Rest: What does that even mean?

What is rest?

"Rest: Cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength."
How many of us can say we have ACTUALLY rested?
I grew up like many others with the mindset that unless you're dying, you go to work/school. 
(Thanks Dad).
Having a day off school was never really an option but then you get a long summer holiday, half terms and inset days.
What happens once your school days are over and you are then in charge of your rest breaks?
I had a 99% attendance record at Drama School and the only day off I had was 1 day in 1st Year for Yom Kippur, (Jewish Holiday) so I still count it as 100% and it’s something I’m proud of. But as I’ve gotten older, especially after this past year, is the idea of “pushing through” outdated? 

At the start of 2020 things really started to accelerate. I went to Japan, concussed myself in an audition, got the job, rehearsed, teched the show, performed 2 shows, Covid!

When Covid first hit and we went into Lockdown I really thought we would chill for 3 weeks and then we’d all go back to normal. Oh how wrong we were!
We were all in fight or flight mode. After that initial first 3 weeks, I was getting restless. I’d been doing home work outs, walking the dog, completing Netflix, but it wasn’t enough. So I launched myself into work. Any online class I could teach I said yes, any remote concerts, I said yes, any anything, I said yes.
I was exceptionally lucky to be working so much, but 18 months later, I’m feeling the consequences of always saying “Yes.”

I think we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking 1 bubble bath is enough to help us recharge and admitting that it's not makes us feel guilty.
It’s taken me a while to feel like I’m deserving of a rest. Being self employed makes me feel pressure to always be working. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Being independent is something I take really seriously and I'm not very good at admitting defeat or asking for help.
Pandemic or no pandemic, I have confused my free time with my availability to work.
I associate “holiday” with being out of the UK. There is something about being in the UK that never feels restful to me, I feel like I have all of my resources at home and to not utilise my time feels wasteful.

I was recently listening to Glennon Doyle's Podcast “We Can Do Hard Things.”
 (I highly recommend by the way! And read her book "Untamed.")

One of the most recent episodes was called “Quitting: When is it time to let something or someone go?”
She spoke about how if you overwork yourself to stay afloat, your art suffers. Whilst you haven't voiced the words "I Quit," When you overwork with things that don't inspire you, you end up quitting what you love by default. Now I know some may read this and think “first world problems” but it’s all relative with what makes us happy.
I realised that over the past 18 months, I’ve barely had a day off. I did a gig on Christmas Day because I could, I went to Bath last Summer with my family and rehearsed for The Last 5 Years on zoom during the day. I've worked for a number of different colleges and organisations teaching as well as having my own clients. I love working, especially when it's performing, even more so over a Pandemic. When I'm offered a chance to use my skillset, I rarely hesitate.

Without having the constant hustle of auditions and day to day life, I noticed that my stamina had dropped. I don't like admitting that I'm not a machine. We'd gone from lockdown to doing a week of shows, to lockdown again, to doing 7 days of consecutive zoom teaching, to getting a self tape done in 24 hours, to teaching on zoom in the morning and doing a rehearsal on zoom in the afternoon. 

I did and do feel exceptionally lucky, yet I also feel completely and utterly exhausted. 
Even as I'm writing this I am berating myself for admitting I'm tired.

Being an Actor, we are used to periods of "rest." But what that really means is we're working 3 times as hard to stay afloat and doing jobs that don't inspire us. That is not the definition of "rest." So whilst I am forever grateful to have had many work opportunities over the Pandemic, I've felt really uninspired but I just kept going like so many of us have. 

As the world started to open up, I felt like I was "Pandemic lucky" or "Pandemic successful."
Feeling that sense of imposter syndrome made me work even harder, but in the wrong way. If you busy your mind enough, you just keep ploughing through, until you burn out.

So a few weeks ago, I told myself I was taking August off. 
Naturally me being me, yesterday 18th Aug was my first real day off. I'm still learning and have a long way to go when it comes to self care.

My goal for the next 10 days is to actually REST! Yes, I am lucky enough to be going on holiday but this time I really feel like I deserve it.

Whether you're in a show or just working your arse off, remember it's ok to stop!

Please DM me all your book and podcast recommendations whilst I sit by a pool and forget my London life for 6 days.

Rest up! We all deserve it! 


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