Janice Grant, Marketing & Event Planner
As much as I love my job, I still need to maintain some balance between work and non-work activities. Don’t get me wrong, being an event professional is absolutely awesome!
Event planning is fun for the most part but can become stressful at times. We’ve all been there, Murphy’s Law, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” I call this “inspired pressure.” This is where I normally roll out the plan A-Z and work them until it is resolved, often ignoring the stressful nature of this approach. Some may say “suck it up buttercup”, because it’s a part of the job. I agree, but I have come to realize that we must balance this stress in someway.
Before we can solve a problem, we must be able to pinpoint the source of the issue. Stress is a tricky one, as it manifests in different ways for everyone. Here are a few tell tale signs of stress. Your once perfect skin is now rough and pimpled. That bouncing energy is waning. In my case it seems to be intense panic attacks; the inability to breathe, inexplicable pain, pounding heart as if I just completed a marathon while sitting down. These were my wake up call signs. These forced me to stop ignoring my stress and start exploring ways to find balance. Below are a few ways that is helping me to stay balanced, relaxed and motivated.
As a work-a-holic and a perfectionist, it’s difficult for me to accept that I need to stop working sometimes. I am learning the hard way. Lately, I realized I am too stressed and my work, school and family life is beginning to suffer from it. It is time for a change! I am acknowledging that since I am working so hard, I need to take a break sometimes. After being yelled at and advice from concerned family and friends, I decided to take it easy. I have found things to do that make me happy. Now, I am actually able to think more clearly and work more effectively.
Take Deep Breaths
Whenever I am feeling stressed, I simply breath in and out for a few minutes at a time. After just a few minutes of deep breathing, I find it boosts my focus.
I am making sure I practice good sleeping habits. I will start setting limits to my work day so I do not suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.
Eating healthy and working out go hand in hand. Now more than ever, I am making sure I put good, healthy food and energy into my body each day. I took time to research and create meals that suits my taste and lifestyle. This does not mean kicking out all the fun food groups like chocolate, ice cream and don’t forget wine and cheese.
This is very important and doesn’t have to be strenuous. I start by doing some stretching and then a 20-minute walk in the mornings, then a long hot shower.
Take Time for Family and Friends
Family and friends are important! I find I am missing and or cancelling dinners and outings even though I make note of the dates. Spending time with loved ones is a great way to relax. Relax in the proverbial sense, picnics, family dinners, movie or drink nights, those are great ways.
Another great way is having that family member or friend who serves as my sounding board, my venting partner. Role description, this partner is not required to solve the issue at hand but rather to allow me to let loose the tirade that’s in my mind. This partner I get to say all the politically incorrect things I wanted to say to – that supplier that missed the deadline, that venue owner that made changes that totally throws the plan off, that co-worker that keeps dropping the ball at the worst time, or that guest “that is always right”, that can never be satisfied. But with this venting partner, I get to say exactly what’s on my mind…you should try it… (highly recommended).
The deeper I get into events, the more I realise that my hobbies tend to take a back seat. As much as I like to focus and work hard, I need to find ways to help me to take a break. Hobbies are gratifying. Whether it’s kayaking, zip lining, volleyball, listening to music or dancing, I need to get back into the habit of doing things which makes me happy. These were hobbies that I loved and or always wanted to try and I think there is no time like the present.
As event professionals, it is definitely true that stress will continue to play a role in our daily workflow. Therefore, it is even more important to be able to identify when: our stress levels are going too high, to take a break, to step back and find a way to establish balance. I have suggested a few ways of identifying and balancing stress, however, I am positive there are many other ways in which this can be done. I encourage you to research and explore and send me some suggestions as to your findings. As for me, I will increase the amount of long walks I take, dust off my favourite records, carve out more time to laugh with my family, friends and strangers but above all I will take more time for me, yes, a little bit of selfishness can also cure stress 🙂