How to manage your way back to "normal"
As restrictions ease and places start to reopen, we begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Some event professionals are already starting to plan their next big face-to-face gig, and while this is what we do as an industry (and many can’t wait to get the show back on the road), there is no shame in admitting that some of us might need a little more time before feeling ready to come back.
I don’t know about you, but I quite enjoy many aspects of our current reality – working from home is probably at the top of my list as it means I have a lot more time to do other things I enjoy without spending endless hours commuting or travelling to destinations – hence I’m not sure I’d enjoy going back to certain things as they were.
This in itself may create a level of anxiety because some employers might need people to go back to their place of work (or travel a lot for work), and some roles may indeed only be performed in a specific place. For example, if you work on the operational side at a venue, your role can probably only be performed within a physical space.
I guess aside from this when it comes to planning events in the post-pandemic world (or rather co-living with a pandemic), there are probably many aspects to be considered that are new to most of us, and this might make us feel out of our depth.
But things are getting better, right? So then, why are we still feeling anxious? And more importantly, what can one do if anxiety is running high for what seems like all the wrong reasons?
1. Do not panic. Things are changing for everyone (again!) and it is pretty normal to struggle when we experience big changes. The process of adaptation can be slow and take time, so be gentle to yourself. We have been through a lot in the last year or so, and something you enjoyed doing before might no longer be at the top of your list now, or it might not be possible to do anymore. We are resourceful people, so rest assured that things will work out for the best.
2. Breathe. One of the things that this pandemic has taught me is that even if the world around me is falling apart and things are changing by the minute, I can still be in control. It is in our gift to control how we feel and react to our reality, so be aware that you can always slow down, take a step back, pause and breathe deeply. The ability to stay cool in stressful situations is really important to think clearly, consider your options and act on the next steps.
3. Talk to others about your feelings. If you are employed by a company, know that they have a duty of care towards you. If you feel out of your depth because – say – hybrid events are not your thing, perhaps talk to your manager about what you think you need to learn to feel more comfortable in managing them. If you are self-employed, perhaps invest some time talking to a friend or loved one about what you are finding challenging at the moment. Sharing is caring, and simply by talking things through with them, you might not only help them with their struggles, but also figure out how to manage your own.
So, whether you are ready to rock and roll, or struggling right now, know that you are not alone. I’m all for making hay while the sun shines, but I’m well aware that the sun doesn’t always shine so let’s be mindful of what colleagues might be going through at the moment and take some time to be even kinder to one another.