Acting After a Hiatus: The Importance of Self-Care

When making a big move to a new city, you should know that the first year is going to be the hardest.

When I moved to NYC from San Francisco, I hit the ground running. I joined casting websites and submitted for gigs, I auditioned for anything I could and even got cast in a lead role, and I joined a theatre company in the city where I workshopped new material. I saved up a ‘nest egg’ so I could do all of this and not worry about getting a day job right away. For the first time, I was putting my everything into this dream of being a professional actor - and it was awesome.

But my foundation was weak and balancing the start of an acting career, an eventual day job, and the transition of moving across the country, my emotional baggage that I had been tucking away for years finally surfaced at full force - and it was not awesome. I knew I had to change something to take care of myself and it started with a mantra: “I did not move to New York to serve coffee and cry”. I canceled my subscriptions, I left the theatre company, I dyed my platinum blonde hair back to my natural brunette, and I started a search for a therapist. What followed was a year-long hiatus where I found my inner strength, I gained a new perspective, and I realized that not only do I really want to act but I want to fully immerse myself in this industry (As Hana points out in Why We Started A4A).

So here I am now, a more confident and grounded actor with a sense of purpose. While I’m not advocating for everyone to drop everything and quit, I do want to stress the importance of self-care and checking in with yourself from time to time. Whether that includes finding a therapist, taking up a new hobby just for fun, or giving yourself a time of day where you don’t look at your phone or computer at all.

- Amber