting, I consider it enjoying life. The holidays come once a year. Enjoy your favorite foods + sneak in nutrient dense superfoods in between. Workout consistently. Sleep + minimize stress. The secret to staying slim isn’t to avoid treats, it’s to treat yourself when it’s meaningful + maintain balance everywhere else. Let the holidays begin!!” 

Love it.

3. Soul

This one might be the most important. As artists, we need to feed our souls and experience the world in order to have understanding to draw from for our work, and the holidays are a great time to give your soul some extra love. My suggestion: spend time refocusing, making short term goals, creating vision boards, and generally reflecting on what the past year looked like and what you’d like to manifest in the coming year. I like to take walks in nature, bake treats with family, and watch my favorite holiday classics. Basically anything that gives me those warm fuzzy feelings is “in” for reinvigorating the soul, and this holiday season my #1 activity is playing on the floor with my toddler nephew. Life is unpredictable and precious, and I find it important especially at this time of year to slow down and really take a breath.

Another thing you can work on for your soul is letting go of attachment. I love this article from Wendy Braun where she puts it in the context of an acting or entertainment industry career, but I truly feel that it applies to everyone.

“In order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it. This doesn’t mean you give up your intention to create your desire…and you don’t give up the desire. You give up your attachment to the result.”
~Deepak Chopra

Basically, you have to let go of how you think things should unfold. Let go of having to control the outcome, because you may be closing doors to other ways your dreams could be manifesting. Work on shifting your mindset so that while you continue taking action toward what you want, you allow the universe to make it happen in ways you could have never imagined!

For those of us in the industry, it is important to use the holiday season to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls so we’re ready to hit it hard for Pilot Season 2016. Too soon, we’ll be swept up in one of the busiest times of the year, so take advantage of some down time now to do what you enjoy with those you love. We get to spend our lives telling stories, and especially during the holidays I like to remind myself how lucky I am to be pursuing what I love.

Happy Holidays!

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Sarah J Eagen

About Sarah J Eagen

A TV actor and writer, Sarah is currently a semifinalist for the prestigious Humanitas NEW VOICES program. She was recently staffed on the sci fi audio drama The Veil from Voxx Studios. Sarah co-wrote/produced/acted in the short Soledad, which screened on the Disney lot at the end of 2018. She was a top 10 finalist for the Stage 32 TV Writing Contest in 2019, a finalist for the NYTVF Script Comp in 2018, and the Women in Film/Blacklist Episodic lab in the fall of 2017. Sarah recently appeared on an episode of The Big Bang Theory, TV's longest-running multi-cam comedy, which was a dream come true because she double majored in Neuroscience and Theatre. She also played the helpful paralegal Carol in CBS's action comedy Rush Hour, and had the pleasure of sharing the screen with funny lady Kristen Schaal in the feature film Austin Found.