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The Life Of A Professional Stunt Woman: The Importance Of Self Care

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Sometimes our schedules can get so busy, that we forget to take time for ourselves.  It’s easy to forget, especially when your job never feels like work, and you’re actually excited to go to work.

But taking time for yourself, to rejuvenate your body and clear your mind is so important in this industry.

I myself often falling victim to the work addiction, as I genuinely love my job that much.  Of course, when you are new to the industry, you do need to prioritise the job a bit to become known and established in your respective field.  However, it is very easy to continue on that cycle forever if you don’t prioritize yourself, your relationships, and life outside of the industry.

What’s even more crucial as a stunt performer is caring for your body, as it is literally your tool for your job, and if its injured, out of alignment and just not working right, you up the risk for further injury, and could be putting those you are working with in an unnecessarily bad situation.   As a stunt performer looking after your head is crucial.  We all try our best to not hit our heads, not over-do head sells, and properly warm up before doing them so as to not damage our necks or get concussions.  However, there are still instances where head injuries do occur, and we must recover properly from them before getting back out and performing.  This may exactly pertain to all facets of the industry, but I feel looking after your brain and your mental health should be a top priority for all.  As an athlete where the risk for brain injury and repetitive brain injury is high, I feel very strongly about healing, and studying and knowing about the lasting effects brain injuries can have on people.   I have done many sorts of brain therapy to keep everything firing properly, and as an extra precaution, due to my job, I have had a baseline concussion test done, so I know where my base of good is, and have that to compare to should I ever have any serious head injuries.

For me my head is the most important thing to look after, but the rest of my body also needs good care and regular maintenance as well.   Seeing as I use my body as my main tool for work, maintenance is key.  I try to get massages and have spa days as often as possible just to keep things running well.  I think of it like getting oil changes, and tightening all your bolts, not waiting till something blows or falls apart before you treat it.  I have a steam room and tub next to it, so I can do at home hot and cold therapy as often as I like.

I do get asked this often, yes, I do have a list of various therapists in my phone.  As when I do get an injury, or just to maintain things, its nice to have your trusted people who know your body, and who understand the type of work I do and how hard I push and use my body. 

So even if you are writing, or working as a PA on your feet all day, or whatever your job is, hopefully the take away from this is that we all use our bodies, and we all need to maintain them.  We all need to make sure our mental health is in check as well, as this industry can be draining.  Self-care is so important to me in my career, and I hope that more people begin to realize that taking a spa day isn’t spoiling yourself, its necessary every now and then for your mental and physical health.

Maja Aro

About Maja Aro

Writer/Director/Stunt Coordinator/Stunt Performer - Maja Aro hails from Britannia Beach, BC and has worked in the film and television industry for the past 14 years. Maja was a competitive athlete and went to school for fashion design. She started a career in fashion, and soon discovered the stunt industry and decided to switch paths. Maja’s stunt career has taken her all over the world, and garnered her many awards and nominations. In 2014 Maja started working behind the camera a bit more (although she still gets out and hits the pavement as a performer) as a stunt coordinator, and the following year as a writer/director/producer. Maja’s debut solo short film “Hoods” won the 2015 MPPIA short film award funding, screened around the world and won numerous awards. In her spare time Maja enjoys going on adventures with her husband Jeff. They have travelled with charities to Uganda and Nepal. Maja has recently been the stunt coordinator for: ABC’s Once Upon A Time, A&E’s Project Blue Book, FacebookWatch’s Sacred Lies, and Amazon’s Man In The High Castle.