7 Easy Tips to Be Mentally Healthy in Our Stressful Industry

7 Tips to Be Mentally Healthy in Our Stressful Industry
Design by Judy Moore in Canva
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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and many of us who work in our stressful industry could use some tips for being mentally healthy in these challenging times.

Our mental health is crucial to our overall well-being, and it’s something that often doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, especially in our fast-paced business.  The stress and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic didn’t help any.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental illnesses are one of the most common health issues in the U.S., and one in five Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers were even higher in our industry.  When the demands made on us exceed our resources and coping abilities, our mental health may decline.

Here are seven easy tips to be mentally healthy on and off set:

  1. Recognize workplace burnout and take time to rest.

Many of us who work on set have experienced job burnout at some point in our careers.  Feelings of irritation or anxiety or feeling overwhelmed, sad, or anxious can all be symptoms of job burnout.

We need to slow down and rest, which can be easier said than done in our business.  However, we can’t keep pushing ourselves indefinitely without it negatively impacting our mental health.

Recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed and take a break.

  1. Take care of your body.

When we’re feeling exhausted towards the end of a long day, it’s tempting to grab something sugary from craft service to perk us up.  I’ve done it many times, but the burst of energy never lasts long, and I’d feel worse than before.

Avoid eating junk food on set as much as possible and keep all snacks healthy.  We can’t be mentally healthy if we’re exhausted and not eating well.

I always bring a Lara bar to work for an energy boost, as I never know what will be available at craft service.

Our mental and physical health are connected, so make an effort to take care of both.

  1. Limit the time spent on social media and reading the news.

Spending too much time on the news and social media doesn’t help us be mentally healthy.  Now that everyone has their phone on set, it’s easy to check social media sites constantly and get stressed out by the latest crisis in the news.

We won’t strengthen our mental health by spending more time on social media and the news.  If anything, we’ll weaken it.

I have an affirmation app on my phone that sends me a reminder to say positive affirmations a few times a day.  I’ve found it helps me remain mentally strong and calm in stressful situations because it keeps me focused on the positive things in my life.

That beats the endless chatter on social media.

  1. Take time to unwind and do activities you enjoy away from work.

Exercising, pursuing enjoyable activities, and connecting with friends and family have all been found to increase contentment and reduce stress and anxiety.

With the long hours we work in our industry, we need to take time to relax and do the things we enjoy when we’re not working.

Practicing yoga is a particularly beneficial activity for reducing stress and anxiety and calming our stress response system.  I’ve practiced yoga for many years and can attest to its restorative powers.

Yoga is about calmness and focusing within, which is the opposite of what we do all day at work.  And that’s a definite plus for our mental health.

  1. Build resilience and manage stress at work.

We need to recognize that things happen at work over which we have no control and all we can do is handle them as best we can.

Our workplace and the people we work with change all the time.  We’re on different shows with new people in various locations, so we constantly have to adapt to changing circumstances.

It’s stressful when jobs end unexpectedly and shows don’t get picked up.

The daily demands of working in the film industry can take a toll on our relationships, so we need to make an effort to stay connected to our support system.

It’s hard to stay mentally healthy if we don’t have a support system when we need it the most.

  1. Practice mindfulness on and off set.

Mindfulness can be defined as the ability to be intensely aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and environment in the moment in a non-judgemental way.

Being more mindful at work can reduce feelings of emotional exhaustion and improve our focus and decision-making.

It also helps our mental health to be single-taskers rather than multi-taskers, even when multiple people on set are making demands of us.  Our brains aren’t wired for multi-tasking and we function far better when we give our conscious attention to each task we perform.

We need to be present in the moment and bring our full attention to each task and be non-judgemental observers of ourselves and our work.

Staying mindful in the moment keeps us grounded throughout the day, which helps us stay mentally healthy.

Making time for a daily meditation practice of even ten minutes can improve your sense of well-being, especially in our stressful industry.

I’ve meditated daily for decades and highly recommend it for reducing stress and anxiety and improving focus and decision-making.

  1. Volunteer and be of service to others.

Volunteering and being kind to others has been found to boost self-esteem and improve mental wellness.  We can help our own mental health and well-being by helping others.

Volunteering also increases social connections and reduces depression.

Our industry can make us feel as though our life force is being sucked out of us at times.  It can also crush our self-esteem if we let it.

The higher self-esteem we get from serving others helps our mental wellness.


Since most of us freelancers don’t work at a single company with a mental wellness program, it’s up to us to establish practices that help us stay mentally healthy at work and outside of work.

Our mental health deserves as much attention as our physical health.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health problems, help is available.  See the resources below.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat

Trained workers answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Calls are confidential and for to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network.

SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)

Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area.  Speak to a live person Monday through Friday, 8 am – 8 pm EST.





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