With 12 million event industry professionals out of work, everyone is pivoting as fast and as much as they can. With COVID, plus the election, searching for work, physical distancing, zoom call upon zoom call and so much more this has created a new kind of fatigue. Pandemic fatigue.
Many of us are used to extremely long hours, physical labor, and having to adapt on the fly, which means many of us don’t know how to stop, slow down, or how to wait it out; especially having to do it for 6 months plus straight. Some days I feel more tired than I ever did on a 5-day show run. Self-care in times like these are extremely important. I know I’ve written about self-care before, however, as 2020 drags on self-care continues to look different for everyone and becomes even more important.
Maintain a routine if you can build a new one if you need to. I had to build a new routine, otherwise, I found myself not getting dressed and watching way too much tv. A few of the things I have added to my routine are volunteering, cooking/baking, reading for fun, and hanging with my nephews more. Other things you could add are journaling, a new exercise routine, DIY home improvements, or exploring your city. Build a routine to avoid depression and anxiety. At the same time, it’s ok to give yourself a break and let yourself off the hook; there is a lot going on.
This new routine is about finding a new balance. We are on an informational and emotional roller-coaster. Take a mental break from the news and social media – re-read your favorite childhood book series or start a new one. Explore that park you always drove by, but never stopped at. Find folks to socialize with who understands what you are going through. Find people who understand you may be emotional. That you might need to adjust the days’ plan due to how you’re feeling or an opportunity you need to follow up on. People who will support you in any way you need. A support system or network in these times are very important and so are the people you lean on when you need to. Find a balance in your routine that provides motivation, but allows you to adjust if things just don’t feel right. Develop your support network too.
Also, if you’re like me you’re on a new and very tight budget. I had to redo my budget to cut out any ‘frivolous spending’ aka anything extra and fun. Maintaining my living expenses have become a huge concern and point of stress. I probably went a little overboard, cutting anything not needed right away which took a lot of fun activities off the table early. Now that I have rebalanced my budget ensuring I can make ends meet I find I desire to put some of the fun items back in all the while thinking I have to make sure I’m filling my rainy-day account because who knows what unexpected expense could pop up. Luckily my support network reminded me it’s ok to treat myself once in a while too. It is ok to buy that one dinner out or get that new piece of gear. Try that new food truck that opened down the block. Buy the new shoes you’ve been needing but avoiding. Yes, the budget is tight but again self-care is important. Find a balance that can be maintained and develop your routine around it.
Develop a routine that includes self-care and a support network. We’ll need to continue to prepare for the long run as we all know our industry will not open up overnight. This is going to take time, patience, and a lot of support. Find joy where you can, stave off the fatigue, anger, and fear as needed. Rely on your network and your routine to make it through this because we will make it through and we will be stronger as individuals and a stronger industry once we get to do what we love again.
Also, a little PSA:
Don’t forget to look for and utilize your local resources for help, many counties and states have assistance programs in place – food shelves, health insurance help, budgeting assistance, or even resume creating and job finding support. Use these systems, they exist for this specific reason and there is no shame in using them to make it through. These resources can help relaxed financial or job worries and help bring peace of mind during these times.
And take care of your mental health.
Heather Holm: Based in Saint Paul, MN; Heather has held many positions in the sound, production, and events business. Most recently as a Production Manager serving the Twin Cities area. She holds a BA in Broadcasting and Digital Media Communication and an MS in Organizational Change Leadership. Prior to taking a position with a private production firm, Heather has over seven years of working in higher education dealing with event logistics and production technology and had also been freelancing in the field for several years.