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Actor and Mental Health: 5 Secret Tips To Cope with Challenges

June 8, 2023

7 min read

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Author : United We Care
Clinically approved by : Dr.Vasudha
Actor and Mental Health: 5 Secret Tips To Cope with Challenges

Introduction

I have grown up loving the lives of actors- the fun, the drama, the luxury! So many people love actors. They are always surrounded by the media and their friends and family, partying and traveling to various locations. Doesn’t that sound like a dream life? However, being an actor takes a lot of struggle, disappointments, rejections, dedication, and hard work.

If you observe the lives of actors, you will be able to see that actors are put under great pressure to fulfill the demand of the audiences and to maintain industry standards. This demand and pressure can lead to actors having various mental health concerns. Meghan Markle, Dwayne Johnson, Deepika Padukone, and Shahrukh Khan, are famous actors who have shared their mental health survival stories.

“I finally realized that owning up to your vulnerabilities is a form of strength. And making the choice to go to therapy is a form of strength.” – Lizzo [1]

What Does the Lifestyle of Actors Entail?

Actors are considered the benchmark of success. However, when it comes to actors, there is more than what meets the eye [2] :

  1. Erratic Schedule: If you’re an actor, you might be required to work on a schedule to manage your work and personal lives. These irregular schedules can disrupt your sleep cycles leading to exhaustion and fatigue.
  2. Emotional Demands: We see actors in all kinds of roles, such as royalty, villains, comics, etc. To depict the emotions of your characters in the best way possible, you will have to dive deep into your feelings and experiences. This can lead to exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.
  3. Public Scrutiny: We admire actors so much that we want to know every little detail about their lives. Being so open in the public eye can make you want to look the best, be the best, and feel the best. These challenges can lead to self-doubt, body image, and confidence issues.
  4. Financial Instability: For an actor to get a great movie or work might take years. The long wait can cause you to feel financial issues. Even after success, you might have to spend money to maintain your lifestyle. Actors primarily work project to project, and irregular income can cause financial stress and anxiety.

How Does Lifestyle Impact the Mental Health of Actors?

The public fascination with the lives of actors and the need to maintain the benchmark can significantly impact their mental health [3]:

  1. Increased Risk of Anxiety and Depression: Due to uncertainty and constant public scrutiny, actors are more prone to mental health issues. 71% of actors face anxiety and 69% face depression globally.
  2. Emotional Exhaustion: Actors are required to express deep emotions and portray intense characters. Doing so can cause them to feel drained and exhausted. Many actors face burnout and may even have difficulty regulating their emotions.
  3. Self-Esteem and Body Image Issues: Actors get judged on how they look, talk, walk, and what they wear. We admire actors more when they meet certain beauty and societal standards. The constant pressure to meet these standards causes self-esteem and body image issues. They may feel inadequate and develop eating disorders.
  4. Substance Abuse and Addiction: As a part of the entertainment industry, actors indulge in drinking, smoking, and even drugs just to fit in. Over a period of time, this need to fit in can make them dependent on these substances, with 36% of actors using drugs and 27% using alcohol to cope with their stress and depression.
  5. Isolation and Loneliness: Success does not come easy. To get more work and remain active in the industry for a long time, actors must constantly be on the move. The irregular work hours, constant travel, and competition can make them feel isolated and lonely.

Read more -Exploring the Dark Side of Hollywood for Becoming the Part of the Problem in Mental Health

When Do Actors Need to Take Care of Their Mental Health?

Every individual should prioritize mental health at all times. However, for actors, there are specific times when they need to focus more [4]:

  1. During Pre-production: Before a movie starts production, actors may be required to go through auditions, script narrations, rehearsals, and character preparation. As this process can be highly stressful and cause anxiety, actors must have a self-care routine in their schedules.
  2. On Set: Shooting for a movie can mean long work hours and portraying intense emotions, affecting the mental of actors. To avoid this, actors can learn detachment techniques, relaxation techniques, maintain boundaries, and seek professional support.
  3. Post-project: While some actors have back-to-back projects, some might take time to find their next movie stint. After one project ends, they may experience a void or emptiness in their lives. Self-care practices and seeking support can help overcome this void.
  4. During Career Transitions: An actor’s life can be quite an adventure. From being unemployed to shifting from the big screen to television, one language to another, one genre to another, their lives can be like a rollercoaster ride. These transitions can increase stress and uncertainty. At such times, actors must seek help and practice self-care.

How Can Actors Take Care of Their Mental Health?

Our sense of well-being comes from good physical and mental health. This sense of well-being is crucial for actors [5]:

How Can Actors Take Care of Their Mental Health

  1. Self-Care Practices: As an actor, you need to involve in self-care. Not only physical health and beauty, you need to find time to build healthy relationships, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, eat well, and pursue hobbies that can reduce stress for actors.
  2. Seeking Professional Support: You don’t have to do everything on your own. It is also possible that you may not even know if what you’re doing is right or not. Psychologists can help you to develop some skills to cope with the pressures and challenges.
  3. Establishing Boundaries: If something is not working for you, learn to say no. That’s one boundary you need to learn how to set. Spare a few hours between your work to spend with family and friends, just relaxing.
  4. Building Support Networks: While it’s easy to feel that you are alone in the industry, you need to remember that you are not. Feel free to share your experiences with people close to you and take their advice.
  5. Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Techniques: At all times, you need to learn how to keep yourself grounded and in touch with yourself. Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and stress reduction techniques can help actors manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Read more -5 Benefits of Self-Care for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Conclusion

Actors have tough lives and are more susceptible to developing mental health issues. Show business can be demanding. From producers to directors to audiences, actors must behave in a certain way. These demands can pose emotional and psychological challenges impacting the overall well-being of actors. As a coping technique, they must set boundaries, promote open conversations, seek professional help, and take mandatory breaks between work. Doing so can help them have more fulfilled, healthier, and successful lives.

If you are an actor seeking help for mental health, connect with our expert counselors or explore more content at United We Care! At United We Care, a team of wellness and mental health experts will guide you with the best methods for your well-being.

References

[1] D. Team, “15 Celebrities Speak Out with These Mental Health Quotes,” DiveThru, Jun. 11, 2020. https://divethru.com/celebrities-and-mental-health/

[2] “What’s Life Like As An Actor: Career, Money, Family,” Financial Samurai, Jun. 10, 2020. https://www.financialsamurai.com/whats-life-like-as-an-actor/

[3] J. Kuuskoski, “Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition by Sally Anne Gross, George Musgrave,” Artivate, vol. 10, no. 2, 2021, doi: 10.1353/artv.2021.0012.

[4] M. Seton, “Mental Health for Actors | Mindfulness and well-being for performers,” StageMilk, Sep. 12, 2022. https://www.stagemilk.com/mental-health-for-actors/

[5] D. Jack, A. M. Gerolamo, D. Frederick, A. Szajna, and J. Muccitelli, “Using a Trained Actor to Model Mental Health Nursing Care,” Clinical Simulation in Nursing, vol. 10, no. 10, pp. 515–520, Oct. 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.ecns.2014.06.003.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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