Tight budgets… supplier unreliability… 50-page-long RFPs and staff cuts. These are just some of the things event planners deal with on a daily basis. And that’s not even taking into account the two+ years of lockdowns with Covid or the world plunging into a recession and war. Event planning has always been a stressful job, even in the best of times, but things have really gotten out of hand.
According to a PCMA poll of 399 planners and 181 suppliers, one-third of respondents said they were feeling anxious and burned out. This was mostly due to an improper work/life balance. Can you relate?
Symptoms of Burnout
Some of the unmistakable symptoms of burnout are:
- Chronic exhaustion
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty concentrating
Burnout can become so severe that it impacts your job performance and interpersonal relationships. Sadly, many event planners try to hide their symptoms because they find it hard to admit they are struggling.
By far the best “cure” for burnout is prevention. With this in mind, here are:
7 Ways Event Planners Can Avoid Burnout in the New Year
- Pay Attention
I just listed some of the most common symptoms of burnout. It’s important to pay attention to how you are feeling. Don’t try to hide the truth from yourself. Take note if and when any of these symptoms arise.
- Understand the Resources Available to You
With so many employees experiencing burnout, many organizations are offering counseling and other mental health tools to their staff. Check with your HR department to see what kind of help might be available. Sometimes just speaking with someone can alleviate much of the stress and pressure you feel.
Some organizations have also begun to offer wellness programs that may combine a mixture of yoga classes, personal health coaching, meditation sessions and massage. Take advantage of any and all programs offered by your company.
- Take Plenty of Breaks
Be sure to take five-minute breaks throughout the day. Get up and move your body. Walks are great for clearing the mind, stretching stiff legs and getting the blood flowing. If you are feeling particularly stressed, be sure to focus on your breathing during these breaks, taking slow, deep breaths. This can instantly calm you and take you out of “fight or flight” mode.
We’ve all been there. It’s nine o’clock at night and you decide you should check work emails. What if your client has a question for you? What if a supplier emailed you earlier? What if, what if, what if?
None of us are superhumans and we shouldn’t even attempt to be. Sure, sometimes there are fires that need to be put out after hours. This is usually true on set-up days. For the most part, it is up to us to create healthy boundaries that say, “This is when I work and when I am available and this is when I don’t work and am NOT available.”
- Stay Organized
Be sure to make those to-do lists and take advantage of the many productivity tools on the market. This will help you have plenty of time and energy to complete tasks without getting blindsided.
- Make Time for Outside Interests
It’s really important to make time in your weekly schedule for those things that bring you great pleasure. Whether it’s playing a game of pickleball, touring a new museum in a nearby city, or taking a cooking class, immersing yourself in happy moments gives your brain a break from thinking about work!
- Practice Self-Care
When you fly with small children, you are told should there be a pressure problem in the cabin and the oxygen masks are released, to put yours on first and THEN help your children. If you don’t put your mask on first, you may pass out and then you won’t be much help to anyone.
The same is true in regular life. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll get burned out, and then you won’t be much of a help to anyone else. You must make self-care a priority in the new year. This means eating right, getting regular exercise and plenty of quality sleep.
No one really knows what the new year will bring. What new challenges will event planners face? Will inflation worsen? Will there be more wars? What about supply chain breakdowns? None of us have these answers, and even if we did, none of us can control what happens out there in the “big, bad world.” All we can do is take care of ourselves and each other the best we can.
We’d love to help you de-stress by taking some responsibilities off your plate. Let us handle logistics and contracts so you can focus on only what your bandwidth can handle.
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