Mass meeting cancellations have wrought financial and personal havoc in the events industry. Just when we need the support of our peers the most, we are banned from coming together. Smart Meetings reached out to three emotional health experts for suggestion on the best way to support our teams until we can come together again. Jessica Pettit, author of the book Good Enough Now, Cynthia Scherer, CEO and certified executive coach and Dr. Romie Mushtaq, a neurologist and chief wellness officer at Evolution Hospitality and keynote speaker had

How can we support the mental health of event professionals?

The constant stress, back-and-forth and paranoia is enough to tire anyone out, said Pettit. She suggested starting by frankly assessing the situation. “None of us have been through something like this before and we are all doing the best we can with what we have. Your mental health is dependent on grace for yourself and that same grace will help others feel supported,” said Pettit.

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Cynthia Scherer stresses the importance of prioritizing mental and physical health. “Encourage yourself and your team to be open to finding perspective and enjoying new ways to get your work done in less time with less stress,” said Scherer.

What is the most important step to staying sane during quarantine?

In order to remain calm and keep a level head when confined to your home, Mushtaq suggested focusing on maintaining positive, consistent habits. Neglecting self-care is easier—and more dangerous—than ever.

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“Protect your sleep at all costs. When we sleep, it reinvigorates our physical health and it reduces our stress hormones,” Mushtaq said. She preaches the importance of maintaining a digital detox one hour before bedtime—no digital devices. “Limit the amount of time you’re on social media and watching the news,” she said.

Cynthia Scherer offered similar advice. “It is essential to allow yourself and others to feel all the feels (scared, happy, sad, angry, confused, enlightened) without judgement to keep your sanity and sense of humor intact during this time of uncertainty. Let the laughter and tears flow as both are healthy and amazing ways to relieve stress and anxiety!”

How can meeting professionals shifting toward a more positive outlook?

Pettit recommends structure. That doesn’t mean working all the time. Planning for moments of peace, tranquility, creativity and mindfulness will help banish burnout.

“The unknown is just that—unknown and can be countered by providing yourself structure where there seemingly is none to be found,” she said. She sets up office hours for three hours a day via Zoom where her fellow keynote friends join in. She follows the 20-minute Pomodoro approach with regular breaks for a round of applause. “I need structure to be productive, otherwise my anxiety gets triggered and I need people time during social isolation,” said Pettit.

What is the number one mistake people make when unexpected disruptions make their way into daily routines?

Every day, things change and disruptions are inevitable. No one is ever fully in control. However, it is possible to have power over yourself and what you’re feeling.

Scherer explained. “In the midst of crisis and chaos, it is common to become indecisive and begin to feel like you are running in circles. I invite you to look at your daily habits and ask yourself if they are causing you to evolve or revolve? Many people are working from home, so be open to exploring and finding new ways to live, lead and succeed so you can start getting the sustainable results you want and the fulfillment you deserve.”

Romie advocated for taking a moment to pause. “Often, we fail to recognize that we’re in trouble or not in control. When we’re vulnerable with ourselves that we’re in a difficult situation, then we know to reach out for help. When we don’t do that, we end up with our wheels spinning. Business mistakes, loss of temper or bad decisions are made. Control your mind and you will be able to control the situation,” said Romie.