“I want to feel like this all the time.” — Keith, at the end of this weekend. Yeah, it was pretty spectacular.

Even still, I’m basking in the afterglow of our fifth SMFA Escape (this is our elite alumni retreat in Desert Hot Springs) and now thinking specifically about something we talked about in these four days we shared.

It’s about how deprived, malnourished, under-attended-to FIVE key areas of our lives tend to be.

  • self-care
  • self-love
  • hydration
  • sleep
  • stimulation-free downtime

Now, any one of these on their own could make our lives a bit less blissful than it is capable of being from time to time, but when we chronically run low on more than one or two of these (or *gasp* all five), we can find ourselves really struggling to slog through the day to day.

And I don’t know what you know about this beloved business of ours, but it takes a LOAD of focus, love for the game, and the ability to weather the downs.

Here’s what I’d like to suggest you commit to doing — even if you scanned that quick list above and thought, “Nah. I’m all right,” about all of it: Amp up a wee bit of each of those five things over the next few weeks. See how damn good it feels.

Self-care: This is stuff like setting boundaries, putting your workouts and/or fitness classes into your calendar before anything else, getting a massage now and then, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk. YOUR TASK: Schedule one thing you’d classify as self-care for April right now. Wall off the time for it. YOU deserve it.

Self-love: This is *different* from self-care because this is all about your self-talk, the way you treat yourself, how good a friend you are to yourself. YOUR TASK: Look for hints that you’re doing or saying things to yourself that you’d never stand for were the perpetrator someone else. STOP the bashing, the trashing, the doubting, the selling-out-ing you’re doing and be your own damn bestie.

Hydration: I’ll tell you right now, you’re not drinking enough water. Plain, flat, filtered tap water. You can argue with me if you’d like. I know you’re not drinking enough water because almost no one is. Okay, fine, maybe you’re like me and water is all you drink and you drink a LOT of it. Good. Then that means your skin is flawless like mine, your breath is always rosy, and you rarely carry around inflammation or get parched. If that’s you, help someone else drink more water. Otherwise… YOUR TASK: Gamify your water drinking. Put brightly colored rubber bands around your water bottle at the start of the day and each time you refill the bottle, remove one of the rubber bands. When they’re all gone, you’ve had enough water. Keep it fun and CHEERS!

Sleep: 95% of the human population needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night. The other 5% needs less… or MORE… and honey, no matter what we’ve told ourselves over the years, we’re probably all in that 95% and that means we’re walking around sleep-deprived most of the time. Sleep is when our bodies are being repaired and restored in miraculous ways. YOUR TASK: Designate at least one day a week as your “I *will* get my damn sleep” day and make it a good 8 hours. Turn off all electronics at least an hour before you’re even attempting to lie down. Sniff some lavender. Take a bubble bath. Pop on the white noise generator. Make the room super dark. Get your sleep and watch how much better the next day goes!

Stimulation-free downtime: At the SMFA Escape, we actually instituted a “silent hour.” Keith predicted it would be met with resistance, but it wasn’t! No talk, no text, 60 whole minutes (some went longer) in which we could journal, meditate, do yoga, bask in the sun, swim, play an acoustic instrument, work a puzzle, or simply BE (that’s what I did; it was marvelous). YOUR TASK: Wall off an hour a week (minimum) during which there’s no alert pinging at you, no notification trying to get your attention, no phone ringing, no email coming in, no text showing up, no reminder tugging at you, nothing. We so often say we’re unplugging when we’re NOT. Sure, it looks relaxing to put your feet up… but when you then scroll through social media during that little break, you’re not giving your brain time to teach you some brilliant things it might be trying to whisper to you.

We’re not supposed to be overflowing with stimulation from OTHERS every minute of every day. And we’re not supposed to fill downtime with our own output either. Sometimes we need to just BE.

Because this business is already tough and because there’s already so much of it that is outside your control, let’s try to improve any one of these five areas on the regular to make it all go better at the most basic level. You’ll be amazed at how beautifully these little tweaks will enhance the quality of your life!

Do you have suggestions to add to this list? Are you gonna try any of these five tasks? Jam with me in the comments below and let me know!

And on the topic of unplugging, while everyone is in a tizzy about all that Facebook has been sharing about you, it feels like a great time to go back to an article I wrote in 2010 about How I Unplugged at that time. Perhaps it’ll (finally) inspire you to read the fine print before you hit ACCEPT to all sorts of terms of service all over the internet going forward. (A more recent post about growing my business without Facebook is here.)

While I’m giving you links to stuff, if you’re interested in my Whole30 journey to losing 60 pounds in the most effortless few months of my life, you may enjoy an interview I did for the Fit Armadillo podcast. It’s at their website, PodBean, and YouTube. Phew! Thanks for listening!

Finally, actors of Chicago, New York, and Toronto — more email is on its way to you soon (IF you’re signed up for SMFA on the Road updates in the checkboxes over here) about my classes, speaking engagements, and social gatherings in your awesome cities! LA creatives, the April SMFA Retreat is almost full! Wow! That happened fast! 🙂 Excited for our time together, everyone!

All right! Time to get some high-quality sleep and that means pushing away from all screens for a nice little while so I can prep my brain for its restorative overnight sesh. 🙂

You too? Lemmeknow!

Much love,


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Avatar Candyce March 27, 2018 at 6:39 am

    I loved this article, and I SO look forward to Tuesday mornings when I see your email staring me in the face! Inspiring, truthful, and to the point on all aspects of the business and self care. You sound like you’re feeling better, and for that I’m grateful! Im going to drink some water! 😂. Have an amazing week, and THANK YOU for your words!

  2. Avatar Sean Frost March 27, 2018 at 9:33 am

    I’ve been learning more the value of getting good sleep. Been ill a few days and resting and feel better today. Not quite through it, but improving, and aside from prayer, nothing seems to help as much as some good sleep.

  3. Avatar Ivett Gabriella March 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I love this list! It pretty much applies to EVERY-frickin-BODY, not just entertainment professionals.
    I would also add scheduling playtime with other people at least once a week. Especially for introverts like me, who would otherwise never leave the house. Play is important for adults too not just children, and sometimes major aha moments happen during these times. Make sure it’s not work related though. For example, networking events don’t count because you are essentially still working. It’s not only fun, but it also makes your experiences richer, and you’ll have more to draw from as an artist.

  4. Erin Zapcic Erin Zapcic March 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Keep on drinkin’ that water, Candyce!

    Isn’t sleep just the BEST, Sean?

    Play is SO important, Ivett. It’s actually included as part of our work in Get in Gear for the Next Tier! Glad you’re finding time for it in your day-to-day life! 🙂


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