Back in March when the pandemic was just starting, like many in the event and festival industries, I suddenly found virtually all of my projects ground to a halt.
And while it was painful, confusing, and scary to deal with so much loss so quickly, after taking some time to process it all (mainly, staying in bed afraid to look at more cancellation emails & texts), I decided to finally use this newfound free time to focus on various goals I’ve only half-heartedly attempted before (and often used the “I’m too busy, gotta focus on the next gig” excuse to fully see them through).
I took this time to evaluate not only my professional and personal goals, but also my purpose, my values, and my boundaries. How would I want to emerge from this? How can I improve myself now in order to better serve others when we’re back – both my event teams as well as those in need? How can I best maintain an others-focused, grateful, compassionate mentality when everything around me seems to be falling apart?
First, I implemented daily habits of meditating, journaling, exercising, and improving my Spanish (Siempre quise hablar con fluidez!). Next, I picked up several different books (both new and ones that I admittedly started months ago) and I joined a book club with some colleagues (a good list of books to read can be found here). And in April, I started to research where I might be able to give back & help others – safely, with COVID measures in place.
Examples of some recommended books
And as a result, I’ve discovered some excellent ways to volunteer and help others – and some even have festival and event elements to them. I imagine variations of these are available in most cities around the country as well:
I can tell that participating in these important programs have helped me as much as I’ve helped others; it feels so good – and normal – to be useful, part of a team, and seeing the positive impact immediately. It’s done wonders to keep my mental health strong when it’s easy to get discouraged the longer this pandemic wears on. If you have the time and ability, I highly encourage you look into your local charities to see how you can help.
There may even be paid opportunities to help others impacted by the pandemic, such as the role I had helping distribute tens of thousands of hand sanitizer bottles through Tito’s throughout Texas this past summer or the polling work described above.
And once our industry bounces back, my goal will be to continue helping with non-profit organizations such as these – by more fully integrating these acts of service with my event & festival teams or by dedicating more of my energy and presence to these causes through more efficient scheduling and time management.
If you have any questions about volunteering for any of these organizations, or if you have other organizations you wish to highlight, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thank you for reading, and to close, here’s a quote that’s become my new mantra: