Sustainability for the Arts: Physical Well-Being

Article first published on Theatre Art Life

By: Seth F Barker and Dr. Angelica McCarthy

Whoever thought that having a career in the arts would be so demanding. Did you ever think you’d have to decide between your passion and well-being? Has your passion ever taken such great precedence that your well-being has fallen by the wayside? Every person in the Arts deserves to be happy, healthy, and have a fulfilling life.

Every person should have the courage to feel grounded in their decisions to say yes or no, especially when it’s a decision that could affect their well-being.

Generally, we are always on the go, burning the wick at both ends and giving more precedence to our passions and paychecks than our physical well-being. Burnout, ill-health, and unhappiness are relatively common. It’s easy to fall prey to poor habits and lifestyle choices that can hold us back from bringing our best artistic expression forward. Our bodies and minds give feedback about the choices we make. Are you listening to what your body is telling you?

Sustainability for the Arts was created because we heard the call. We understand how demanding a passion and career in the arts can be. We also understand how easy it is to be swept away by the choices that do not nourish our best interests.

These three steps offer a plan to bring more sustainability to your passion, life, and physical well-being.

  1. Understanding Physical Well-being

  2. Getting our thoughts consciously aligned with our best interests.

  3. Taking right action

Our body is more than just a thing or a machine. It is the vehicle that helps us experience this life. If we don’t maintain it, our body runs down, and it’s that simple. Physical well-being is a balance of the physiological and psychological systems that keep us alive and thriving. Cultivating that balance is a step that also leads toward a more creative, spiritual, and happy life that offers us more vitality to give back to the world. Our level of physical well-being directly influences how we show up in life.

Giving daily attention to these six areas of health: Sleep, Movement, Optimal Nutrition, Healthy Emotions, Grounding, and Meditation brings balance to our life. We are a complete system, and just like having practices that target the body, we also need to implement practices that target the mind. These practices support us to get our thoughts consciously aligned with our best interests.

  • Sleep: Ample rest, 6 to 8 hours, allows our bodies to detoxify and rejuvenate for the next day.

  • Movement: A consistent routine of movement to help the body gain strength, flexibility, and circulation of at least 30 minutes a day will help prevent toxicity and thwart lethargy.

  • Optimal Nutrition: Making healthy choices and incorporating plenty of fresh whole, non-GMO, organic foods of variety will help us create healthier, more resilient bodies.

  • Healthy Emotions: Having a daily practice of checking in with our emotions and not suppressing our negative emotions allows us to grow and understand ourselves better.

  • Grounding: We are creatures of nature. Creating a routine of getting outside and connecting with nature allows us to strengthen our roots and show up in the world more confident and stable.

  • Meditation: Creating a daily meditation practice sets the foundation for how we handle life and show up in the world.

Think of these six areas as though we’re building a rainbow. Each color individually expresses its quality. As we layer each color, we bring out the true essence of the whole rainbow. Practicing one area will bring about its qualities into your life, but practicing all six areas will bring out your true essence.

We can make conscious decisions and take right action during our life. When we actively participate in life, we thrive amongst all aspects, which leads us to better health, more creativity and sets us up to reach our greatest potential.

“Without health, none of the other dimensions of life mean anything to us.” -Sadhguru.

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