Guest blog by Claudia Hodgson, Coach & Founder TheatreFit
If you suddenly had an afternoon free where you’ve caught up on work, the housework is done & you’ve ticked off all your errands - what would you do? My coach asked me this question and I struggled to answer it.
Despite being someone who constantly says: “I wish I had more time to learn how to cook different cuisines”
“I just need an afternoon where I can de-clutter the house”
“I’ll write that book when I have more time”
When you stop to think about a time - this illusive “right time” to do something you’ve been putting off for a while - what would you actually do?
I still, 2 months after being asked this question, don’t know. Because I find it really difficult to imagine a time where I haven’t got something to do. Even on those good days where I get all my to-dos ticked off, there’s always something else that hasn’t been completed. Or someone’s WhatsApp I haven’t responded to.
This is a similar mindset when I speak to Stage Manager’s who want to improve their health but fall into the trap of not thinking they have enough time. There’s always another show on the horizon, a busy tech week or a cast member calling in sick before the cover’s have had a chance to rehearse!
This is the reality of working in Stage Management. I know because I’ve experienced it.
I’m not the person to preach about ‘just getting on with it’ to my Stage Management clients, because the truth is, if anyone is going to do something and stick to their word - it’s a Stage Manager!
What I do want to talk about today is something more practical - 4 ways you can incorporate health & fitness into your daily routine, even if you’re working 14+ hour days!
These are small & easy things to do that contribute to improving your health, energy & overall wellbeing.
1. Add Colour To Your Meal
It’s very easy in the West, especially when you’re on the go, to grab whatever is convenient. Often these foods are beige & low in nutrients. I’m the last person to say “eat this, not that” as I believe in a flexible approach to dieting, however if you are constantly feeling sluggish & low in energy but you’re only fuelling yourself with beige food, you can see how 2 + 2 = 4.
Opt for 2 servings of fruit a day - one at breakfast, one for a mid-afternoon snack.
Opt for a serving of veg/salad with each meal.
Find out what fruits & veg are in season, they’re usually the cheapest & most delicious!
2. Daylight / Sunlight throughout the day
No one ever got healthy by staying inside a theatre all day! I appreciate this is easier said than done because on some days, you will be working every minute of the day. But, we know this isn’t healthy & it’s something that needs to change.
Even if you only manage to get 10 minutes standing outside Stage Door in the lunch break, it’ll be worth it because you’ll instantly feel the benefit.
We all know water is good for us, especially when we’re working long & intense hours! I’m sure I don’t need to convince you of the benefits of water, so here’s a tip I use… But a 2L bottle of water (Amazon or Sports Shops have it), fill it up & sip it throughout the day.
You don’t have to mentally keep track of how much you’ve had / you need so it’s one less thing to worry about.
4. Take a braindump
A braindump is when you empty your thoughts & feelings (the good, bad & the ugly) onto paper or in your phone notes before going to bed.
We’re living in a world where we’re switched on 24/7 and it’s interfering with our peace. If you’ve ever climbed into bed, after a day of feeling exhausted, and turned the lights off to find it impossible to fall asleep because your mind is racing - I’d encourage you tonight, to take a braindump!
Write everything down that you’re feeling - what you’re happy about, angry about, anxious about, excited about - write it down! If you can get it all written down on paper, there’s a higher chance you’ll be able to fall asleep quicker. Better sleep = better energy.
These are just 4 easy to do everyday tips that will get you onto the path of improving your health & energy. I’m not saying these are the only things you need to do to get to your end goal, however results and sustaining results come from doing the small everyday tasks. By starting out doing the smaller things, you’re setting yourself up on the right path to a life where you’re less tired, happier & healthier.
As I tell my clients who worry about their progress being ruined by tech week - “Just because you’re not going to the gym next week, doesn’t mean there’s nothing else you can do to continue to take care of yourself”
I’ll leave you with that thought as well as the question at the beginning!
I’m Claudia - the founder of TheatreFit. An Online Fitness Coaching Programme for Backstage Theatre Professionals.