One of the questions I hear most throughout a rehearsal run is about keeping sickness at bay. That ramps up in tech week and then panic really sets in if sickness is raising its ugly head during production week.
Today’s blog is all about sickness and stress, and some of the strategies that you might wish to use to manage your physical and mental health as a performer.
Let’s start with your physical health;
You’re rehearsing a show. That usually means a lot of contact with, a lot of people, often at very close quarters. Plus, right now it’s bang in the middle of winter so first cab off the tank is the basics of avoiding infectious illnesses – coughs, colds, viruses and flu.
- You’ve all heard that prevention is better than cure! The number one way to prevent getting sick is the simple act of washing your hands.
- GO GREEN
- Boost your salads with extra leafy greens or knock back a delicious green juice.
- We’re having a dry and mild winter, so make the most of it and get out in the sun for some Vit. D. Studies show that low vitamin D = low immunity. Why not grab a boost of vitamin D on your lunch break.
- Get enough sleep. I know, that’s easier said than done in tech week but certainly in rehearsal period try to get a consistent 8hrs a night. Regular sleep patterns are proven to boost your immunity.
- Skip the booze and double down on your water intake. Alcohol has a negative impact on immunity and water well
Which is a lovely segway to looking after your mental health;
- Breathing exercises will not only help your singing and overall physical fitness but it will help you to stay calm. For years, doctors suspected there was a connection between chronic mental stress and physical illness. Cortisol helps the body fight inflammation and disease. The constant release of the hormone in people who are chronically stressed lessens its overall effectiveness. This can result in increased inflammation and disease, as well as a less effective immune system.
- PLANNING & SCHEDULING
- Learn to say no to other things so that you allow yourself the time you need to maintain your peak health (hint hint see point 4 above!)
- YOU’RE NEVER FULLY DRESSED WITHOUT A
- Sing it with me ……….SMILE! Did you now that your brain is interconnected with your emotions and facial expressions. When you are stressed, you often hold a lot of the stress in your face. Laughing or smiling can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation. Remember community theatre is your passion and it should make you HAPPY, so smile!
- GO GREEN (AGAIN)
- Nature has not only been proven to be a stress reliever, but also it has proven to make the brain function in a better and healthier way. As performers, we can use all of the brainpower and relaxation that we can get.
- TAME YOUR TECH
- Your to-do list is longer than War and Peace but you’ve set your mind to GET. IT . DONE. But first, you check Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat just to see if anything new and exciting happened in the world that you didn’t already hear about. Then, you end up watching cat videos on YouTube. Before you know it, half the day is gone and you’ve got a bad case of ‘comparisonitis’. Sounds familiar? Social media can leave you feeling like you are not good enough. Seeing pictures of “perfect” bodies or homes can lead to anxiety and frustration. Take a break from the socials to reconnect with your inner self and appreciate what you have. Use that time wisely to invest in more water, sleep, nature, water, breathing, greens, smiling, sleep did I say water?
But what if you’ve done all these preventative things and you STILL feel the lurgy lurking?
Stop drop and;
- I mean that literally STOP talking/singing for as much vocal rest as you can manage
- DROP into bed and sleep
- HYDRATE!!!! Honey/lemon warm (not hot) drinks alternated with water, water and more water.
- When you’re not in bed sleeping or Olympic level peeing for your country, take a steamy shower
- See a doctor
- Check in with the mental health tips too they are not just preventative but RESTORATIVE!
Remember I’m not a doctor and I do recommend you see one. BUT I’ve been around the block a few times, am the daughter of a nurse and I’m a mum so I reckon this advice is solid
What’s your go to remedy to battle illness? Share it with us here.
If you are interested in mental health why not check out our podcast with Josh Piterman 2019 WEST END Phantom!
Until next time, stay health, happy and Fantastix!