Leadership / 10.27.22
12 Tips for Self-Care in Ticketing
Sometimes we just know that our minds and bodies need a break. This is something I have felt personally for a while now, so I booked a few random days off recently and made some weekend plans, too.
I did not go anywhere tropical or do anything that would make you stop and say, “Wow.” There were, however, some amazing benefits that came from doing just a few simple things for myself.
Among my plans, I went out for dinner with friends I have known for over 35 years but had not seen as a group since before the pandemic. A visit to a farmer’s market about an hour from my house gave me time to enjoy the outdoors, get some sunshine on my face and eat my favorite-in-the-world apple fritters. My family and I also recently used some hotel points to spend the night in a small town, where we went for Italian food, watched TV and just relaxed. The time away, albeit brief, was delightful.
On a recent Wednesday Wisdom call, Ashley Vorhees, Associate Vice President of Administrative Services for Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa) in Nebraska, asked a question on this exact topic. She wanted to know what her ticketing peers were doing for their mental health these days. It was a great topic to raise for discussion — and one that our editorial team immediately knew would be helpful as an article for the entire INTIX and ticketing community. Here are 12 tips to create some balance while taking care of yourself and your team, too.
- Eat nutritious (and delicious) foods. There are lots of yummy things you can eat that are good for you. Sure, it is nice to have treats once in a while, but your body won’t feel good if you are using food as a reward instead of fuel to energize you. What that means is different for everyone, but whether you like to cook every day or plan a week’s worth of meals in advance, ensure that you are eating well and getting a balanced diet.
As mentioned in an earlier article about healthy eating, “Canada’s Food Guide recommends variety, more plant-based foods and fewer highly processed foods. Try to fill half your plate with colorful fruit and veggies, choose whole grain foods over refined grains like white bread and pasta, and be sure to eat protein every day. It is also important to drink water.”
- Take a lunch break. These are wise words shared by Aren Murray, Operations Manager – US, for Tixly. Aren believes taking lunch is especially important if you are working a long day.
“You take lunch, you leave, you go away, you spend an hour away from [your desk or office]. It is so important to your mental health,” Aren says. “What is it going to do, add a couple more minutes to your day? You are actually going to work better when you come back because you have food in you, and you have had some rest. You will probably also solve problems while you are eating that you would not have solved otherwise.”
- Schedule time away. It can be a day, even a half day, a long weekend, a week or more. Whatever the length of time you take, you will be glad you did.
“Take the day off whenever you see an opening in your calendar,” Christy Grantham, Director of Ticketing at the Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College, says. “Even leaving early, arriving late or just taking a couple of hours away if you get the chance, can help.”
“I schedule a mental health day at least once a month,” Amy Botwright, Box Office & Patron Services, KU Presents!, says. “I do not always take them, but having them on the calendar makes a difference,” she says, adding that visiting the mountains of Virginia with no cell service for five days was an amazing refresh.
Colleen Moriarty, Ticket Office Manager at FARGODOME, agrees. “I go to the mountains in Montana [where there is] no cell service, internet and actually no running water. At least there was electricity! It is a true escape.”
“I have done this type of thing several times,” Susan O'Connor, Assistant Director of Audience Services at The College of New Jersey Center for the Arts, says. “It is amazing to not have the choice to give in and check on things — with no cell and no internet service available.”
Indeed, as INTIX Access covered in an earlier article, time off is the ticket to “life-work” balance, higher productivity and more.
“I am a big proponent of getting the heck out of Dodge so that no one can reach me,” Skypp Cabanas, Senior Manager of Ticket Operations for Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, says. “Every six months or so I need that decompression from stress. It helps me and keeps me going for the next six months, looking forward to that next getaway … Even if it is just for a long weekend, sitting at home and turning off everything so I can watch television shows … the whole thing is to find a way to get away from work.”
- Get a massage. Massage therapy may sound like a luxury, but it has health benefits too. It can help reduce pain, improve your sleep, relax your mind and body, and more.
Linda Forlini, who retired in May 2020 after a successful ticketing career spanning over a quarter century, recommends getting one monthly.
If you are short on time or looking for an alternative, Murray offers this advice: “When all I had was 30 minutes, I would go get my hair washed by someone who does scalp massage.”
“The Soothe App has certified massage therapists that come to your home or work,” Cabanas says.
- Put self-care in your calendar. “Schedule your self-care at home the way you would taking your kids to an important event,” Kay Burnham, who founded Perceiving Possibilities after spending 30 years working on the administrative side of the entertainment industry, says.
Grantham agrees, emphasizing that, “Your personal time is just as important as your kids' commitments.”
- Practice gratitude and mindfulness. Burnham also strongly recommends being mindful. It is beneficial in the workplace and in your personal life, helping to separate thought and reaction. But, like many things, it takes work and an ongoing commitment.
“You don’t go to school for four years, get a certificate and then you’re mindful,” Burnham told attendees at INTIX 2020. “You don’t train for a marathon and then never have to run again. You don’t pick up a violin and practice for years, and then never have to practice again. Mindfulness is a lifelong practice. It is also not a silver bullet. You can’t learn mindfulness and that’s it, you’re done. It is just one tool among many.”
- Meditate. This is a practice that can help change your mindset, as Burnham shared during a 2022 webinar for the INTIX community. It is something she does every morning and every night. With numerous apps available to help achieve the right ambience and keep you grounded firmly in the present, meditation is something that anyone can add to their daily wellness routine.
Anja Arvo, Pre-Sales Manager at Red61, recommends meditation too. “Try a 10-minute meditation once in a while,” she told her INTIX peers during Wednesday Wisdom. “There are lots of free videos [and] audio [recordings] online you can do on your phone or computer, wherever, whenever!”
- Get physical. Being physically fit is important to your overall health. It should not be overlooked when you are working on your emotional or mental health.
“Exercise helps me,” Tony DiCamillo, Vice President of Business Development for See Tickets – North America, says.
Any type of movement can be beneficial, whether it is running, yoga, a team sport, swimming or a walk with a friend during your lunch break. Pick something you enjoy and it will bring happiness in addition to an increased level of fitness.
“Me and some friends are doing a step challenge in November,” Marisa Estrada, Box Office Coordinator of Theatre Operations at Mesa Community College, says.
- Take a bath. It sounds so simple and obvious but soaking in a hot bath can be absolute and total luxury. Add some bubbles, and you really can’t go wrong.
“I highly recommend soaking in the bathtub with your iPad watching Netflix,” Tracy Noll, Director of Sales and Development Services at Pennsylvania State University, says. “The kids won’t come in and get you. Get an hour to yourself, just soaking in the tub.”
- Check in with — and do not forget about — your team. Teamwork makes the dream work. Without your wonderful colleagues around you, things would be a lot harder. That is just one reason why it is important to make sure you are always asking how others are doing. It can be hard at times, especially if you are going through a challenging time personally. Ultimately, helping others can bolster your own spirit and mood.
“You have to make sure you take care of everybody,” Forlini says.
“You are absolutely right,” Vorhees says in response to Forlini’s comment. “We just had that conversation with my team, about where everybody is at [these days]. I think the thing we recognize now is we are more willing to talk about it rather than just keep pressing on and … not recognizing when we need to take that break.”
“A technology company we work with, when they do their [Zoom] meetings, the first part of their meeting is everyone … shares an emoticon of how [they] are feeling at the moment,” Cabanas says. “Everybody looks through all those emoticons and sees how everybody is doing. That way they can proceed with the meeting being very respectful of how people are feeling … That may be something that we could all take a page from. [If we] try to start our meetings with how everybody is feeling and [we are] very honest, the meeting can be [even more] productive.”
- Get together with loved ones. One of the things that brings happiness to our hearts is time spent with those who we love. This may be friends, family, mentors or trusted ticketing industry colleagues. Go for a walk, grab a meal together, see a show or hop on Zoom. Whatever you do, sharing time with others is important to keep us laughing, keep us close and keep us connected.
- Commune with colleagues. This “bonus tip” is one that you won’t want to miss! The 44th Annual INTIX Conference and Exhibition takes place Jan. 23–26, 2023 in Seattle. Hundreds of your peers and industry experts will be on hand to share tips and best practices. Contributing to your personal and professional development and sharing ideas is a great way to disconnect from the day-to-day happenings at your ticket office or organization. We can’t wait to see you there!
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