Let’s Reset: Looking after our mental health at work
Being a freelancer can give you the freedom and flexibility to follow your passion. But it can also come with a lot of uncertainty and pressure. When YOU are your most important business asset, it’s vital that you look after your physical and mental health.
Watch this short animation to help you spot the common stressors experienced by film and TV freelancers, and learn some simple steps you can take to start putting YOU at the top of your to-do list.
To access a version with Welsh subtitles, view here
Everyone will experience pressure at work and, in small amounts, pressure can be helpful in increasing productivity and motivating us to meet deadlines, for example.
But prolonged pressure can lead to stress which can negatively impact our physical and mental health in the longer term – especially if we don’t feel supported. Identifying triggers and factors that affect your wellbeing negatively is an important first step. Because once you’ve done that, you can proactively address your triggers, spot the signs of poor mental health, work out how you can manage these and get support.
Spot your stress triggers
Being a freelancer means no job security, no employment benefits, continual pressure to find new work … This can have a severe impact on mental health.
Looking Glass survey respondent
Here are some of the film and TV work-related risk factors that can affect your mental health. Are there any that sound familiar to you?
- Working very long hours – this can also affect our ability to take care of ourselves. It has an impact on our sleep, eating and drinking habits, and how regularly we exercise
- Not having any control over working hours – this can affect personal relationships
- Insecure work
- Money worries – at home and at work
- Isolation – whether it’s working without a team, working remotely or in periods of unemployment
- Lack of access to HR or similar support at work
- Experiencing bullying, racism or harassment
- Difficulty balancing work with caring responsibilities
- Feeling unable to ask for support with mental health problems – tight budgets and deadlines can mean there’s pressure not to take sick days
- Living with a disability or long-term ill health – in film and TV it can be hard to take time to rest and there can be pressure to work the same hours as your peers. You might feel unsupported or unable to ask for time to attend hospital or other medical appointments
If you’d like to learn more about industry-specific challenges that can affect our mental health, how to spot the signs that your mental health might be worsening and the support services available for you or someone in your team, then check out the Screenskills ‘Introduction to mental health awareness at work’ free e-learning module
Here are some tips that you might find helpful in looking after yourself as a film and TV freelancer:
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