Managing Long Hours and Burnout in Production

Posted on: Oct 10, 2023

production setPhoto Credit: gnepphoto // Shutterstock

By Steffanie Bradley

Working in the film and TV production industry can be rewarding, but it can also be incredibly demanding. Long hours, high-pressure environments and tight deadlines often lead to stress and burnout among production workers. It can be tricky to know how to practice work-life balance in this industry, but with some awareness and boundaries, it’s possible.

Burnout Signs and Symptoms

While the entertainment industry is known for its glamor and creativity, it’s essential to recognize that there is a high amount of stress that production workers often face behind the scenes. 

The unpredictability of the industry, coupled with long shooting hours, being on your feet, sometimes outdoors, in bad weather and overnight shoots can all take a toll on mental health. Many production professionals work relentlessly to meet demanding schedules for the sake of their careers, leaving little time for self-care.

Understanding the signs of stress and burnout is crucial for self-awareness and early intervention. Common symptoms include chronic fatigue, increased irritability, reduced concentration and a decline in job satisfaction. 

Ignoring these signals can lead to more severe mental health issues. It’s essential to recognize when it’s time to seek help or take preventive measures.

Tips for Prioritizing Mental Wellness

In the pursuit of a healthier work-life balance and mental wellness, consider these practical strategies for managing stress and burnout in the demanding field of film and TV production:

Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Even in the fast-paced world of film and TV production, it’s crucial to carve out time for relaxation and self-care. 

Not all productions are the same, you may realize you like a certain type more than another. If you’re in the union, be sure that your union rules (hours, etc.) are being honored on set.

Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to colleagues, friends or mental health professionals when needed. Talking about your feelings and experiences can be a significant first step in managing stress. Chances are you’re not alone in feeling the stress and fatigue of working in production, and there are ways to manage it.

Practice Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine. Meditation, deep breathing exercises or yoga can help you stay grounded and reduce stress. Use your lunch break to meditate, or in between takes when you may not be needed.

Take Breaks: Even during hectic shoots, make time for short breaks to recharge. Stepping away from the set or workstation to head to crafty, even for a few minutes, can make a significant difference in your well-being.

Stay Organized: Efficient time management and organization are key to reducing stress. Utilize tools like calendars and to-do lists to stay on top of tasks and deadlines. If you’re able, take a small break between productions. Some people prefer to go back-to-back, while others take weeks or even months off between gigs. Find out what works best for you.

By prioritizing mental wellness, you can continue to thrive in this exciting industry while also ensuring that you remain physically and mentally healthy for years to come. Remember, your well-being matters just as much as the final cut on the big screen.

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