A word from BAPAM
Work or pleasure, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been overdoing it during the past few weeks. A performer’s life can be hectic, juggling commitments, jobs, figuring out how to make ends meet and keeping up the energy for creativity and enjoying life. With the New Year being a time of renewal and increased focus, here are some tips for staying physically and psychologically fit to perform at your best and maximise your chances of achieving your goals over the coming year.
- Have you made New Year’s resolutions? Think about your core values and priorities, your relationships with family and friends, and set achievable goals. There’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
- Eat healthily, take regular exercise (something you enjoy), make sure you’re getting enough sleep and avoid too much alcohol. Remember that excessive exercise and restrictive diets can also be counterproductive.
- Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in performing and forget about the outside world. Do something fun with friends and family. Spend some time on a hobby or interest totally unrelated to your work.
- Although perfectionism, perseverance, sensitivity and introspection may be valuable qualities in a performer, it doesn’t help to take them to an extreme. Recognise what stresses you out and develop proactive strategies for dealing with this. Relaxation will help you maximise your potential and reduce the risk of performance-related injury. Performing can be stressful and tension can lead to pain and stiffness. There are many different relaxation techniques. Find ones that you enjoy – they’re more likely to help.
- Always do a short physical warm-up before you perform to prepare the body for efficient and effective activity and minimises the risk of injuries. For example, take a look at this video produced by the National Theatre.
- If you have a cold or sore throat, rest your voice. No shouting, no whispering, no forcing, and limit your phone calls. Drink plenty of water, not tea/coffee or alcohol. Avoid atmospheric pollutants such as cigarette smoke, and over-heated or air-conditioned rooms. Use your common sense when you are not feeling on top form. If possible, miss a rehearsal – if you are suffering from an infection, for example. This will spare you problems and you will avoid exposing your colleagues to germs.
- Take a look at BAPAM’s factsheets, which cover a range of practical approaches to the health challenges faced throughout a performing arts career – find them all here.
- If you do run into trouble with a performance-related health problem BAPAM can help. We are a unique charity advising performing arts professionals about work-related health problems. Check out our website for more information.
Dan Hayhurst - BAPAM Information Officer