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Stress Matters in the Tradeshow World

Is one of the industries with the most social interaction a lonely one?

by Paco Collazo

Another early morning heading to the airport, calls with the family, calls with the client and an endless list of tasks to do. That is how most of our days go by. We never stop; it is hard to find the balance. And in this rush, we do not even think about how we feel, and we don’t stop to analyze our mood; we do not pay attention to our mental health.

Let’s face it, even though the events industry has a lot of social interaction, sometimes it feels like the loneliest profession. And that is because mental health is something that is not on our radar. We assume it is not important, or we do not have time for that.

But the truth is it does matter, and it has a significant impact not only on our personal but in our professional life as well. That is why it is essential to start talking about it, to create a support network so we can feel free to share our feelings.

This is especially true during these times that have been so hard, not only for our industry but for the whole world, the times that we don’t understand, and the times in which we live, surrounded by uncertainty. We need to know it is okay to feel stressed or anxious. Still, there is no need to deny these feelings. It is vital to accept them and know how to process them, and for that, we need someone who can hear us and let us know we are not alone.

I met Laura from Stress Matters at the ESSA yearly gathering in the U.K. She gave a session about her platform, Buddies Matter, a free peer-to-peer support program created by her company for the meeting, events and exhibitions industry.

This initiative was designed to match you to someone with similar experiences and responsibilities who can become your “support buddy.” This is a way of bringing people from all our industry together. Your buddy is not likely to have any professional training in mental health or well-being support. Still, he or she may be someone like you who wants to know that someone has their back.

My company and I are very proud to support this program that has already started operations in the U.K. and is launching in the U.S. We want to encourage the creation of a safe environment and community for all the people of our industry. Because together, we are stronger.

It’s time for us to take care of us and our mental health; we all can help each other. Maybe this year’s lesson is to learn how and when to reach out.

Do you have an idea of an initiative to help our industry? I would like to know about it and chat with you. For more info about Stress Matters, visit www.stressmatters.org.uk

Paco Collazo is the owner & CEO of Atlanta-based Happy Projects, where their passion is “to collaborate with the planet’s top standbuilders, event production companies, agencies and brands to solve all your face-to-face marketing needs from concept to seamless execution.” He worked 13 years in the family business, ending as a sales and project director at SISTEXPO (Sistemas de Exposicion), a full-exhibit/event house based in Mexico. He is also on the EDPA Board of Directors. Contact him at paco@happyprojects.us.

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 19. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_july-august_2021

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