Wednesday, 15 May 2019

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK: Philip Joel's 5 Tips for a Healthy Mind for Graduates

Mental Heath Awareness week was started by the Mental Heath Foundation, who are in their 70th year, in 2001. Combating issues such as stress, relationships, loneliness, altruism, sleep, alcohol and friendship with this years theme being body image. 

Here at Pocket we put some feelers out to some of our friends who responded with such bravery and pride. Working in this industry we call 'show business' is tough at the best of times, Mental Health Awareness week is our chance to educate people and help us understand one another. 

Our mission as people who are in and adore this industry is to support and help everyone in it. To promote Mental Health Awareness week we have been joined by a few of our friends who have written some wonderful guest posts for us. The more we speak about this, the better. 

Philip Joel is a Choreographer but also teaches around drama schools in the UK. He has but together a little guide to help graduates maintain a healthy mind whilst battling with the upcoming challenges that they may face upon finishing drama School. 

Just like that we are entering the summer term at college and getting another graduating year ready for the big wide world of showbiz. It doesn’t feel long ago that we let the previous year graduate, let alone that it is time to be releasing another batch of students, which makes me think where has this year gone? So what to do after graduating? Class, auditions - there is no need to set an alarm for ballet at 9am anymore! 

I remember when I first graduated that all of sudden it hit me, "OH MY, I AM NOW AN ADULT!" It’s scary; exciting; yet all at the same time far too grown up to accept the reality that training is finally over. So I got a message asking my advice for students and fresh graduates and I try to follow some simple rules which were given to me upon graduating. 

1. Be happy, not only for yourself but for others. 

Even if you don’t get the job or the part in your college production, celebrate how you would want to be celebrated. Being resentful is poisonous. Of course be competitive but with yourself and not others. 

2. Getting a “No” is not always a bad thing. 

The amount of Nos I have and still get in my career (well I’ve lost count) outweighs the YES pile by a mile. However, it's important to understand that not getting that gig at the time was meant to be for your future path. When you view it like that, it makes rejection a whole lot less personal.

3. Look after your mind like you would look after your body & voice. 

Mental health is a big beast of a topic; there are so many layers to it and it’s so individual so I’m not even going to try & start deciphering it in a paragraph. All I can say is TALK and seek help when you need it. It’s not weak to ask for help; actually it makes you stronger. There are so many things you can do to keep a healthy mentality but for me talking, laughing & staying inspired helps me a lot! Also check out 'Industry Minds' & 'Applause For Thought' on Twitter - two amazing accounts full of great advice on mental health for people in our industry. 


I recently put a tweet out which I think sum up this bit of advice: “There are 1000s of people who can sing, dance & act. There are not 1000s of people who can sing, dance, act & be easy to work with. Reputation is everything!” Being nice doesn’t cost a thing so be nice to everyone you meet - not just work with but meet. At the end of the day, if you’re rude to your cleaner in your dressing room, let’s face it, you will find your dressing room very quickly won’t stay clean for very long! 

5. Be proud of yourself. 

The industry gives you enough knock backs without you then needing to contribute towards it. Judging yourself doesn’t help your self-esteem & it is a waste of your time and talent to be hard on yourself. You’ve probably spent most of your life wishing you were a professional in this industry; now you are, so be proud of yourself for achieving what you set out to do. 

That’s it - that’s my advice and I don’t think any of those 5 things should cost you one penny to do! Keep talking, keep staying inspired, look after your health, be proud of yourself and remember there is only one of you on this planet which is why YOU are your own unique selling point.
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