What does it mean to be burnt out?
According to Wikipedia "Being burnt out out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don't see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress feels like you're drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a sense of being all dried up."
There are signs to keep in mind and seek help if you need it. It is okay.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Signs of burnout include:
Excessive use of substances, including alcohol, drugs and prescription drugs.
Physical and mental overwhelm and fatigue.
Moodiness and irritability.
Inability to make decisions.
Loss of motivation.
Withdrawing from support systems.
Us actors chose the most unstable and craziest career that's out there. It's no wonder that some actors are exhausted from their regular 9-5, use crazy insane amount of alcohol to numb the pain, and lack motivation when they're not getting booked. And then there are suicides... I was listening to one of the webinars from the casting directors in the South, and actors commit suicides because they had no will to live, and not getting the part. It's sad. But that's a topic for another day.
It's easy to get distracted in social media and feel depressed, unmotivated when you see all of your actor friends jump from one set to another, booking jobs after jobs. I get it, I've been there myself.
Here are some helpful tips:
1. Take a break from submitting auditions, social media and anything acting-related. It can be a day or a week. We all need a breather sometimes. Let your agent know too, they will understand.
If you have been self-taping, taking classes, doing all the hustling for 1 or 10 years straight and you're feeling overwhelmed- take a break from it. You need it. You are passionate about film industry, I understand, but when you catch yourself getting angry at people or at yourself for no reason during 10th take of an audition that is due ASAP...maybe take five.
Being constantly on social media and seeing all the positive posts from friends and casting directors how your close friends booked a guest star on your favourite show and you feel numb, angry, depressed, jealous and unmotivated... take a break. Social media is toxic and you shouldn't spend more than an hour a day. Maybe 10 minutes is enough.
2. Go on vacation. Vacations are for relaxing, romances, exploring new things and enjoying yourself. It can be a day trip to metropolis near you or a week-long vacation to Costa Rica. The world is your oyster and sky is the limit.
I wasn't booking anything for few months and decided that 2-week trip to Utah was long due, and I needed a change of scenery ASAP. I planned the trip, cleaned my place, dropped my fur babies off at my mom's house and drove thousands of miles to Moab.
During that time I kept my social media usage to minimum, met some very cool people, took some cool photos and memories to last for a lifetime. Who else can say that they got high in Canyonlands where altitude is also high, got kicked off Native American reservoir and committed some public nudity in New Mexico? Okay, maybe few people, but you get my point. That vacation was much needed and I got to see some cool sights, did some hiking in the desert, lost some weight and felt refreshed.
3. Go on a date. It could be with a good friend who you had a crush on for few months now, or with yourself. Dates are fun and they always lead to crazy decisions and unforgettable nights. Who knows? Maybe you would get an invite to a furry party and you might enjoy it. You never know!
4. Take a walk in the park. I felt much better physically and emotionally whenever I drove out of town to a random trail or park, and explored it. Perhaps you will find an abandoned building and see a ghost or spot an animal in the woods that might or might NOT wants to eat you.
5. Get an emotional support animal. If your apartment complex allows it, of course. Or you can be sneaky about it ;) Personally, I always had an animal in the house. Doesn't matter if it was in kindergarten or after college, I always had a small hamster or a cat in the house. Animals make the world a better place, and we should love, nourish and care for them. My cats mean the world to me, which also means that when I leave them I get to miss them, and get anxious if something would happen to them. But at the same time they come and cuddle with me and it's good to come home to someone who loves me. Having animal in the house decreases blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD. Do keep in mind the costs of having a pet. Having a fish is much cheaper than having a dog.
6. Go to a concert. Not only you will get to see your favourite artist, but you will also get a chance to socialise. In March I went to see Blue Man Group, even though I never heard their music or was a fan prior. I saw that they were coming to my town and tickets were affordable. sNext moment one of the blue men chose me from a crowd and I was on stage for a funny gig. That memory will definitely stay with me for a long time.
7. Find a new hobby. Maybe it's candle making, writing an autobiography or getting into a real estate, it will be a good distraction regardless. Who knows? Maybe you want to take a 5-year break from acting and earn some great money selling real estate!
8. Volunteering. It's kind of ironic coming from someone who doesn't tolerate doing free gigs (hiii), but hear me out on this one. You can volunteer at an animal shelter, library, hospital...almost anywhere. It will make you feel good about yourself and you will make some amazing connections!
9. Become an acting coach. Unless you're just getting started and are not constantly booking. If you're feeling burnt out from auditioning back and forth, every single day...teach about it instead! Help actors who are just starting in the industry!
10. Switch to being an agent or a manager. One of my agents, Christopher, did that. He was a SAG actor, booked a lot of jobs, was a lawyer and who knows a lot about this industry. One day he decided to become an agent and help actors with legal issues, with auditions and book jobs for them. He's a great one if you ask me :)
Being a manager is completely different. You manage an actor's career and you manage multiple ones. I know one of my colleagues is a momma-ger. She is a wonderful mother whose child is an actor, and she manages him. She knows people in the industry, she is an intelligent, beautiful, hardworking woman and it's working out for her and her kid. I know I will definitely do that when I will bear a child. If he/she wants to get into acting, of course.