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Stress Matters presents Once Upon A Pandemic

Once upon a pandemic: Dan Bearpark

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

Dan Bearpark of Prestige Events on how to find employment during the pandemic.

I've been in the events industry for 20 years. For the last nine months I’ve just been trying to keep busy, and to be honest over the summer it was 18 hour days for four months. But, I prefer to be like that than quiet.

My wife is in the hospitality industry, so it has been stressful for both of us. The government said that we can now get back to doing events, but now because of the tiering system we aren’t sure where that leaves us. However, I’ve been fortunate enough to still have some interaction. We've been offering everybody free press releases on our website and things like that just to try and help a little bit.

I’m so used to planning ahead, sometimes a year in advance, so it’s challenging to know things I plan might get cancelled. It’s just that we are so used to knowing what we are doing, we are planners and deadlines moving is stressful. But on the other side, when there is nothing to plan that stresses us out more.

At the start of lockdown, I did a bit of gardening and I managed to grow what I thought was an aubergine plant. I got it to about six foot high, and was really proud of it. Then, just after lockdown, a friend of mine came over and said ‘Oh, by the way, that's a toxic weed you might want to get rid of that’. That’s when I realised I’m terrible at gardening!

I guess what I’ve learnt about myself during this year is that actually I don’t want a break. Usually, when you’re working (pre-Covid), you look forward to having that break, but I don’t want it in a weird way. My break now is just taking my dog for a walk near the Bristol downs. That kind of ties into my self care, it’s making sure I make the time to go outside and go for walks.

My highlight this year was the first weekend after the first lockdown. I met a friend on this huge green, and we got a takeaway from the pub. There were about 1,000 people on this green, all socially distanced and it was odd but it was nice to see other people and be outside. In this second lockdown, I haven’t had a drink. I think in the first lockdown, with the lovely weather and the garden it was just so tempting to open a bottle of rose, but now I’m trying to be more healthy. The way I see this lockdown is, it’s only a month. Just one month, and then I can cheat for Christmas!

There have been a lot of lows in the last few months but the main one being that I was not able to see my family, particularly my stepson because he lives in California. He’s coming over Christmas (hopefully) which we are all looking forward to, but my wife has been upset about it, and seeing that impact on her wasn’t nice at all. Another low was seeing what was happening to so many people’s jobs. I’m quite active on LinkedIn, and seeing all those green logos come up was horrible and I’m just hoping that I can get back to normality soon.

Some advice I would give is that take a breath to start off with, or try meditation even for 10 minutes. Someone said to me, when you’re lying in bed one night, just for five minutes try to think of nothing and you weirdly feel like you’re relieving stress. Even if you’re looking for a job right now, make sure you take time for yourself during the day even if it’s having a cupcake. Don’t punish yourself, it is not your fault. It is hard but things will change. Treat it as a job, to get a job.

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