MENTAL HEALTH : ACTORS PROTECT YOUR ENERGY AND GUARD YOUR ART

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ENERGY
Compiled by Thembi Zikalala courtesy of Abby Molz

Mental Health

Mental illness

Mental….

Words humans fear because they come with stigma, prejudice and misunderstanding. As an artist, it is imperative that you align and check in with yourself: Mind and energy. You will be affected and/triggered by worldly things. Here’s a few practices on how to protect your energy and guard your art.

  • Have a Mantra

A mantra is an instrument of the mind—a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation. The word mantra can be broken down into two parts: “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means transport or vehicle.

For instance waking up everyday and posting a mantra on a WhatsApp status, keeps you present and helps to spread awareness with peers to :

“Breathe, Relax, Smile”

This helps one remember that daily challenges come, but if you breathe in the moment, relax yourself and smile, your attitude changes/shifts. It’s lighter again.

 

  1. Prayer or Meditation

Take about a half an hour to meditate/reflect/pray. Light a candle and prepare music that calms and rejuvenates your soul.

For instance, set the tone of the day by reading a scripture of the day by use of the Bible App (if you Believe) .Developing a daily meditation practice helps you to cultivate a more present, peaceful, and balanced lifestyle, which ripples out into every other aspect of your life.

  1. Music

One thing that will never let you down is music. It speaks a universal language that everyone can dance to.

The song that calms you, play it. That one song that lets you say “screw it I’m amazing” play it. Allow it to ignite that dead spark within you. Let your elbow lead you out of bed, let your ear direct you to your feet and let your heart ooze the creative chained up inside you.

DAANCE BABY, DANCE. EXPRESS your emotions the best way you know how, dance, sing, write, paint. Whatever it is that drives you to hold on to this delicate-beast of an industry, let it move you.

  1. Talk It Out !

Who do I talk to? How do I start the conversation? How do I keep myself from showing too much emotion? How do I… How do… How?

Even a verbose person can find this to be quite difficult, probably one of the biggest causes for the “stigma and misunderstanding”. Just talk it out ! If not to a guardian, professional or even a friend, then talk to yourself.

Do not keep all those thoughts in and expect others to understand you when you “act out of character”. Be self-sustaining. Make yourself laugh and cry. Enjoy yourself. If you can enjoy yourself, see the world smile down on you because your will is strong.

Another solution is keeping an audio journal. You can listen to them to see how much you’ve overcome, what you still need to fix and where you can grow. This will not only help you, but for your fellow actor. We are one during production processes. So let us talk, let us listen and let us rise.

  1. Practise Makes Perfect

It’s true when they say practise makes perfect.

An actor’s muscle constantly has to be stretched. If you feel defeated by a particular skill, you can punch a wall, or scream, release all that frustration but nothing will change if you don’t take action.

Make YouTube your best friend, reach out to your fellow actors, read read and READ more about it!

If you choose to look at a different perspective, find out what your niche is and practice/ perfect what you’re good at. Perhaps screen acting isn’t for you, but you make an amazing choreographer or stage manager.

Don’t die with the pandemic, get with the times, shift with it and be great again.

  1. Distance

Come back to yourself, align yourself and fall in love with your solitude.

We are taught a sense of distance when we embody characters, however this distance is purely for the self. Spend time with yourself, take yourself on a date, watch a show by yourself, absorb it all, by yourself. There is power in solitude, you become more aware of yourself.

Do not be afraid to miss that party. Don’t be afraid to be alone. You need it, you need to always check in with yourself:

  • How’s my voice today?
  • Did I stretch accordingly?
  • Did I take a nap?

Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing, it’s sometimes necessary. Take the time off if need be to ensure your sanity is intact. Reflect on how something affected, empowered, inspired and transformed you. On your own!

  1. Find Your Balance

Know how to balance responsibility for your body, soul and mind. Walk your own path and stay in your lane.Our world revolves so much around human connection, and that’s the most beautiful thing about [live] performance, BUT, don’t negate the fact that people can also trigger anxiety levels. Treat yourself to a day or two alone.

Focus on what it is that makes you feel most radiant and brings out your most authentic self. This will help you take control of your life and remain mentally fit!

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