Slowing Down with Renee Zellweger
Growing up, everyone looked forward to summer vacation, spring break and winter break. Whether it was going on a trip, going to a camp or just having more free time, it was always a welcome break from school and homework. But after school is over, it can be harder to find time to take a break. There aren’t designated weeks of vacation. Days off have to be planned around deadlines and deliverables and if they aren’t protected, can sometimes even lead to burn out. Renee Zellweger knows this tension all too well. We interviewed Zellweger in 2018 and talked with her about why she took some time away from acting and what she did on her break.
“I just needed to take a moment because the process overlaps [film after film] and it doesn’t stop. And while there’s a lot of joy involved in that experience – especially in the privilege of getting to be a storyteller and do what you love for a living – there’s a lot that gets pushed by the wayside with respect to your personal life. If you’re committed to it, then there are other things you don’t get to engage in and nurture, and those are probably much more important than anything that you might be doing in your professional life. When you do one long enough, the other one tends to kind of disappear a little bit, and then you have no reason to get off the merry-go-round because there’s nothing that you’ve nurtured or built that’s more important than that, and that’s imbalance and it’s not healthy.”
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Eccelesiastes 3:1-8
“I needed to take a minute and watch my niece and nephew turn from babies to toddlers to children, and know them. Because they’re going to have the birthday party and understand that you can’t be there because your job won’t let you, because the urgency of filmmaking and the time that it consumes. They understand that you can’t be there, but they’re having the birthday party anyway and then it’s just your loss. And they’re having the barbecue anyway, and your friends get closer and they nurture their relationships and then it’s just your loss. I started to look around, and I didn’t like myself very much. I didn’t like sitting at home after the Golden Globes in the failure of my personal life, by myself. And for what? Why do you have these huge moments where you get to celebrate with nobody. So, I needed to work on that and I needed to learn something. I reached a place in my life where I wasn’t growing anymore. You can’t grow when you’re constantly pretending to be somebody else, as actors we are literally in somebody else’s shoes.”
Take a break. It is okay to take a break. While it can be hard to step away from a project or work, see if there is a time where you can plan a day or two off that will give you some rest. Sometimes it can feel like a reward to plan it after everything is completed, other times it needs to be scheduled in the middle so that you can get rest and perspective. Don’t feel guilty. Rest and rejuvenation are important physically, mentally and spiritually. Plan something fun to do with friends or take a day by yourself and read and reflect. Each person has different ways that they will feel rejuvenated, so don’t compare yourself to what another person does.
Invest in what is important. It is so easy for our schedules to get filled with appointments and to-do-lists. Take a step back this week and ask God how He wants you to invest your time. It could be volunteering at church or in a ministry. It could be mentoring someone in a skill or craft. It could be spending more time with your family. Consider sharing it with a friend or someone in your small group so that they can hold you accountable.
Protect your time. Whether it is going on vacation or spending time with your family, it can be easy to get distracted. Whatever the things are that normally distract you or your family from engaging with one another, set up guidelines for your vacation or time together. Consider turning off your cell phones for a period of time when you go on vacation. Leave the tablets at home and actually have conversation during a meal. It could even be having all electronics off and then having a designated time where everyone gets to use it and then they go back off. Frame the guidelines with the expectation that the purpose is that everyone would spend more time with one another.
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