An Introverted Actress

Day Eight: Re-Charge

I am your textbook “people pleaser”. I hate feeling like I’ve disappointed someone or that I’m not doing my utmost to keep everyone happy and smiling. This results in saying a huge, resounding ‘Yes’ to everything but then when push comes to shove, I realise I don’t actually have to time to fit it all in whilst giving myself breathing space between each project. 

As I’ve expressed in the past, I’m terrible at taking time out to re-charge my batteries. I get bored and restless super fast anyway but, not only that, I also start to feel a heavy sense of guilt weighing on my shoulders when I’m not doing something productive. If I don’t have something to show for my time, I feel like I’ve failed in some small way and that weighs heavily on my mind. Mixed with my want to never disappoint and my disregard for my own mental and physical well-being, this results in taking on far too much work and only managing to fit it all in by literally. never. stopping. 

The question “Do you ever stop?” crops up a lot in interviews, actually, but it’s always asked with a wry smile. As if the journalist already knows the answer and that answer is “Of course I do!” and they’re convinced I just have some other magic way of getting everything done. However, the actual answer is…I don’t. I honestly don’t stop. I don’t say that as some kind of twisted humble brag (trust me…it’s not cool to disregard your health for work. I’ve learnt that now.) or to sound #Relatable, but it’s hard to answer that question honestly, whilst not sounding like you’re trying to be “cool” whilst simultaneously also not setting a bad example for anyone listening in. 

More often than not, I “burn out”. I have “mini meltdowns” once a month on average, when the sudden pressure of deadlines, the mountain of words that need to be written and the scores and scripts that need to be learnt all start towering far above my little height of five feet and five inches and sometimes, I let it crush me. I end up in a curled up knot in my desk chair, weeping and whispering “I wish I’d just said no”. I always make sure I put 100% into everything I do and I believe nothing you’re passionate about should ever be half-arsed but I guess that’s where the problem lies. Giving 100% to everything 100% of the time, means there’s nothing left of you. 

There was a moment on The Addams Family tour where my body forced me to stop. We were 150 shows in, I was in the middle of trying to mash up the Addams tour and a book tour and the fierce back-to-back shows were starting to get to me. I woke up one morning, I felt fine and I could speak but as soon as I tried to bash out the big notes in ‘Pulled’, I sounding like Jabba the Hut being put through a blender. I wasn’t ill. I was just exhausted and something had to give and sadly, it was my voice. 

So, I’m learning. Baths are my thing. When I’m in the bath all I can do is precariously balance my laptop on my toilet and watch something on netflix whilst pampering myself in near-scalding water with seventeen-million Lush products. Even just dedicating that thirty to forty-five minutes to myself makes such a huge difference. Relatively this year is a lot quieter than usual. Most years I’m locked into a long term contract that takes up roughly eight months to a year, plus writing a book once a year, plus keeping up my YouTube channel. Not to mention all the little bits that crop up in between. This year I’ve got a series of little projects that don’t coincide. They all come to an end and then the next begins shortly afterwards. I finished my fourth book, then the album, then the concerts, then hosting a little patch of the Oliviers, then a little summer thing that is yet to be announced, then a book tour and focus on writing the next novel and then a short tour with The War of the Worlds. I know that doesn’t sound quiet but the difference is, there’s breathing space between it all which is something very different for me. 

Currently, I’m in the breathing space between the Oliviers and the summer thing so as I write this I am on a flight to my favourite place on the planet: WaltDisneyWorld. I’ve got a little creative project to keep me ticking over whilst I’m there (this very blog) but aside from that it’s family/friend time galore. Not to mention cocktails, thrill rides and the big cheese himself (…Mickey Mouse, for anyone wondering…!). 

Don’t be like me kids. Be like the me I’m trying to be. Someone who knows their limits, someone who says a kind but firm no when they’re at capacity and someone who actually schedules in time off and doesn’t feel guilty for it. That’s a far happier person to be. 
A post shared by Carrie Hope Fletcher (@carriehopefletcher) on


#BlurtSelfCareathon

xxx






5 comments

  1. At the risk of giving you more to read and taking up your precious "recharge" time, thank you for giving so much of yourself to your fans, among whom I -- a 57-year old American mom and pre-published author -- consider myself. Enjoy your holiday. :-)

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  2. There's no harm in saying no to anything, as long as you have the attitude that you'd love to, but your prior commitments would keep you too busy to give the project the attention it deserves. People understand this.

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  3. I was at the Sheffield show just before you took time for voice rest. It was during ‘Pulled’ that I became worried for you as, having seen you nail the high notes in Chitty, I could tell you were struggling. That is not a criticism, you were still amazing and even more admirable for fighting through the struggle. Good for you for recognising when you need to slow down. Just make it a regular thing!

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  4. This is something I massively relate to! I think it comes from being in a creative industry and having work that you really love. I'm learning that there are so many amazing opportunities out there and that there needs to be some sort of filter between the ones you simply can't refuse and the ones that would be nice but you could live without. Hopefully we'll both learn to take care of ourselves a little more!!
    All the best (I love your work!) x

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