Why Artists Struggle with Taking Breaks: Insights from Jean-Louis Rodrigue

I have always been intrigued by the notion of artists and their inherent resistance to taking breaks. As an artist myself, I have personally experienced the struggles that arise when trying to step away from my craft. Recently, I had the opportunity to gain some valuable insights from renowned acting coach, Jean-Louis Rodrigue, which shed light on this common struggle among artists. In this blog post, I will delve into the reasons why artists like me find it challenging to take breaks and explore the wisdom imparted by Rodrigue. Join me as we uncover the depths of this fascinating dilemma and discover ways to embrace the importance of rest while nurturing our creative souls.

Why Artists Struggle with Taking Breaks: Insights from Jean-Louis Rodrigue


As an internationally recognized acting coach, movement director, and specialist in the Alexander Technique, I have had the opportunity to work with countless artists and creatives throughout my career. Through my experience coaching actors and collaborating with directors in various films such as Passion Fish, Vice, and Life of Pi, as well as my work in theater with esteemed directors like Larry Moss and Bo Eason, I have gained valuable insights into the struggles faced by artists when it comes to taking breaks. In this article, I will share some of my observations, drawing from my 34 years of teaching at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television and my personal life in Los Angeles with my husband.

  1. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
    One of the primary reasons artists struggle with taking breaks is the fear of missing out (FOMO). Artists are often driven by a deep-seated desire to constantly create and improve their craft. They worry that if they take a break, they might miss out on important opportunities, auditions, or projects. This fear can be paralyzing and lead to a constant state of work without rest.

  2. The Pressure to Succeed
    Artists also face immense pressure to succeed in their chosen field. The competitive nature of the industry can make them feel like they need to constantly be working, networking, and honing their skills. Taking a break can feel like a step backward, and they fear that others may surpass them in their absence.

  3. Struggling with Self-Identity
    For many artists, their creative work is not just a profession but a core part of their identity. Taking a break can lead to a loss of self-identity and a sense of purpose. Artists may fear that without constant activity and productivity, they will lose touch with who they are as individuals.

  4. Difficulty Letting Go
    Artists are often deeply passionate about their work and have a hard time letting go. They may become consumed by their projects, finding it difficult to detach and take a break. This difficulty in letting go can stem from a fear of losing the creative momentum they have built or a concern that they will lose their artistic touch by stepping away temporarily.

  5. Cultural Expectations
    In our fast-paced and achievement-oriented society, taking breaks is often seen as a sign of laziness or lack of ambition. Artists can internalize these cultural expectations and feel guilty or ashamed when they prioritize self-care and relaxation. They may push themselves to the brink of exhaustion to meet these societal expectations, further exacerbating their struggle with taking breaks.


Taking breaks is crucial for artists’ well-being and long-term success. It allows them to recharge, gain fresh perspectives, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, the deep-rooted fears, pressures, and cultural expectations placed on artists make it challenging for them to prioritize self-care. Recognizing and addressing these obstacles is essential for artists to break free from their struggles and embrace the value of rest and rejuvenation.

5 unique FAQs After The Conclusion

  1. How can artists overcome the fear of missing out?
    Artists can overcome the fear of missing out by setting boundaries and establishing a schedule that includes dedicated break times. They can also remind themselves that taking breaks is essential for their overall well-being and artistic growth.

  2. How does taking breaks benefit an artist’s creativity?
    Taking breaks gives artists the opportunity to gain fresh perspectives, recharge their creative energy, and prevent burnout. It allows them to approach their work with renewed inspiration and innovation.

  3. Should artists feel guilty about taking breaks?
    No, artists should not feel guilty about taking breaks. It is essential for their physical, mental, and emotional health. Taking breaks not only enhances their overall well-being but also improves their long-term productivity and longevity in their creative careers.

  4. How can artists balance their drive for success with the need for breaks?
    To balance their drive for success with the need for breaks, artists can prioritize self-care and set realistic goals. They can also seek support from mentors, coaches, or peers who can provide guidance and accountability in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

  5. Are there specific activities artists can engage in during breaks to enhance their creativity?
    Engaging in activities such as nature walks, meditation, journaling, or simply spending time with loved ones can greatly enhance an artist’s creativity. These activities help to relax the mind, stimulate new ideas, and foster a sense of connection and inspiration.

Remember, taking breaks is not a sign of weakness but a necessary component of an artist’s journey towards growth and self-discovery. Embracing the value of rest and rejuvenation is vital for artists to thrive in both their personal and professional lives.

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