I don’t know about you, but these days, the mere thought of adding one more thing to my plate makes me feel like my head will explode. And yes, decluttering is great, as are quick things you can do to improve your life/health/career, but during the dog days of summer, sometimes the best thing you can do is the old switcheroo. Here are a few ways I’ve found to switch one thing for another that helped me; hopefully, one or two will spark an idea for you, too.
1. Leave five minutes early instead of five minutes late.
Yes, sometimes auditions back up and you have to wait once you’re there, but really, wouldn’t you rather be doing that than flying in scattered, flustered or—worst of all—late? But they’re not paying me, you say. Why should I worry about being a few minutes late? Good question! And the answer is this: the way I show up for one thing is the way I show up for everything. Even if you don’t believe in karma, do you really think that someone who plays fast and loose with time is going to magically change once there’s money and a guest star credit involved? Not a chance. And really, most of the time I run late it’s either because I’m screwing around on social media, or because I hit “snooze” again to make up for being too tired from screwing around on social media the night before. Those are piss-poor reasons for tardiness, my friends.
2. Try switching up when you eat, rather than what you eat.
I was on (and off) SCD for years, and have done Whole30 a couple of times. Both are great, as are all kinds of other sensible diets that strip away useless carbs, but they require a level of food prep that does not jibe with these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. So lately, I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting. It requires no special equipment, shopping or prep; all you do is pay attention to the clock, and ignore a hunger pang or five. I’m not going hard-core with this yet, just playing with it a few days a week. But it’s interesting to see how my body responds on those days when I don’t give in to every whim. And it’s useful to have some way to combat excessive accessibility to treats, whether it’s a well-stocked kitchen at your day job or that endless bounty of the craft service table.
3. Change where—or even when you park.
This is a weird one, I’ll grant you. But after five months of a great, but extremely desk-oriented day job, it was so clear I needed to fit exercise in my life (if I wanted to continue fitting in my pants) that I was willing to try anything. The problem was, my mornings were already spoken for: up at 5am, drive the 6 miles to my meditation group (6:30-7:30am), skedaddle a mile up the hill to be at my desk by 8am. I was already pushing the bounds of early rising; there was no way I could get up any earlier to work out. Then a thought occurred to me: why not drive straight to work and park, then walk the mile down to meditation and back? With intermittent fasting, I didn’t need all that time at home beforehand; I could eat at my desk after 8, when I’d settled in.
It seemed nuts at first, but I love it. I completely avoid all traffic, have a peaceful walk in the cool of the morning to start my day, and get exercise out of the way by 8am. All from shuffling something around? SOLD.
There’s also the old trick of parking farther away (or getting off one subway stop early) to enforce exercise in one’s life. Do it for every audition and class, and it should add up. Plus—and I know this from my years as a working actor—you tend to arrive at things much more relaxed if you burn off the nervous energy on the way there with a brisk, short walk.
Here’s hoping you’re having a good summer so far. Try mixing it up to see if you can’t make it even better, without adding a darn thing!