Thank you for your encouraging comments and wonderful shares on my past blog posts!
Since I’m home sick this weekend, I thought I’d focus our discussion on FINDING THE BALANCE of our over-all health and the effects of the un-avoidable stress in our lives.
We all have different lifestyles. Some are more simplistic and have a natural rhythm. Some are utterly chaotic and “fly-by-night”. Either way, we experience stress. Emotional, physical or toxic exposures (whether it be nutritional or environmental).
Now, our bodies are equipped to handle stress in short bursts. Whether they are from positive or negative sources. But it’s the chronic stress that really takes a toll on our Central Nervous and Endocrine Systems, Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems, Digestive System, Muscular System, Sexuality and Reproductive System, and finally our Immune System. I found a great article you may want to check out about the specific effects of stress on these systems: http://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body
Personally, I’m wired for adventure. That’s why the entertainment business is a great career choice for me. I’m very fulfilled in my personal life. I love being home with my husband and spending quality time with my kids. Visiting with friends and family. But I also get very excited when a new filming adventure comes my way. I love to travel and explore new locations and cultures. So when you tell me I just booked a job in South Africa for two months or have to relocate to Canada for six months, I’ve got my passport in hand and a packed bag ready to go!
I say this to point out that I don’t feel there is very much emotional stress that comes from travel for me. But it takes a physical toll. As much as I like the idea of, for example, jumping on a plane to London for a long weekend of press, I have now learned that my body has limits. The over-night flight and time difference destroys me. I am extremely sensitive to my sleep rhythm being thrown off and that immensely depletes my immune system. So I have learned to insist (when I can) on adjusting my required travel to be the most conducive to my over-all health.
Something I don’t have control over is my filming schedule. It consists of very long hours. An average filming day is twelve hours. It’s very common to go over that (as much as up to fourteen to sixteen hour days). To sustain this over a long period is very challenging. Especially when productions like to request that they “force-call” you to return the next day before your union contracted “twelve hour turn around”. One of the few things that I learned I have control of, after years of battling different exhaustion ailments (i.e. - pneumonia, shingles, chronic respiratory illnesses) is to make it very clear on day one, that I will not give-in to any forced-calls. It doesn’t mean that I’m not a “team player”, it just means that I need to practice self-care in order to do my best work for that production.
In addition to advocating for myself, I’ve also seen and felt a huge improvement in my strength and endurance as I balance my busy schedule, along with my emotional and physical stressors, with good nutrition, exercise and meditation. Eating clean (which means avoiding craft service goodies that are constantly calling my name). Working in as much exercise as possible (which is very challenging to do on a filming schedule as we’ve discussed in a previous blog). Along with Transcendental Meditation as my choice of restoring my body and mind on a deeper level.
Now with all of this said, we will inevitably get sick. An occasional sickness, in my opinion, isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes the body gets overloaded and needs to reset. Flushing itself of toxins and rebuilding its immunity. I’m fascinated with the magic inside of us! Our bodies know exactly what to do when we become ill. All we need to do is get out of its way and support the process. I “held it together” while filming for six months out of the country on season one of “Riverdale”. Once I arrived home with my luggage in tow and collapsed into my family’s arms, my next step was to crawl into bed as I was hit with a severe three day cold. But you know what? I embraced it. I’m not in an emotional funk over it. It’s my natural process after a lot of hard work.
I honestly changed my mindset years ago, after an incredibly talented make-up artist who became a friend, reacted to a sickness I was dealing with while filming a project together. I came in whining and complaining about how unfair it was that I was sick and had to work. She looked at me with a huge smile on her face and genuinely said, “Oh that’s wonderful! You’re body is transmuting.” After I ran to the dictionary real quick, I realized what she meant. Embracing our body and its capability of combating and defeating an ailment is beautiful.
The first thing I do when coming down with something, is to unplug as much as possible in order to rest and then focus in on supporting my body in the most natural way possible. I don’t panic anymore and run for the over-the-counter medication to subside my symptoms. That is known to push the sickness deeper into our body which makes for a much longer battle. Riding out a fever instead of reaching for the aspirin or ibuprofen to let the body raise it’s own temperature to burn off the infection. I mean, wow! That blows my mind. Learning the different nutrients that are known to help clear certain sicknesses and build your body back stronger is thrilling to me. Lastly, I feel it’s most important to listen to your body. Not the taste-buds that want that pizza in the commercial you just saw, but the true instinct deep down. It will tell you when you need to curl up and sleep. To eat or not eat. Or when it’s time to get out in the sunshine and go for a walk.
What do you do to support your body when BALANCING STRESS? How are you able to adjust your lifestyle or work schedule to avoid breaking down?
Can’t wait to hear about your warrior instincts…
XOXO - Mäds