Rest for Success: Performance Lessons from Wicked the Musical

by | Feb 18, 2015

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Sophie Wright is an actor and wellness advocate currently in the Australian tour of Wicked the musical. She writes about how to incorporate wellness, mindfulness and healthy habits for performers and people in any creative industry. She has a new E-book coming out very soon with guided meditations, mindfulness worksheets and healthy recipes.

Rest for Success: Performance Lessons from Wicked the Musical

by Sophie Wright

I wish you could be a fly on the wall backstage of Wicked the Musical. It is manic.

Among the miraculous array of beautiful costumes, set pieces like Glinda’s bubble and the Wizard’s giant face, are a group of 25 sweaty, loud actors, singers and dancers who look like we’ve just done the world’s most intense bootcamp.

We’ve mastered the 30-second changes where we run off stage, change from ball gown to wiz costume, grab a prop and run back on stage to sing a high F in perfect pitch with a gleaming smile on our faces. No biggie…

The performing life is pretty awesome, but it is also very physically demanding. We need to be at the peak of our performance all the time. If we push ourselves too hard, or don’t take proper rest, then we get sick or injured and we can’t work.

Despite all this, we STILL manage to feel guilty taking shows off and resting.

Recently I started getting little nicks and muscle injuries that wouldn’t go away. My personal trainer told me that I was training too much, especially since I was also doing the show. I was told to take 2 weeks off to rest and recover.

This was hard to hear.

It’s funny how the minute we find ourselves at the height of our performance (either at work, the gym or any sort of physical activity we love) a curve ball is thrown at us and we are told those words… “You need to rest.”

Immediately I imagined the pangs of guilt I would feel for not being able to use my body in such an intense and vigorous way.

Interestingly, it has been quite the opposite. I have absolutely LOVED resting.

If you are like me and constantly on the move, then the idea of taking time off and resting to be more productive sounds ludicrous. But to my surprise the benefits have been immense.

It takes so much courage to recognize exactly what your body lacks and give it what it needs. To realize that being busy and working all the time isn’t exactly the best thing for you, either physically or mentally.

Before I became so passionate about health and wellness, I had no idea how connected the mind and body are. Substantial research has shown that physical and mental health are closely related.

Yet most of us still hold onto the notion that we should push ourselves to our limits every single day in order to be at our best.

I am now a firm believer in being aware and giving my body exactly what it needs to recharge and maintain my peak physical ability.

Strategic resting is not just for performers, even though our business is our bodies. Everyone can benefit from refueling your tank.

Proper rest and nutrition are necessary to give you enough energy to be your best both at work and at home.

But if eating well and resting are necessary to perform our best, why do we need to be told to rest?

Maybe you think that you don’t deserve to slow down, or you might feel that you need to stay busy in order to achieve something. But these are limiting beliefs that actually make you less effective, not more effective.

Whatever the reason it is important to identify why exactly you are doing what you are doing, so you can make decisions based on your own best interest instead of fear or guilt.

This week try asking yourself these questions:

When in your life do you feel stressed out, anxious or worried? What are the limiting beliefs that don’t really serve you?

Write these answers down and write down 3 solutions that you can think of to change them. How can you add in some relaxation techniques around these stressful situations instead of succumbing to anxiety or stress?

Having awareness of your body is just as important as being aware of your mind, as it can be a physical indicator of what is going on internally.

Pay attention to your body to see what it needs. Do you need to slow down or rest?

If your body is too worn down for you to operate at your best, try spending more time on rejuvenation techniques like more sleep, meditation and better nutrition.

With a relaxed sense of self, a more rested self and a self that knows that it deserves this rejuvenation and repair, we can feel balanced, centered and ready for more challenges.

Having a relaxed state of mind is so powerful. It has the ability to heal, create and uplift our entire well-being. So don’t ever feel guilty for wanting to be the best you can be. Step up and rest up when you need to.

Find more about Sophie on her website www.createawellness.com and download a FREE 5 step wellness guide, see her videos, and read articles and wellness tips. Follow her on Twitter @sophwright99 and Instagram @sophiewright9

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4 Responses to “Rest for Success: Performance Lessons from Wicked the Musical”

  1. Corne says:

    This article is on the spot. I enjoy the fitness lifestyle and pushing the limits at training, but it takes its toll on the body and later you find that your mind lags behind during the day.

    An interesting concept that I might add to this post is n Biblical principle that is overlooked. Resting on the seventh day! In this case it might be to exercise hard and consistently for 6 weeks and taking a week off to allow your body and mind to recover.

    In my case I am afraid to rest because when you start again it feels difficult to start. With regular rest sessions, the first workout back might be difficult, but after that it’s all down hill as your body is ready to push through for the next 6 weeks:)

  2. Naomi Teeter says:

    Thanks Sophie for sharing your experience and how it can be used by the rest of us! I think some of us are afraid of losing momentum and therefore we feel like we must go full-speed at all times. I used to be like that. And I broke down, too. Real rest happens when we develop self-compassion and give ourselves grace. That’s what I’ve come to realize about myself and the clients I work with. That’s again!

  3. Mary Gibson says:

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