Personal Development

How to Deal with Online Stress as a Filmmaker and Digital Creative

June 15, 2022

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Article by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Let’s get real about mental health and filmmaking!

In today’s blog post I want to get real about one of the downsides of being a solo filmmaker and digital creative. It’s simple. Yet it seems complicated at the moment when you’re feeling stuck in a fragmenting landscape. If you’re dealing with feeling stressed on the job as a freelance filmmaker or digital creative, then this post is for you!


Table of Contents

  1. Magical million-year evolutionary principles
  2. Reshaping my life and priorities
  3. What to do about too much time online?
  4. Fantabulous calming elixirs and potions
  5. Everything starts in the mind
  6. Summary

Here’s the crux of the issue: Being online way too much is a problem.

A big one.

How much is way too much? Well, that’s up to you to decide. But for me, I’d say more than 5 hours a day is too much. And, yet…how many times have I spent WAY more than 5 hours hooked into this digital wormhole that acts as a kind of machined mind hive of desaturated human consciousness.

What about you?

How often do you find yourself getting “sucked in” to something that logically adds little value to your life?

Or even just spending way too much time looking things up or online shopping or scrolling through someone’s feed?

ANTI-NURTURING

The problem with all this time online is that this space is by nature anti-nurturing. It doesn’t feed your mind-body-soul in a way that’s human. It might give you some hits of dopamine. It might even allow you to have some really awesome online friends who you’ve never even met in person!

It’s Not Alive!

Here’s the thing: the online space is not alive.

But unlike a stack of bricks, it’s not stable. It’s a fragmented version of everything good and horrible about humanity.

It’s certainly not beautifully made through the process of magical million-year evolutionary principles.

Unlike a clover blossom which has evolved over millions of years to add value to any creature’s life, perfect in every way. Or a vast desert swept by ancient winds. Or an underwater world of shining fish and dark waving kelp forests.

Ahhhh, so calming…

Life in a Poorly Made Landscape

Unlike LIFE on earth, the digital landscape is poorly manufactured.

Yet it now fills up so many hours in our lives. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy using the internet and as an online course creator, I find so much joy and value in connecting with people from around the world. I see how this tool can be used in such a positive way. But most of us are still struggling with how to balance REAL life: the aliveness that fills us up and makes us feel human and the siren call of the internet.

When Life Starts Talking Back…

In the past two weeks, I had a very very odd health freak-out that has made me realize that I need to prioritize my health.

I’ve learned a lot about what I’ve been doing wrong as a digital creative and how I need to reshape my life and my priorities.

So if you struggle with feeling:

  • Anxious
  • Stressed
  • Way too full of thoughts
  • Panicky
  • Demotivated
  • Tense
  • Fragmented or disjointed
  • Lost
  • Unlike yourself sometimes

Then here are a few things I’ve picked up over the last couple of weeks as well as some tips I just got from the awesome elf-woman I met at the WholeFoods this afternoon. Seriously, I swear she was a real live elf. She had wild frizzy henna hair, and sparkling blue eyes, and acted like a character from a fairy tale.

Sanity Tips for Filmmakers and Digital Creatives

1. The more time you spend online the more time you need to spend outside in nature.

Even if you live in a city, go outside. For 4 hours on the computer, you probably need 1 hour outside. Yes, I know for an introverted home-body that might sound like pure insanity. But if do it, will you do it? And if you’re already doing it then you’re a boss, and I salute you!

Dear Nature, thank you for existing!

2. There are some really really fantabulous calming elixirs and potions out there.

And they actually work!​

Here are a few worth trying:

  • CBD oil with low THC. This stuff is very relaxing – especially for tense muscles or overworked minds. This might be old news to you, but I truly didn’t think this stuff would work ’till I tried it!
  • Magnesium Citrate, Lactate or other form helps with anxiety, stress, and poor sleeping. Most people on earth are deficient in it, which is a problem.
  • Bone broth! This stuff is expensive unless you make it yourself. But if you need some deep healing this stuff helps. The glycine in the broth help with anxiety.
  • Sleep Essence by Flora is a super tasty elixir made of flowers you can take during the day at half dosage to calm you down. Thanks, WholeFood’s lady. She suggested this stuff to me and it worked! I give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating! Yerp, that good.
Sleep is the KEY to performing well over time.

3. While elixirs are great, everything starts in the mind. But it doesn’t end in the mind.

To feel better I had to connect my mind to the rest of my body. Harder than it sounds if you’re a digital addict!

So here are the mind and body training activities I’ve been doing to get re-balanced:

  • Online hypnosis! Very interesting stuff. And it really does work. I joined this platform called My Brain Fit Life and have been doing their hypnosis every day. It creates a massive feeling of deep calm.
  • Sound baths! Yes, you might already know that I’m super into these. I’ve been listening to Sound Bath #7 from Deep Creative Magic on repeat. It’s so calming. ​
  • Tapping! If you’re a skeptic you might find this stuff crazy. That’s okay. I was skeptical too. But it really works well. I’m using The Tapping Solution method.
  • Grounding! This is literally just going outside and putting your bare naked feet on the earth (…you know like we used to do every single day for 15 hours per day back when we roamed the earth like the badass homo sapiens that we are!) This gives you tons of calming energy as well as a myriad of other health benefits from speeding up wound healing to calming digestive issues. Yes, there is real science to back this up too!
  • QiGong! Okay, this is an acquired taste, so I won’t hold your feet to the fire on this one. But my dad swears he healed his cancer with this stuff. So this week I decided to try it out…and I see his point. It gives you a massive energy shift. Because there aren’t any live classes in my area I’ve watched online QiGong videos to do it (yes, the irony). But the benefits seem to well outweigh the time online.
  • HRV Breathing. You might remember me talking about this way back in December of 2021. But this stuff really works. So does deep breathing. Here’s a free video series I made a while ago if you want to get into this.

Well, that covers it. I’m sure there are more things that I’ve been doing to get my health back and de-fragment myself. But this is all I can remember right now.

The simple act of going outside is so important!!!

EARTH IS NUMBER ONE!

As I look back over the list, I feel like the number one thing that can make a massive difference to all of us digital professionals, filmmakers, aspiring filmmakers, work-from-home prisoners, and office workers is the simple act of going outside and sticking our naked feet on the earth.

The research on this is impressive.

Plus, it costs nothing. Yeah, it’s maybe a little inconvenient if you don’t have a backyard. But if you do, well you’re looking at a goldmine of creative healing in your backyard!

So let’s review:

If you want to stay sane, banish anxiety, and have a long-term healthy relationship with the internet and digital sphere then here are three things I recommend:

1) Spend time outside.

Try for 1 hour outside for every 3-4 hours on the internet.

2) Try out some healthy elixirs to help with decreasing stress.

Being online is often stressful!

3) Try some mind-body connection practices to de-fragment yourself.

Just like we need to de-fragment our external hard drives, we need to do the same to ourselves.

I truly believe that the key to a long, happy, and fulfilling life as a creative human is taking care of our health.

The key to a long, happy, and fulfilling life is …. HEALTH!!!

This stuff matters!

When you become a filmmaker, when you ARE a filmmaker, you spend a lot of time online.

It’s a jungle out there. You gotta be prepared with a hero’s toolkit of things to keep you healthy so you can play the long game and be a filmmaker for life!

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About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

If you want more, get on the waitlist for the Story Envelope Academy Solo Filmmaking Mentorship Program. It opens up 1-2 times per year and is the best way to become a filmmaking or video pro fast!

CLICK HERE to get on the solo filmmaking program waitlist.


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