Before all the endless zoom quizzes and banana bread outbreak of lockdown, I had the pleasure of carrying out a survey on MICE industry professionals which sought to see not only how wellness could be incorporated into events for delegates, but also highlight how our fast-paced and deadline-driven industry can be stressful for the MICE industry professionals who work in it. Following lockdown, one statistic really stood out for me.
75% of respondents agreed that it can be difficult to have a work-life balance in our industry. This has reversed for many of us. Instead of jumping from flight to flight to carry out sales calls or attend trade shows, some of us are spending more time at home with family than we ever would have. Others find themselves isolated, working on their own, a stark contrast to the people-based industry that we know. Getting used to this reversal can be hard. As someone who has a history of worrying more than an Irish mammy and has spoken about their dealings with mental health in the past, I want to share some tips which have helped with this reversal.
Manage your Expectations
This is a global pandemic; of a scale which we may never see again in our lifetime. We should not feel guilty if we are not using this time to learn morse code or how to play the trumpet. As Mental Health Ireland points out:
“The more we expect the more likely we are to be disappointed. Focus on the limitations of the current situation and work within the limitations as opposed to ruminating about what ifs.”
In short, do what you can, what makes you happy or do nothing at all but most importantly do not feel guilty about it.
80% of respondents were aware of mental health supports within their company and felt that they could ask someone for help if they needed it. This is really reassuring but these are unprecedented times, everyone will deal with the situation differently. Both management and colleagues need to check in with co-workers and make sure they are doing ok. Remember that some people may be isolated and living on their own. Likewise, outside of work, check in on friends or family who may be struggling. Check out this great video on reaching out by a close friend and talented videographer, Conor Hayes.
Find ways to switch off
We are spending an incredible amount of time in front of screens with virtual meetings taking over from face to face interactions. On top of this, the pandemic is being reported worldwide by media every second of every day. Allow yourself to switch off! Why not take part in a book exchange, try your hand at baking or jump on the jigsaw bandwagon? As a newfound jigsaw advocate, I would highly recommend giving one a go. Puzzles are proven not only to cause family feuds, but also to increase our brains’ production of dopamine. Dopamine being a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and feelings of optimism!
Know that this will pass
Finally, following wise words from my colleague Ruth Richardson in Fáilte Ireland:
“control the controllables”
Realise that this situation is beyond us but will pass eventually with us all being able to see each other again. Look after those you care about and if you are feeling overwhelmed, do not be afraid to ask for help! In the meantime, enjoy your newfound hobbies and time with family.
For further information on the full survey results please contact me [email protected]