As the founder of Eventwell, Helen Moon is well placed to understand and assist with mental health issues within the events industry. After her webinar a few weeks ago, she had a number of questions from events professionals relating specifically to the events industry and managing your mental health both on and offsite.
If you’re suffering from events-related mental health issues, or just want to know how to better manage stress or wellness while working on an event, you can find the answers below.
Any recommendations on how to manage nutrition and exercise especially during onsite periods?
Onsite, you will probably find that your appetite is suppressed because of the cortisol effect. Make sure you factor in breaks to your running order so that you can grab a small bite or meal to fuel your body and mind. 15 minutes every 2 hours is generally a good amount of time to take. Make sure you do not run on empty all day by not skipping meals. When you are busy and feeling under pressure, your body and mind need their fuel.
In terms of movement, if you are not on one of the teams that will be running around all day, make sure every hour you have a 5-minute breather to get away from what you are doing to stretch your legs and give your mind a regenerative break.
How do you make your team feel valued?
This is very simple, making your team feel valued is about paying an interest in them, find out who they are as individuals. Don’t just make one to ones about the figures and the KPIs, get to know your team members as people.
Also, thank them and reward them for working hard, and be flexible in terms of how they work, as everyone has different motivators. Most importantly, from a mental health and wellbeing perspective, let them know they can come to you with concerns or worries. You can’t promise to solve every one for them, but just knowing that they can come to you if in crisis is incredibly powerful.
Do you know how event people manage to retire when they have been hooked on eustress all their career?
They find other things in their lives that they can channel some of the passion and creativity into, at least the balanced ones do.
Finding a love outside of work is a brilliant way of helping you to switch off from work now, not just when we retire. It enables us to find some balance in the crazy world we live in. Find something else you are good at outside of events, something else that you love and have a passion for, e.g. music, reading, gardening, or sport.
We are all born with natural talents, take some time to identify yours and go from there. This will help you establish sound purpose and spirituality in life and this is really important for our mental health and wellbeing.
Do you have recommendations on how to deal with a stressful situation while on-site/at an event? Would breathing exercises help?
Breathing exercises are great for this. Just the simple act of taking a moment to breathe, think and then respond could be the difference between something being sorted out very quickly and calmly or something becoming even more stressful.
I love the swan analogy for when onsite. Up above you are calm and serene, but down below the water your legs are working hard. Remember your swan when you are on-site, breath and think.
How can you lead employees and support them so they don’t become depressed?
You can never prevent an employee or member of your team from being or becoming depressed, mainly because, as a manager, you cannot prevent life from happening.
What you can do is ensure that you are approachable and that your team members can come to you for advice and support should they need it. You can do this by talking openly with them about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and by showing how you manage and look after your own mental health and wellbeing. Leading by example is a very powerful leadership tool that you can manage and control.
Another very powerful tool is when your team know that they can come to you if they have any concerns or worries.
Is it good to establish the same working schedule?
To have patterns and a plan when you are working can be great for some people and, having more flexibility can be great for others.
The best way is to establish the best working pattern for you and build a working schedule around it.
How can you survive this situation full of stress if you only hear discouraging news and predictions from international organizations and various sources that everything is going to get worse and worse, especially in the tourism and events sector, all day?
Limit your interactions and exposure to negative media and press, especially on social media. Happy does not sell papers and media, unfortunately. Remember this when you are going about your day to day.
Maybe only watch the news once a day at 6pm when the daily update from No10 comes out. Avoid watching the 10pm news before bed as this can heighten your stress levels and hinder getting a good night’s sleep, which is really important for all of us at the moment.
Again, this comes down to control. Remember that you are in control of the here and now and, in control of your happiness. If something brings you down and impacts on you negatively then simply reduce your exposure to it.
If you want to get in contact with Helen Moon, or find out more about EventWell, you can do that all here: https://eventwell.org/
You can also find answers to all your general mental health queries here.