Hello my loves,
Being a student is hard as eff! The combination of research essays, reading a million plays and long ass days can become overwhelming very quickly. In the first year of my acting program it was like learning to juggle on a tight rope with people watching and then figuring out what qualifies as dinner when I got home at 11:30 pm. Eventually I managed to get a handle on it. In this post I am going to share some self care tips that I found helpful as well as some that I could have worked on more. It's mostly directed at acting/performing art students but I'm sure there's something for anyone who could use a starting point.
Get comfy, you'll be here for a while
I know you want to look like the gorgeous actor/ dancer/singer/professional that you are but unless you have to, skip the extra everything.
If you're in any of the performing arts chances are you are going to be rolling on the floor all day, running around, doing vocal lessons, and hopping from studio to classroom to the theatre. All of this moving around is going to get uncomfortable if you are wearing your tightest jeans, nicest top and the best shoes you own. I'm not saying you shouldn't try, I'm saying you can try less. Within the first week or two of classes I slowly stopped wearing my casual clothes and went straight to sweatpants and neutrals (instructors usually prefer neutrals in my experience). This helped my body be able to be physical without worrying that I was going to rip something every time I did a spinal roll. Don't even worry about what other people will think because your body will thank you for giving it room to breathe. Plus if you are in a cohort program like I was or with one group of people for all of your classes until you graduate, you will probably see each other close to naked and without makeup on anyways so for real, don't stress!
Make time for yourself
There are some crazy packed days with these programs and when you start getting into rehearsals and practicums it's going to feel like you are in a car in the drivers seat with zero control of how fast you go and time just flies by you. Setting aside a little bit of "you time" each day can make or break how you keep your energy up. Some suggestions that I have are things like using my commute to school to plug into awesome music, taking a walk outside during one of the breaks, making yourself some tea, coffee or smoothie after you get home and enjoying it without thinking too much about homework or future assignments, or taking five minutes to breathe in peace.
Better me = better we
In the beginning of my program we wanted to spend a lot of time together, which was important because it's a three year program and if we are going to spend hours on end seeing each other become vulnerable and emotional then of course we wanted to have a tight bond. Don't get me wrong I loved every second of hanging out with my cohort but after a while I was getting tired and knew I needed some separation. The thing is when you are with the same people for the majority of your waking hours, you get to know all sides of them. ALL SIDES OF THEM. Much like a family you may occasionally argue or get cranky etc. so I decided that the best way for me to be a good member of the cohort and keep my sanity was to spend time away from my class. I attended less of the group gatherings on the weekend and declined going to some after school events that I wasn't up for and it worked! I still love all these crazy humans because I decided that we didn't need to drive ourselves crazy with each other and I am extremely glad that I had some buffer space. There is no need to feel rude about it either, a polite decline or "no thanks" goes a long way.
Remember the basics
Have you ever gone to school and then realized there was a good 5 hours between your meals?! Maybe you went all day and didn't drink enough water only to find your body feeling less than happy? Please please please don't let this happen often. You are moving and sweating and burning energy all day and to sustain your body and do your very best work, it needs to be fueled with goodness. This was something I worked at really hard because I am very in tune with my body and ain't no good acting coming from me if I'm running on low. My best advice here would be to pack yourself enough food to get you through the day and opt for a couple of small snacks as well to munch on between classes. Of course the healthier the better but if you are in a real crunch and it has been a while since you last ate, go ahead and use the vending machine because at the very least it is something. Also water. drink lots of it because it will make all the difference.
For the love of Aristotle SLEEP
It is too easy to stay up all night rehearsing, doing homework and talking to yourself about the one line you keep forgetting. Sleep is way better than doing these things. I know a few people who would go to school and then work and then make the choice not to sleep because they wanted to do an assignment or something. Because this is a life tip that I am sure you have seen and heard before, I am gonna skip the lecture on why you need to sleep. Just do it, be the bright and healthy performer you are and give yourself some rest already! If you can't sleep at home for some reason or you are up late working try taking small power naps through the day to boost your energy. There were two people in my class who absolutely mastered napping at school. They brought some throw blankets, headphones and set themselves up on the couches in our student lounge. Talk about using breaks to your advantage!
It sounds like it would be an obvious thing but many a time have I come into the studio to smell B.O and whatever else people smell like (coffee breath while doing partner work anyone? nope). Even though you're wearing sweatpants please be good to others with noses and wash up before you get down to business we will thank you in abundance.
There you have it. A starter self care list!
What do you do for basic self care as a student?
Love and Light,