I’m on this new diet… I don’t eat anything and when I feel like I’m about to faint I eat a cube of cheese. I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.

Emily, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

Actors… WHY. YOU. NO. LISTEN.

Well, maybe not all of you.

But YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Harold the Bloody Giraffe, your teachers, your parents, your loopy meal-prep-obsessed mate and every other qualified professional in the glorious world of health science have been banging on about diet, exercise and sleep for the best part of… oh, I dunno… YOUR ENTIRE LIVES! These three things are key to our psychological health and yet most actors seem to have an atrocious lack of adherence to all three. No more!

NUTRITION has recently been discovered as having a direct connection to our mental health, with the gut now being referred to as ‘the second brain’. Eating well and maintaining the right balance of good gribblies (bacteria) in your gut regulates hormone levels and, therefore, your general cognition. On top of all that, it’s just good to eat well, feel good and dodge long-term chronic disease! The rules?

– When budget permits prioritise local, ethical and sustainably-sourced foods

– Avoid refined or processed foods, oils and sugars like the plague

– Eat as many vegetables, whole grains, legumes, spices, herbs and pulses as you want

– Eat free-range chicken, fish and dairy but make sure that they are free from refined or processed ingredients

– Feel free to eat small amounts red meat, but not at every meal (the Western Diet is obsessed with it)

That’s it. No more. Finally, remember it’s always energy in vs. energy out. How much you’re eating vs. how much energy you’re expending. If you’re feel like your dreaded muffin top is starting to reappear, just re-examine these 5 base rules plus your in/out ratio, then make the necessary adjustments. And speaking of energy expenditure…

FITNESS isn’t just about keeping your body looking good. It’s also key to maintaining a healthy brain chemistry. In fact, most current longitudinal studies state that exercise is just as effective if not MORE effective than using antidepressants! We’re not talking back-to-back AMRAP spew sessions, though we’re all for challenging ourselves. Just 30 minutes of a particular activity that provides a pleasant puff – a bike ride, a jog, some resistance training (weights), some yoga, a club sport, a hike, some dancing. Just find something that makes you want to go back it! The current gold standard both in Australia and the US is 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week. That’s it! Should you be feeling a bit under the pump, aerobic exercise and weight lifting have been shown to be the most effective in alleviating mental health symptoms.

SLEEP plays a hugely important role in regulating the central nervous system, the immune system and your cognitive function. It is also critical in steering us away from major depression and generalised anxiety. Yet most of us tend to neglect our sleep health by just letting it ‘happen’ whenever it needs to. Certainly, very few of us actually go to the lengths of making it a key priority in our overall physical and mental health. So here’s the only equation you need to know:

Good sleep habits =
increased function=
increased focus=
 increased motivation =
increased acting focus =
BETTER ACTING

Here are our top picks for making sure you get the best shut eye possible:

– Avoid stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks as you approach bedtime. Yes, for those of us on night shift this will mean getting into those herbal teas instead of those awful caffeinated sugar syrups in a can.

– Create some calming bedtime rituals that can pave an increasingly-relaxing path to Snoozeville. For example: listen to some relaxing music, have a nice warm bath and then complete the wind down by reading a book. Or maybe stick on a lecture about particle physics. That always works for me.

– Chuck the mobile and tablet on charge when you’re in the bedroom. Don’t look at them in the pitch black. The infamous ‘Blue Light’ phenomenon is a proven way of stuffing around with your circadian rhythms.

– Nanna Naps are back, baby! Just a brief 20 minute nap during the day can help restore your physical function and cognitive faculties, and alleviate stress. Just don’t nap too late in the afternoon as a nap too close to your actual bedtime can mess up sleeping patterns.