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7 Steps to Cope During a Crisis like…a Pandemic

By Gwyn Gilliss

1 – ACTIVATE

Don’t be frightened or sit around in anger, fear, doubt. That’s just shooting yourself in the foot. By moving your physical body you change your emotional state. Get outside, walk, breathe! Watch all the great series and films you haven’t had time to see- it may be escapist but hey, now’s the time to escape into fantasies, action adventure, comedies and historical dramas. This is our business. This is WHY we create these films and TV series. Get to know more good actors, directors and writers by watching their work. STUDY the business in which you want to succeed! What roles could you play in any of these films? And don’t listen to the news media or social media 20 hours a day- even though there’s some good advice and updates, most of it will trip a sense of fear, anxiety, stress or even hatred-all toxic negative emotions. Be above it. See the reality behind it all-and know that some folks can behave badly. But most of us are helping each other. We’re coming together as we should during a crisis. “People are basically good” (Anne Frank)- you need to remember that. Remember too that all pandemics and virus’s end…this won’t be forever.

2 – STRATEGIZE

What is the best thing you can do right now to get your career going forward? Do a quick evaluation of your 4 major tools- headshot, resume, sizzle reel, website. You could update them now that you have the TIME to do so. Can you add some brilliant quotes to your home page on your website? Maybe you need to create a Website? Do it now. There are easy programs, some are user-friendly and free like WIX. Add some amazing photos to your gallery page showing your range of roles (you’ll get more auditions and bookings that way), update your resume with recent credits, write a blog about your accomplishments in the past year. And it may be the right time to create a Marketing Campaign– to contact Casting Directors, build your Network of Industry Pro’s who think of you for a job and connect with directors who can request you for a role. Send out announcements and a newsletter  (e-zine) via a database software. We use Constant Contact– here’s a LINK for a FREE month. Now is the time to promote your career.

(I can help if you need advice or help you design your e-zine/newsletter or castability sheet and how best to contact Industry Pro’s. Sign up for a FREE Career session with me here).

3 – FOCUS

Develop a new way to handle your day-Time Management. Break down the hours in the day with useful tasks-I always use 3 columns in my daily schedule:

  1. personal – exercise, eating healthy, meditation
  2. professional – send out a newsletter/e-zine, talk to other professionals, work on your writing, rehearse a monologue or a scene on SKYPE with another actor
  3. home/household – clean out closets, drawers, delete old files, make a charity bag of old clothes you don’t wear. Streamline your living environment-make space for what’s coming new energy, new jobs, a new career going forward.

It feels good to check off what you can accomplish in each area every day.

4 – REACH OUT

Communicate in all ways- email, phone, letters, texts- send happy pictures, share those ridiculous cat videos, offer help, sympathize, express your own feelings- the main thing is to stay in touch. Human beings need a sense of community to survive-not with whiners or victims but with healthy people recognizing and sharing their feelings. Stay away from the others.

5 -CREATE a project

Remember that idea you had for a film? Research how to write a screenplay, a play, a sitcom or a short story. Everyone has experiences in life they can write about. To find out how, Google it! There’s a ton of stuff on the internet. Research, get free tips and articles from professionals- just do it!

6 – CLEAN UP

Follow healthy daily habits that keep you looking good, feeling good- exercise, walk, shower, meditate, pray for guidance and give thanks- gratitude. Be a good scout – make your bed, do the laundry, keep everything around you tidy, neat, spotless. A messy environment always creates negative energy, depression and confusion. The most successful and happiest people on the planet live in a spotless apartment or house and are super disciplined with their eating habits and exercise- that’s why they’re successful.

7 – LAUGH…and INDULGE!

Be happy! Nothing stays the same so this and everything else in your life will change. Develop resilience and keep your sense of humor. I always watch comedies on Netflix- time to “happy binge”! Download a book on Kindle, Listen to your favorite music…that always gets your energy moving in the right direction. And TREAT yourself to something special. I’ve been enjoying a daily almond croissant with my espresso. Eek…but what’s a few pounds?…I figure when things return to some kind of normalcy I’ll burn it off in exercise, walking and biking. Do something that makes you feel good or eat something that you normally wouldn’t but tastes good…indulge! We all deserve it.

If you ask anyone older than 50- like your parents or grandparents, “Is there anything worthwhile about growing old (older?), they’ll probably tell you that through experience and some hard times-they learned how to cope, how to adapt, how to survive and keep going. Challenges in life do make you stronger but also teach you how to take care of yourself and those you love- invaluable- and make you aware that there will always be bumps in the road. Knowing that you’ll be OK will give you confidence, courage and make you a wiser person. Coping can be educational, enlightening, entertaining. Coping can be fun! At least, that’s how I look at it.