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Be Kind to Your Mind During #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

Is it really all glitter and sparkles?

Party hats, cocktail glasses, and sequined gowns are a few things you will definitely find in our Chief Executive Officer’s house and around our office. To her, life is always a party. As many of you are well aware, Addie Graham-Kramer is always the life of the party! However, just like any celebration, there is always the possibility of a twisted turn of events. While we would love for life to always be filled with glitter and sparkles, it cannot always be that way. 

Have you ever had that voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t good enough – the voice of doubt that creeps in? I believe many of us have heard that thought before taking a big risk, especially if that risk is something that has been a big dream of ours for a long time. Though I cannot speak for Addie, I can only imagine as a young female entrepreneur how scary it would have been going to your employer saying that you were going to launch your dream event company! While most individuals would hope for a positive reaction, Addie received the opposite. The CEO of the company that Addie formerly worked for told her as she was leaving, “Good luck with your hobby!” Since Addie started her “hobby,” we’ve been a corporate company for nearly nine years. We now have a team of 16 #bosswomen who truly make an impact in our community and across the country every single day. We have had the opportunity to plan over 425 events in 19 different states across the United States – having partners that also span the globe, some of those being nonprofit events, where we have raised over $9.7M for organizations and individuals that need these funds the most.

Our team is so grateful that Addie took a leap of faith to start The Event Company, but to say that the words “good luck with your hobby” have not had an impact on Addie’s mental health from time to time would be a lie. Fiercely independent since the age of 12, Addie has been executing perfect events and parties for every friend, family member, and company you can probably name. You can imagine her shock when Addie started to realize that she was overwhelmed with her own mental health struggles. How could the woman with all the party hats, the gowns, the glitter have such strong feelings of depression? Addie had found herself spiraling during the pandemic, working 16-20 hours a day, with little time for self care or family. I’m sure this hits close to home for many of you. 

Addie knew she could not continue to live her life in that continuous down-spiral pattern, so she began to talk to a therapist. For someone who is used to solving problems on their own, asking for help and therapy was completely out of Addie’s comfort zone. After nights of tear-soaked pillowcases and days of forced smiles on Zoom, Addie knew she wanted more for herself, for her family, and for us, here at The Event Company. Two years later, Addie is still going to therapy and encourages each of us at The Event Company to take time for our mental health, even in our busy season. 

Tis’ the Busy Season? 

In every job, there tends to be a busy season. The busy season never seems to end in the event industry, peaking in the spring and fall months. Many people are shocked to find out that our company has grown over 250% in the past two years. You may be wondering how an event planning company grew so much, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our team found ways to be innovative in the virtual event space, working countless hours, day and night, truly putting our clients and our clients’ needs at the forefront. Through the development of innovative platforms, we found ourselves at the top of the industry, eventually training other event planning companies on how to successfully shift to the virtual world. To the outside world, our team was thriving throughout the pandemic, but many of our team members were struggling mentally, as many others around the world were as well. Many members of the team were feeling emotions like anxiety, depression, confusion, frustration, uncertainty, disconnection, and loss. These are just a few emotions so many people were feeling stuck at home behind our screens during the pandemic. Our team at The Event Company, the community of Sioux Falls, and the rest of the world were struggling.

While there seems to be less talk about the Covid-19 pandemic these days, the long-term effects of the pandemic are lingering in our communities today when it comes to our mental health. With the earnest longing of events to be in person again after nearly two years of virtual events, the event industry is booming once again. With this demand, the needs of our team have only grown. Industry expansion is always positive for our business, and we are always excited to connect with new clients. The unfortunate sides to fast-paced growth and busy seasons are that they oftentimes overshadow the need for taking care of our team member’s mental health.

Mental health is not a destination, but a process.

We love what we do, but some days are better than others. We strive to be the best version of ourselves and encourage each other to be so as well. As a team, we make an emphasis to prioritize each other’s health, whether that is spiritually, emotionally, physically, or mentally. Ways we prioritize our mental health in the workplace include:

  • office yoga classes as a team
  • meditation and exercising
  • team retreats
  • celebrate employees 
  • open-door communication policies
  • normalize mental health counseling and therapy 
  • reduce the stigma around mental health
  • health insurance opportunities
  • workplace includes quiet, inviting places 
  • weekly team check-ins

While we are not mental health experts, these are the top ten things we have implemented into our work life to create an atmosphere that is truly more kind to our minds. Mental health is not a destination, but a process, and we are working on implementing that process each and every day at The Event Company. If you or a loved one are in need of mental health resources, please use the following link.

Let’s be kind to our minds and support one another, 
Chesney Garnos
Strategic Communications Manager

If you enjoyed Addie’s narrative, check out  “Genuine Journeys of Life”, a compilation of different individuals’ paths here on this earth by our friend, Michael J Henriksen, and coauthor Cindy Lea Bahe.