10 Jul Tips to Manage Stress – Before, During, and After an Event
As event planners, we have one of the greatest jobs in the world.
It’s exciting to plan and orchestrate events for a variety of clients, with different needs and objectives. But it can also be stressful due to all the necessary elements, moving pieces, and attention to detail that is needed to guarantee a successful event. In fact, event planning made CareerCast’s list of most stressful jobs based on factors such as travel, physical demands, deadlines, and working in the public eye.
Whether it’s changes at a venue, a last-minute request from a client, a flight delay that threatens to upend plans, or a newly imposed budget restriction, any number of things can add stress to event planning. Learning to manage the stress that is a part of our jobs is crucial to the outcome of any event.
How to Manage and Reduce Stress
BEFORE THE EVENT
1. Use Checklists
Planning is key to a successful event. As part of your planning process, create checklists to track everything from expenses to travel to post-event follow-up. Having checklists can help keep you organized when things get particularly chaotic.
Need some help? Our corporate event planning checklist is a great starting point.
2. Have a Pre-Event Logistics Meeting
A week before the event, pull together members of your team and do a “walkthrough” to ensure that the details are covered and everyone knows their responsibilities, including who will be the go-to decision-maker on-site.
3. Set Boundaries—and Stick with Them
As event planners, we want to be available whenever a client has a need. But calling you at 1:00 AM just to recheck the breakfast headcount is stretching it. Whenever possible, set “office hours” with clients—and staff. With boundaries in place, it will be easier to get a good night’s sleep before an event.
4. Get Some Sleep
Extra caffeine or planning to catch up once the event is over cannot replace adequate sleep. Sleep regenerates your body and your brain, which is why we’re so cranky and make mistakes when we’re sleep deprived. While it’s tempting to stay up late to check and recheck every detail, you can’t do your best work if you are not well rested.
Developing a habit of meditation is a great way to reduce stress. Whether you employ the mantra technique of repeating a calming word or phrase, or visualizing relaxing places by drawing on the senses, meditation can help reduce your levels of stress.
Another useful meditation technique, mindfulness based stress reduction, focuses on your breath to make you more aware of the present moment. Mindfulness meditation does more than simply lower anxiety and stress. It actually changes the structure of the brain, helping to improve learning and memory while regulating emotion and feelings of self-doubt.
DURING THE EVENT
1. Just Breathe
When things are getting a little chaotic, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Deep breathing has a natural calming effect because it slows your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure. Sounds simple, but this is one of our favorite stress reduction techniques.
2. Don’t Forget to Eat
It’s easy to forget to eat when you are running around like crazy during an event. But skipping meals will only add to your stress.
Eat protein- and nutrient-rich foods and drink plenty of water—always—to help you stay on your game.
3. Take in Some Sunshine
There’s a reason why people feel better after a day at the beach—they’re getting a healthy dose of sunshine. Sunshine boosts serotonin, one of the feel-good hormones your body produces. It also raises vitamin D levels, which can improve mood and keep depression at bay.
When you feel yourself a little overwhelmed, step outside for a few moments and get a dose of happy from the sun.
4. Stay Calm
Regardless of what happens with the event, don’t panic. Even if a small detail doesn’t quite go as planned, chances are, attendees won’t even notice. And when big problems arise, remember that getting upset will only make things worse. Keeping your cool will help solve any problem.
5. Put Yourself in their Shoes
In the midst of managing people, places, and particulars of an event, it’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to make everything go according to plan. But sometimes, clients have other ideas on how their event should be.
When plans start to go awry, try to look at the situation from the other person’s perspective.
- How does the situation truly impact them?
- What do they truly need to be satisfied?
AFTER THE EVENT
1. Take in the Sights
How often have you flown out to an event, worked the event, and then have flown back home without ever taking in the local sights?
Schedule some time to enjoy the sights that you’re promoting to event attendees.
While it’s important to catch up on emails and return phone calls after a big event, as soon as follow-up details are handled, take a moment to decompress before launching into the next event.
Put down the smartphone and read a book (instead of the trades), take in a museum, or treat yourself to a movie. By giving your mind a brief break, you’ll actually think more clearly when you’re back up and running.
3. Stop and Smell the Roses
Flowers and other pleasing scents can actually have a calming effect. A study of patients in the intensive care unit found that aromatherapy helped lower stress and improve the quality of sleep.
Whether it’s soaking in a lavender bath or taking a walk through the woods to enjoy the smell of pine and cedar, the scents of nature can soothe away stress between events.
Consider managing stress a part of your job description.
An event planning professional that is anxious, irritable, or unable to focus because of overwhelming triggers is not healthy or productive. By taking the above steps to reduce and eliminate stress, you’ll be better equipped to handle anything that is thrown your way!