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Stress Matters presents Once Upon A Pandemic

Once upon a pandemic: Cecilia Lavin

The seventeenth in a series by Stress Matters, who have been asking those across the events industry - how are you doing? 

Cecilia Lavin, head of  the EMEA sales team for One World rental and president of International Live Events Association (ILEA) UK, on the importance of taking a break.

I am so excited for Christmas break, it's been a tough year. I am lucky enough to be full time employed by an employer who has managed to survive this, but it has been emotionally and mentally draining, and I think people need that break now.

I think everyone just needs to pat themselves on the back and say, well done for this year! I've got through this, and just give yourself some rest. I think people don't give themselves that break, often enough. I feel like I can take that break over Christmas and sort of reset.

I'm an incredibly social person, and I live on my own, and then started working from home, and only being able to interact with people via Zoom, or Skype etc. That was really hard for me. That has to be the hardest thing is not having human interaction, because for me, that's incredibly difficult.

I think that then I started to realise, and had more appreciation for what I have. I have a job, I have a roof over my head and I have the family. Yes, I cannot see them, but they're there.

I said my one mission during this lockdown was to do everything I could do for the events industry, because I knew straight away was going to be one of the hardest hit industries out there, and we've never really been fully recognised by the government so this was going to hit us hard. So, through ILEA, and even my own team, my own business, I have to give it my all because I am very lucky for what I've got, and that's what I did. After the second lockdown, I realised I needed to give myself a bit of a break and focus on myself because for eight months I’ve non-stop been at it.

I have had mental health issues in the past and gone through depression so I know the importance of looking after yourself. I can honestly understand how difficult it must be for people who are not aware of those signs, and not having the right coping mechanisms can be dangerous.

I am very excited for 2021, and hopefully things return to some normality. We haven't been able to enjoy this year, particularly around events. I love to travel, and I haven't been able to do that this year, so fingers crossed, I can do that. Like right now, I still can't go for dinner with a friend which I would love to do. But on the other hand, I am anxious, because although there's a vaccine, that will take a while and it will go to the most vulnerable first.

Some advice I would give is just be kind enough to yourself. Not everyday is going to be the same. One day, everything is going to be absolutely fine and another, it's going to be the worst day ever, and that's okay.

One motto that I've always had in my head since I was younger was 'live everyday like it was your last'. In practice it is hard to implement, but don’t forget about it. Do the best you can and think about the impact you have on other people.

If you would like to share your story, please visit www.stressmatters.org.uk/pandemic-stories for more information.

Read other stories in the Once Upon A Pandemic series here.