The Event Industry: Mental health
By QT/ Team
Mental health has been a growing topic for quite some time now, yet what do we exactly understand about it? A once more frowned upon topic or less recognized one, ‘mental health’ has slowly become something that is more socially acceptable and now easier, and encouraged, to speak out about.
As one might have guessed, the events industry consists of intervals of high stress, isolating, and substance induced (anything from caffeine, to alcohol or medication) environments. Especially when working on larger projects, in limited time and heavy workloads. Event Planners often strive on perfectionism and need everything to run right, even though it so often occurs that one will need backup plans for mistakes which are most likely to occur. These environments often have harsh effects on ones mental state, and are not to be considered lightly, but instead, to be recognized and take some time for ‘self-care’ avoiding potential burn out.
There are many factors that can contribute in a deteriorating mental state. Just listing a few: lack or irregularity in sleep, nutritional neglect, hostile work environment, harassment and bullying, lack of support, isolation, unclear goals, high stress and many more. Now these factors may come into play from time to time which is normal, but when these things are a non-stop ‘issue’ in the work space you should highly consider ways of bettering them, for yourself. A concoction of the factors, could lead to more serious outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, and, or burn out.
Stress can be one of the main attributes to working in the event industry. Having to keep up with the deadlines, and tight scheduling, as well as the occasional difficult client whom must be pleased, stress is quite a common part of the job. Many planners thrive off the stress, but it can also become overwhelming and things can easily turn hostile, leading to a more negative state of mind.
Hostile Work Environment
Hostility in the work place can be a major contributor to putting a person into a negative state of mind. Anything from bullying, passive aggression, and harassment can belittle someone enough to even be afraid to be at work. This kind of negative attitude towards work, will not only decrease the motivation in the job, but can also have a weight on the mental state of the person.
Attending events and taking part in networking parties can result in a large amount of alcohol consumption if not controlled. Many times it comes as part of the job. Alcohol and other substances working as depressants, definitely collect over time and may unnoticeably change someones behaviour in and outside the work space.
Lack of Sleep
We’ve often heard of the importance of getting enough sleep and maintaining a regular sleep schedule in order to function properly. This can very easily be affected by the work loads of event planners, and also the odd working hours from time to time, especially when working on site. To add to this, many result in unhealthy amounts of caffeine containing products to help push through the sleepless days and nights.
Just like sleep, nutritional intake is important, especially during times where a lot of focus is required. Unfortunately, this is often neglected due to little time to eat, as well as the quicker unhealthy variant of food that are chosen to be consumed in stressful times.
Big projects can become very isolating, in personal and professional life, especially when having multiple large projects at one, all the focus needs to be on them, and personal life needs to be on hold. This kind of isolation can have an impact on the mental state, creating a sort of anti-social environment which can sometimes be hard to get back into, but is important to be part of.
All of the above-mentioned factors, could be contributors to a negative mental state, but don’t necessarily have to. A combination of them can surely exhaust your body both mentally and physically, as well as be overwhelming from time to time. This is why it is of great importance that we also take some time to ourselves and take a break to relax and replenish every now and then.
What you can do
There are many different ways you can take a break from everything, and these are very much based on the individual person and their likes. Raising awareness that it is ok to be exhausted is a first step to helping one deal with the problem. But on a mental health spectrum when things feel a little more helpless, these few simple things could help bring a little light into your days. It can be as simple as downloading an app on your phone like Headspace (find out about 23 more useful apps here). There are many other alternatives to apps, such as books, and of course speaking to a professional (therapist, psychotherapist, etc.). It really depends on each individual person and what may help them best, but it is good to consider and try out different options to see what does or doesn’t fit to your personal needs.