I will never forget my first experience working on a film set. I was 16 and thrilled to be interning with the styling department of a short film. From the incredible costumes, to the beautiful locations and the all laughter in between takes with cast and crew of eccentric ‘creative types’, I fell in love with this world and knew I didn’t want to leave.
Fast forward 15 years and I have been on more film, commercial and TV show sets than I can remember and while I love working as a producer, the stress and anxiety that comes with each shoot can be overwhelming. Amidst the pressure of deadlines, client expectations, talent request, constantly changing schedules, long days and sleepless nights, working on set or filming on location isn’t great for a person’s health and wellbeing.
And of course, even if you don’t work in the biz, you’ve probably heard about the on-location catering we have on offer every day. It can spell diet disaster!
Like lots of people who work demanding hours, I used to live off caffeine and adrenaline, often eating nothing all day and completely running myself in to the ground to get things done. After years of living this way, my body decided it was done and completely shut down with exhaustion and depletion, forcing me to take a year off work to recover from adrenal fatigue and a whole host of other health related issues.
When I was finally well enough to go back to work, I had a completely new outlook and set about discovering better ways of keeping my energy and productivity up that were not at the expense of my health.
Here are some of the key healthy body wisdoms I learned the hard way:
1. Always Eat Breakfast
It’s not a revolutionary idea, but eating a great breakfast really is one of the best things you can do to keep your blood sugars, energy and mood stable throughout the day. Eating a protein-fuelled meal like eggs and avocado will also stop you from starting a torrid love affair with the with morning chocolate croissant trolley.
2. Go Nuts
As the saying goes: be prepared, or prepare to fail. When you can’t be certain when your next meal will be, having healthy snacks, like almonds or cashews, gives you better options when a Krispy Kreme donut calls your name.
3. Drink for immunity
Spirulina is a great alternate to coffee. Mix up a teaspoon with ginger, lemon and lime and you have got yourself one seriously powerful energy and immunity booster.
4. Go light at lunch
An all-you-can-eat catered buffet at lunchtime can often feel like a joyful oasis in the middle of a stressful day. But I’ve found that having a massive three-course meal for lunch is the quickest way to transform yourself from an energiser bunny to a lethargic slug. Keep it light and you will avoid the self-induced food coma.
5. Stop and deep breathe
When you have a million things happening at once, sometimes you can actually forget to breathe. Remember to check in with yourself, let go of all the tension you build up by taking a least five really full deep breaths.
6. Fend off other folks’ energies
Working with a variety of people and personality types can often be the most stressful element of any job. Be conscious and aware of the way other people make you feel but make sure you don’t absorb their stressful energy unnecessarily. Having a bright and optimistic attitude no matter what is actually the key to keeping your body and mind healthy.
7. Use a natural relaxant
After a really intense day, switching off can feel near impossible. I use an all-natural specially formulated herbal tonic mix of passiflora, milk thistle and ashwagana which calms my nervous system and supports adrenals function. The B vitamins and magnesium are also really helpful for rest and repair.