Avoiding Burnout in Summer Stock

July 21, 2010

Another fantastic guest post by Emmanuelle Chaulet! Enjoy!

Rotating three or four shows per week, sometimes playing in two shows per day, 6 days a week is a usual schedule in summer stock theater. It can be cruelly demanding and stress building to the point of exhaustion.

How do you avoid burnout when the schedule barely allows you to sleep?

Here are simple tricks that can make up for the lack of sleep and that will truly diminish your stress level.

First rule – Eat Well:

Drink plenty of water and feed your body with good fuel. No junk food allowed!

You want to give yourself all the proteins your body craves and plenty of good nutrients to replenish and energize yourself.

See Patti McCabe’s website for more information on good nutrition habits for the performing arts community.

Second rule – Ease lack of sleep by a short relaxation before bed:

In 15 minutes of deep meditative relaxation you can replenish your body of the missing sleep.

Lie down in a quiet space, in silence or with relaxing music. Concentrate on your breathing. Take deep cleansing breaths. Start by relaxing the top of your head, inhaling clearing energy and exhaling stress you want to release. Gently breathe in and out, and move down to your forehead, then your eyes, eyelids, throat, lips, and neck. Then move to your shoulders and your chest area.

When focusing on your heart, think about a place, a pet or a person that you feel grateful for. Feelings of gratitude have an immediate effect on your nervous system. When you feel grateful your body releases hormones that calm your nerves, and your heart beat slows down. The coherence of your heart beat improves. Your immune system strengthens. (For more information about heart coherence and scientific research, check www.Heartmath.org).

Then move to your solar plexus, and your lower abdomen. Finish by going down your legs, and the sole of your feet. imagine stress leaving from the sole of your feet, dissipating and transmuting in space.

When your attention wanders, gently bring it back to your breath and body.

Finally, imagine a bubble of colors surrounding you. You are bathing in it. Perceive it is a cocoon that can recharge and regenerate your cells. Feel it, sense it, and absorb its benefits for as long as you want.

Finally, open your eyes. You should feel refreshed and regenerated.

Emmanuelle Chaulet is an acting coach, a holistic acting practitioner, CRPL3, adjunct faculty at the University of Southern Maine, Fulbright scholar and author of A BALANCING ACT. She is the founder and director of Starlight Acting Institute, which offers individual sessions, workshops and retreats such as “Energize! a holistic approach to acting,” and “Unleash your Star Power.”
She can be contacted at: energize@starlightacting.org


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