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Wedding Industry Mental Health – Overwhelm + Depression + Anxiety

Wedding Industry Mental Health - Overwhelm, Depression and Anxiety

Did you know that the cause of a great deal of anxiety – the root cause of depression, is actually triggered by overwhelm?

And guess what!?! As Wedding Professionals and Creatives we’re absolutely primed to be overwhelmed… and often!

This entire process is actually a sequence of chemical responses in our brains which starts small, like a warning sign, then builds up to a serious warning sign, finally manifesting in the symptoms of full blown depression like shutting down, closing off, losing emotional sensitivity and “black hole thinking”.

So let’s break it down a little to see if we can better understand what lies at the root, and explore whether there is anything we can actively do to stave off darker moods and life disrupting feelings of inadequacy and displacement.

Life is never smooth.

Or at least, it might be smooth for a period of time, but then something will always come along to rock the boat. It’s inevitable, because as human beings, we care about things. Admittedly, sometimes we’re prone to only caring for ourselves, and that’s fine, we’re wired that way. But sooner or later, something or someone you care about is going to go through a rough patch, and you’re there caught in the middle.

On occasion, that person is you!

Add on a few additional pressures – you’re not sleeping well, you’re tired, your nutrition is slipping because you’re tired, you’re snacking, drinking coffee and sugar drinks to keep you pepped up and running high, your car develops a problem, your child gets sick, you get a bit sick, you fall and hurt your leg, it’s harder to clean the house and then your best friend needs you whilst you’re racing to nursery to pick up your sick child…

LIFE!

It’s hard! And juggling all those maddening and unpredictable life events can be more nerve wracking than you actually realise…

Especially when you’re in the throes of giving everything you’ve got to your creative endeavours!!

If you’re anything like me, then creating your art takes pretty much everything you have, and you need to re-charge in-between creative bursts… but you can’t! Because you also have a life going on in the background.

And that’s how overwhelm creeps up on you without you even realising it.

You may even be layering on additional pressures from your perfectionism, OCD, creative obsessions or goal setting and ambitious drive.

It’s a cocktail for stress and overwhelm! Queue the first stage of a depressive episode.

So it becomes ever so vital to recognise what’s happening, acknowledge it, and keep seeing the bigger picture. Life is an adventure, it does have it’s ups and downs, and that is what makes it so worth the effort! No light without dark, no up without down etc.

At the same time as keeping one eye on what really matters in your life, it’s also important to break everything down into smaller chunks. This helps with releasing some of the build up of pressure from overwhelm. Plus, it’s a scientific fact that our brains release endorphins when we complete simple tasks!

So it’s as much about maintaining perspective and world view, as simply knocking one task on the head at a time, and taking the time to acknowledge to yourself that you HAVE just accomplished something, however small!

But we’re only human! We are fallible and we are prone to making mistakes. So what if we miss those early warning signs or lack experience in controlling that inner reward monologue?

Well then we’re likely to be experiencing anxiety! The build up of overwhelm has now become anxiety. Anxiety is the manifestation of feelings of inadequacy or inability to cope with tasks. If allowed to develop further, these feelings of anxiety can literally shut our bodies down into a protective state and this often manifests as depression.

Again, we have an opportunity here to tackle the anxiety head on, to see if we can persuade ourselves not to experience the full blown depression. It’s not easy, but it is possible.

If anxiety is a feeling of not being able to cope with the tasks ahead, it’s time to start culling tasks that are not critical in the moment. This reduces the overhead for you and allows you to start considering tackling some of the more important, but potentially smaller tasks, and begin making some progress again. Back to the endorphins I mentioned earlier, get a few of those released in your brain and you have a fighting chance of not going into a full blown depression.

Anyone who has experienced this before will agree that even day to day things like brushing your teeth, getting dressed or eating breakfast can seem too much to bear. So just choose one, take your time and focus on that one simple task. Once completed, maybe you feel OK to do the next one and so on. It’s all about giving yourself the space and the time to just get something, anything, done, one task at a time!

Those feelings of anxiety will make even the simplest of tasks seem insurmountable, and it makes sense! It’s our bodies natural defence mechanism to deter us from taking any risks. It’s essentially preservation mode. Having already sent us the warning signs in the form of overwhelm, our brains are now stepping up to intervene. If we don’t control it, it will shut us down!

Of course, we still don’t fully understand depression and the spectrum of reasons why creative people are so prone to suffer from it. Everyone is different and it’s hard to see the world through the eyes of another. But we continue to try! Because one single lightbulb moment in one single human being is a victory. If the problem at hand seems overwhelming, then we simply have to start small!

Find out more about our philanthropic work with Wedding Industry Mental Health, get support or become an advocate here:

and let’s build a stronger Wedding Industry together!

#weddingindustrymentalhealth

Wedding Industry Mental Health - Marshall Rosenberg PhD - What's Alive In You

I recently finished listening to an audio book by Marshall Rosenberg PhD entitled “Non Violent Communication”, and it struck a massive chord with me.

Marshall discusses two life altering points of view which I believe are the building blocks of self discovery and creative expression.

So for us, as Creatives, they’re pretty exciting and important!

The first is the concept of your “contribution to life”.

There is simply no act of creation that is selfless, because we call on our inner most feelings and experiences in order to create. Whether that’s in photography, in writing, in painting, in designing, in writing music, in planning and execution. It’s all part of an imagined set of outcomes which we seek to manifest into reality, for our clients.

The normal, and perfectly acceptable means of assessing the success of this act of creation is to judge the response and the subsequent benefit this has to our lives – getting paid, getting referred, pleasing the client.

But how about this?

What if you asked of everything you do “what is my contribution to life?”.

As a species, as a planet, we’re all here with amazing gifts and potential to do good – from funding multi million dollar charitable foundations to helping someone carry a bucket of water. Kindness is free. Every act of kindness contributes in some way, to life…

To life on our planet, to the ongoing pursuit of “happy lives”, to finding balance and harmony with all living things and so on.

So once you start to consider your “contribution to life” you start to see your actions in a slightly different light.

Did you suddenly find a way to reduce waste in your Business?

Did you realise that there is long reaching impact in what you do and it affects generations to come?

Did you stop to consider what your creative endeavours do for the industry and how this empowers others to create and share their passions with the world?

It’s a bit like the butterfly effect in the sense that everything you do will cause ripples in the world. If you target your actions towards contributing to life, you are already doing more good than you thought possible!

Secondly, Marshall poses the question “what’s alive in you?”.

He proposes that instead of asking someone “hey, how’s it going?” – you might change this to “what’s alive in you?”.

This channels the other person’s thoughts towards what is really in their heart – be it good or bad, it’s OK to share and be open. So whilst the response to “hey, how’s it going?” might be “yeah, good, you?”, the response to “what’s alive in you?”, might prompt much deeper connection with the other person and actually lead to a meaningful conversation!

Plus, I think this works introspectively too! Ask yourself every morning – “what’s alive in me?” – this will really inform you about your inner most thoughts and feelings – it will give you focus, and I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that you’ll probably be more productive if you have your “why” for that day! 

The “why” might just surprise you, it does for me… every single time!

Interested in learning more?

and let’s build a stronger Wedding Industry together!

#weddingindustrymentalhealth

Wedding Industry Mental Health - Imposter Syndrome Redux - Humility

Matthew Roberts – Digital Marketer & Wedding Videographer recently commented positively on a Wedding Industry Mental Health post about Imposter Syndrome, and I felt it was important to cover some of this ground again, from a fresh perspective.

Mental health is such a nuanced topic and I do like to be ever present of the fact that people are so unique, have different points of view and see the world completely differently.

To quote a favourite band of mine, KMFDM, “Diversity is human strength!”.

Matthew proposed the idea that Imposter Syndrome can be a positive experience in the sense that it challenges us to remain humble.

It’s certainly an interesting angle and I wanted to dig into this idea of humility and how this affects our creative work.

I fall into the category of liking praise for my work. It validates my creative process and enables me to mentally sign off on the work and move on.

Remember the famous quote” great art is never finished, merely abandoned” – attributed to several authors, so I won’t quote verbatim.

I have however met many Creatives who dread praise and actively seek to avoid it at all costs. For them, having opinion tied to the work makes it impossible to release. 

Considering those two polarising points of view, just how interesting is that!?!

Too often in life we only see the world through our own lens, because it’s our default. We don’t stop to consider how others may react or feel or act. And those reactions, feelings and subsequent actions can be wildly different from our own. At times, unrecognisable as appropriate reactions for us to have ourselves!

So to an extent, it’s important to remain focused on the fact that not everyone will respond to you in the same way. At times, responses may seem downright aggressive, defensive or confrontational. It’s paramount to always be considering other people, and giving them autonomy to be themselves. Having humility is certainly tied to being able to accept others in this way. And through the acceptance of others, and their unique points of view, we may just discover a better way to be, or a truth we didn’t see, possibly even a whole new way to view our work.

Oxford Languages defined humility as this…

“the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.

“he needs the humility to accept that their way may be better””

Christopher Hall from the band “Stabbing Westward” famously told an interviewer that he once corrected a fan for explaining what the lyrics of a song meant to him. Chris later realised that art can be interpreted in many different ways and having the experience of creative work is owned by the person having the experience!

And so it is of your creative work too. Remember that satisfaction should not come from the reactions of others. They own their own experience of your work themselves, and may choose not to acknowledge it.

True humility is accepting your own accomplishments, pursuing your goals and dreams and staying true to the act of your creation doing good in the world.

Find out more about our philanthropic work with Wedding Industry Mental Health, get support or become an advocate here:

and let’s build a stronger Wedding Industry together!

#weddingindustrymentalhealth

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