The realization that you're not alone - wellness in the event industry

By Kit Watts

2 mins

How to cope with stress and realize that you're not alone as an event professional

This blog is inspired by a ‘Conversation with Carina’, where Nalan Emre, Rhiannon Phinbow, Carina Bauer, Suzanne Mulligan and Kit Watts from the IMEX team shared their mental health highs and lows over 2021. Here Kit picks up on one of the themes from that conversation.

Look. I can quote you a hundred statistics about mental health. I know the importance of fresh air, exercise, good friends, good food, community, family, daylight, spiritual or religious practice, laughter, the comfort of a pet... You name it, I know it.

But, have I always looked after myself and nurtured these health-giving aspects of my life, especially during the forced isolation of the pandemic? Nope.

I’m a reasonably intelligent, together(ish) person. You probably are too.

So why not?

Social connection is a well-being need 

Let me be bare-faced honest with you here because you and I are not that different. Our eyes, skin, hair, family stories, gender, and family histories make us look different on the outside but, the fact is, we all bleed red.

To survive, and I’m talking basic survival needs, we need oxygen, food, shelter and we need the company and fellowship of other humans, or at least another living being, such as a pet. Why else is solitary confinement a punishment, loneliness one of our biggest health threats or bullying and ‘hating’ the scourge of our times?

To this point about needing company, there’s a distinction to be made which, for me at least, unlocked a new level of understanding and fulfilment in my life (and please know I’m not telling or prescribing, I’m just sharing my own experience).

That realization? Being alone and feeling lonely are not inextricably linked. Yes, they can be related but there’s a deeper belief at play. One that’s so familiar and ingrained many of us don’t even know is there.

Social connection

To help you take this in, give yourself a moment right now to remember feeling the strange loneliness of being in a large crowd (a station platform, airport lounge, a new school, a new workplace) or the gut-churning loneliness of not being chosen for the team, not being in that group, that class, that clique or that club or the piercing loneliness of being inside a broken relationship that no longer feeds or sustains you?

There were people around you, but you still felt lonely, right?

Self-love is important to personal wellness 

So, what is my point? That when I’ve felt at my most lonely it’s because I’ve abandoned myself. No-one else has done it to me. It was me who left me out in the cold. It was me who didn’t show up for….me! THAT is the habit that many of us are stuck in without even realizing it.

The habit of not showing compassion or loving kindness to ourselves – always.

This penny finally dropped while I was musing on perhaps the cheesiest of self-care rallying cries, “Be your own best friend.” For a precious moment I was truly able to hear the thoughts my mind was spouting. I was separate from them and, most importantly, not judging them. And they were not friendly. They were not kind. They were not supportive. They were not encouraging. My mind – my ego - was hitting me hard!

And then it happened…. I interrupted the flow of my thoughts. This doesn’t feel great. Why would I say this to myself? And now that I know I’m doing this TO MYSELF, why wouldn’t I change my thoughts, change my mind? If I can’t be kind and supportive to myself, inside my own head, the very space where I have total control, then I must admit that I’ve learned precisely 100% of nothing!

Self-growth - plant in hands

And that, my friends, was my moment. I was alone but, as it turns out, I wasn’t lonely. I showed up for myself. I changed my mind. It’s such a beautiful and powerful kind of magic and my biggest hope is that you can experience it too, if you haven’t already.

More positive and powerful still, let’s keep doing it together. To experience peace in the world outside we must first create and practice peace on the inside. It turns out contentment, fulfilment, happiness – whatever you label it - IS an inside job!

How could I know this and yet not really know it? Damn it. I must be human!

If you’re interested to know where I’ve found inspiration over the years, below are a few of my favorite teachers and resources.

About the author

Before Kit became an IMEX employee in 2016, she was one of our PR consultants, so has been with us for 20 years.

Kit Watts

Communications Strategist