Nothing quite beats the feeling of working on a film set. It’s fast-paced, pure creativity in motion — and while completely stressful at times — for us cinephiles, it’s a total dream come true. However, within the oftentimes chaotic environment of a film set, if you’re not careful, you can end up sacrificing your own well-being to meet the needs and demands of others and the project, while missing out on the pure joy of the moment.
So much of the pain comes from the fixation on the end result of the film you are making, and attachment to the outcome, which while totally understandable — you of course want to make an amazing film — can unfortunately oftentimes lead to the human element of making movies being sacrificed along the way.
The good news: with a little bit of conscious awareness and a few simple self-care practices, it is totally possible to make a stellar film without losing touch with the enjoyment of the process of filmmaking. In fact, you’ll probably end up with an even better film this way! (Haven’t you ever noticed when it’s obvious a film was made with love + joy + fun vs. one that was born in a toxic environment?)
Here are a few tips to help you take pristine care of yourself when on set, so that you can enjoy the process of filmmaking just as much as the finished product!
1. Take a moment to tune in
Throughout your day, if you’re starting to feel burnt out, pause and check in with yourself. Put one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself what your needs are in the moment (food, water, rest, saying “no” to an unreasonable request?). Don’t be afraid to put yourself first. Know that it is more than ok to set clear boundaries with the people you work with and at the end of the day, this makes for a better film + healthier work environment.
2. Find the most comfortable pair of shoes
This is such a simple, yet powerful act of self-love + care. You’ll be walking and standing around a lot, so it is vital to find footwear that will have good arch support and feel cozy even after an entire day on the set. We recommend ahimsa, Ethletic, and Keep. for super comfy, ethically + sustainably-produced (and vegan!) options.
3. Never underestimate the power of sleep + hydration
Help to make the planet + your body a happier place by bringing a reusable water bottle with you to set! And remember that if you’re feeling off or in a bad mood, it might simply be because you’re under slept or dehydrated. Make high standards for both sleep + hydration a top priority and see how your mood shifts for the better.
4. Eat for fuel
This is huge and can be the first thing to go out the window when stress is high and time feels short. Sometimes you don’t have enough time to sit down and eat lunch in peace, and very often, there aren’t many healthy options at the craft services table. You can’t always control what food is being served on set, but can always come prepared with your own healthy snacks + lunch if need be. Becoming more mindful of what you’re putting in your body will help you to maintain stamina throughout the day and prevent burn out. Try to avoid consuming too many sugary treats (it’s ok to have one — we know that free food is one of the many perks of being on set ;)) — and remember to take in enough protein and healthy greens to keep your energy up. You can always throw a few protein bars in your bag (or if you’re feeling creative, whip up some homemade granola the day before shooting starts) so you show up prepared.
5. Take a movement break
Movement is an incredibly powerful tool to boost your energy, improve your mood and rejuvenate your system. You could keep it as simple as a few deep neck rolls with conscious breathing, quick stretches, or a forward fold (uttanasana –for us yogis!). Find what works for you — just remember — a little bit of movement goes a long way!
6. Plan out self-care in advance
Actively schedule self-care rituals into your calendar and make them as non-negotiable as hitting your call time. For you, that might be drawing a hot bath at the end of a long day, enjoying a few skincare rituals, 10 mins of self-care yoga in the morning, journaling a few pages in the morning or at night, reading a book, exercising, cooking a homemade meal, or another activity you enjoy that rejuvenates you. Choose what works for you and love yourself enough to follow through.
Guest Post by Brigitte Evans