by Loren G. Edelstein | December 01, 2017
Post-project depression is quite real for meeting and event professionals, as revealed in M&C's recent survey. In addition to answering multiple-choice questions about this troubling issue, many respondents provided additional comments about how they feel when returning to work - or home.

How do you feel about going back to work?

• I take a minimum of three days off immediately after the event to de-stress and come back to earth to get grounded.

• A bit of everything - it's fun and different to be off-site, and there is a lot of work waiting for me back at the office, but at the same time it's nice to get back to my regular routine.

• Overwhelmed knowing I am way behind going in. I've put so much on hold, and there will be long hours of catch up. Boo!!!!

• I come back in high action mode and get a lot accomplished but then fall into exhaustion about two weeks later.

• It's nice to go back to a routine, but I miss the excitement of travel and seeing my company's employees in different cities. Our annual "Summits" are always like a class reunion that I get to plan and participate in. I've been with the company for 19 years, and there are a lot of other "long-timers." It's a blast to get together and catch up on our work and personal lives.

• It's a mix. It's a lot of work and time leading up to the execution of an event, with high adrenaline. Then returning to the grind is somewhat of a relief due to "normal" hours, but I miss the rush.

• I'm really tired and have trouble concentrating.

• I have a short break and then continue with planning for the next year's convention.

• I'm excited to get back to routine work and clean up, but sometimes I  dread having to be creative again for a new event.

• Two answers: Neutral; it is what it is, but I would prefer not to have to work at all or work somewhere where your efforts - and the fact that you made the "powers that be" look good - are appreciated.

• It depends on if I get to have a break or not. There is a definite level of burnout, and I need a break to refocus.

• It depends what I have coming up next, i.e., if I can channel my energy and creativity into an upcoming project that I'm passionate about.

• No such thing as a usual work routine, but after some downtime, I am happy to take on a new project and stay busy.

• I need a couple of days to regroup.



What do you look forward to about going home?

• Visiting a restorative vacation spot

• Getting quality sleep

• Being alone for a little while. I turn off my phone and generally stay off social media for at least a day, if not more.

• Having my own bed and shower and seeing my loved ones, including my dog

• Sleeping in my own bed, with my own pillows!

• Quiet and solitude

• The next task on my plate - whatever it is!

• Relaxing and just being home

• Two answers: having a pajama day, and having my dog by my side

• Another glass of wine and to bed

• Letting my body heal. Events take a physical toll on me, and it takes one to two days of rest (beyond sleep) for my body to recover.

• Unscheduled time and long walks

• Having a drink and watching brainless TV

• Knowing I don't have to check my email or expect work calls at home

• Taking time to just "be" - no deadlines, no commitments and nobody needing me every moment



What bothers you about going home?


• Getting caught up on work, family, home, life

• Hard to get refocused on work

• Have to catch up on all of the emails and other work tasks

• It takes a few weeks for me to mentally resume normal life. I wake up in a flurry trying to figure out what I need to take care of and what meals/breakfasts I need to check on.

• I have a long commute to work. I leave the house at 6:30 a.m. and sit down in my office at 8:15 a.m. I miss being on-site, where it's only a short elevator ride down to my "work" space.

• Returning home exhausted and wanting to unplug, needing to catch up on rest but not wanting to neglect my family. The reality is that the weeks leading up to an event are paved with endless hours in the office followed by the event itself, which means several weeks of not engaging with your family, so the last thing you need to do is unplug and rest.

• Reviewing bills and convention-evaluation forms

• Laundry

• Meal planning (if all meals are provided at the meeting!)

• Nothing. I prefer the domestic routine.

• Unpacking

• Regular/routine work has backed up on my desk, plus post-event follow-up is huge.

• The crush of backlogged work is daunting.

• Closing out an event, i.e., finalizing payments, catching up with other work

• I usually catch a cold after big events.

• I miss being on the road!

• Just getting back into a routine

• Since I've been in charge of the trade show on-site, I get used to the fact that things I ask to have done will get done. I assume things I ask people at home to do will get done in a timely manner...My husband and kids usually say something like "you're not at your convention/trade show anymore, stop bossing us around so much."

• It is more about getting back in a groove, you have just gone through an intense couple of months. I call them "event hangovers." You finally realize after a couple of weeks back that you are feeling normal again. It brings an understanding of what the stress really takes out of you when you look back.

• I typically gain weight from being fed such great food at hotels! Sometimes that is combated with the amount of running around I do at larger shows, but not so much for my smaller "easy" shows.

• The quiet

What do you look forward to upon returning to work?

• Beginning planning of the next event

• I would look forward to celebrating the event more, but we spend little time on my team doing so.

• Tying up all the loose ends of the event, like sending out an evaluation and receiving the results (with the good, bad and the ugly), paying the invoices, doing a project debrief, etc.

• Money

• Following up on new opportunities

• Getting a normal work schedule back!



What bothers you about returning to work?

• The half-billion emails accumulated for the next project on the pipeline • I'm usually exhausted.

• I'm tired and have a hard time playing catch-up with diminished energy.

• Other than wanting time off, I don't have issues about returning.

• The hotel or conference center bills that don't come in for a month or so - and they are never correct. I end up spending about a week going through them and building a spreadsheet to show all the errors.

• Starting all over again and climbing that mountain. Lack of appreciation and understanding how "heavy of a lift" it is planning a major convention

• Immediate pressure from management to shift gears and be caught up

• Fellow employees seem to think that when the meetings team is at a conference, we are on vacation. They are sometimes resentful ("you got to go to Southern California"), when all that we did while we were there was see the airport and the hotel and got up at 5 a.m. and didn't go to sleep until midnight, while we worked our brains out.

• Meetings

• Normal duties get put on the back burner leading up to event, so there's always a lot of catching up.

• Knowing I'll be getting all the "constructive'"criticism about the show

• My boss, harping on anything and everything that went wrong and making it my fault, and taking credit for all that went well

• While wrapping up event tasks, financials and communications, others are expecting me to move on to future projects immediately, forgetting these important post-event details.

• Post-event billing! It's tedious, and I don't like sitting at my desk again all day long.

• Diving into next project with no time to address the mess, unpack, adequately review and address post-convention notes

• Re-entry is tough - there's never enough time to re-group and start fresh.

• I always have a backlog of tasks from OTHER events that need to be addressed immediately. There is no break or downtime, and not much opportunity to celebrate what went well; it's already on to the next thing (or 50 things).

• I don't get as behind on tasks as I used to due to technology. People in the events business understand when you are at an event and appreciate quick responses to e-mails. Every one is pretty patient unless I am at a series of events, which is rare but does happen from time to time..

• I dread going back to work when the invoices from the event start coming in and upper management wants answers on every penny spent...and to reduce budgets for the following year!



How do you feel after a major event?

• More melancholy than anything

• For the first time this past year I felt differently than the past years, as our leadership changed and so did the support I had, so there was a real letdown upon return.

• Burned out, unmotivated and in need of a vacation

• A little depressed as the adrenaline rush is no longer present

• Physically and mentally exhausted; I need to regroup, rest and recharge the batteries.

• I often catch a cold or lose my voice because I am so run down.

• Just really tired, and I have trouble getting back to diet and exercise programs

• I always seem to get a respiratory infection after a meeting, so that makes me feel even worse.

• Often a desire to curl up at home and binge on silly movies and comfort food.

• It varies, depending on my level of passion for the particular event and the clients and vendors I'm working with. With some, I experience what I refer to as "post-party depression." With others, it's much less intense. Sometimes, with difficult projects or clients, it can be a bit of a relief. There are so many variables.

• It's less depression and more lack of motivation - a need to decompress for a while

• We use the term "meeting meltdown." There is a certain point just after an event concludes when all of the emotions come pouring out. It's usually triggered by something small (even a cheesy commercial can do it), and the tears just start flowing.

How do you avoid or cope with post-meeting depression?

• I get caught up as soon as possible. All the tasks that need to be completed and unanswered emails weigh heavy on me!

• Relax and do absolutely nothing for a day or two. Then start cleaning house, emptying suitcase and doing laundry

• I would take a day off or vacation if I could. That is the problem. No break anymore. It's right on to the next item or meeting or event.

• Meditation

• I spend a lot of time with my husband. I always tell people, "I love to travel, but the best trip is always the trip home." By the end of a vacation, a long-distance meeting, etc., I'm ready to go home and get back to my routine.

• I try to take a day off to rest and then just push through, take one day at a time and try to focus on one task at a time.

• I don't have a good avoidance/coping mechanism.

• Get some sun!

• I have to make myself go outside or go to the store, otherwise I become a hermit and refuse to go out to talk or interact with anyone.

• I'm not really that upset after a meeting. I feel accomplished and I'm ready to tackle the next thing. Maybe if you only work on one event per year there's a letdown factor, but when you produce 12 to 15 events per year, ain't nobody got time for that!