• Selina Arnall

Avoid  Burnout:  Mindfulness for  Event  Managers

Updated: Aug 16

Event Management can be stressful, so stressful in fact it was named by Forbes as the 5th most stressful job in 2017.

Unique in its demands it is such a multifaceted role from ideas and delivery to deciphering client needs coupled with management of budgets and expectations and everything that comes in between, it is fair to say that the majority of those in the events industry have experienced at some stage a good ole dose of stress in their career.

A meticulous attention to detail

you will need to multitask better than my mum cooking Christmas dinner for a family of fifty, all with dietary requirements!

As an event manager myself for over twenty years, I have heard many a time to be an event planner you merely need to be organised, but it's more than that, you need to have a meticulous attention to detail, your workload will fluctuate more than my jean sizing between Winter and Summer, you will also need to multitask better than my mum cooking Christmas dinner for a family of fifty, all with dietary requirements!

The reality of the job is that often you’ll have numerous projects in varying stages of planning, design, and execution – all requiring different thought processes, different stakeholder expectations and they may be in different States or even Countries and the chances are high that they will all be happening simultaneously. Any event can have 10-100+ touchpoints, the deadlines are tight, the pressure is high and the hours can be long, the thought of stopping for a break or even to have a bite to eat sounds like a dream. Does this sound familiar? Do you remember your social life?

Deadlines are tight, the pressure is high and the hours are long

If the above sounds familiar I am sure you have heard of the term 'burn out' it is no stranger to those who work in the industry and I have personally been there a few times possibly more with the continuous mixture of long hours, inconsistent sleep, travel, client pressures and that overwhelming desire to deliver yet another exceptional event as well as the ebb and flow of adrenaline kicking in the fight-or-flight acute stress response takes its toll.

Some stress can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently, it can even boost memory and lead to acute focus, however, there is a large distinction between good stress and the kind that wipes you out - The longterm effect of bad stress on the mind, body, and soul are well documented to prevent more episodes of burn out and minimise the likelihood of bad stress in 2020 the below activities are easy to incorporate into your routine and hopefully create more work-life balance for many years to come.

1. Breathe In, Breathe Out

How about finding some time to breathe before you even leave your bed, before another day of savage negotiations and countless calls and emails, Jayne Morris Author of Burnout to Brilliance suggests meditating in the morning to “Focus your attention on your breath and take a series of 10 full, deep breaths,” she says. “Purposefully set a positive intention for the day ahead. “Next, take a shower or listen to some music, drink a cup of tea; whatever you do, do it with your mind present in the moment with the intention of setting the scene for the rest of your day.”

Taking 10 short minutes in the morning to clear your mind can help you become more happy and productive all day long.

2. Get Some Sleep!

Lack of sleep is sometimes an unavoidable attribute in events, but resting after an event is imperative. Event comedown is real, you will feel teary, exhausted and perhaps a little lost after an event concludes all very clear signs that you need to disconnect and reset yourself. Your next event is no doubt straight after but you need to take some time to get some sleep and recuperate, one of my favorite mindful experts is Chelsea Pottenger and her '6 ways to encourage healthy sleep habits' As a rule: for the number of days onsite running an event, you need the same amount of days to recuperate, do not compromise your health by ignoring your body’s need to rest.

3. Let it out. If you are frustrated, stressed, tired or feeling even perhaps a little out of control these emotions will not do anyone any good if they are sat burning inside of you - When you are in the midst of event burnout and you do not recognise the signs it may be the smallest mishap that turns into something really rather overwhelming – Talking enables us to release and taking a 5-minute break to express yourself will not make or break your event. You can show up, not be okay and still be a powerful legend, even legends sometimes just need to take a moment. Social media sensation Kat Johns in her Podcasts brings to the forefront that a true leader doesn't just preach about burnout but instead embodies it and applies the tools needed to shift the shit.

4. Think about The Bigger Picture!!

The small things can seem like HUGE things when you are focusing on delivering yet another 10/10 event, the red roses are not all the same red you wanted, the smoked salmon blinis are all different shapes of round, the guests are running late due to a traffic accident, all these tiny things can turn you into a highly-strung mess if you let them, incapable of making smart decisions, take a massive step back and think about the bigger picture - To put things into perspective will you remember this moment next week? Or even the week after? Will this small mishap be the thing that the client remembers? Will this make the entire event a disaster? Will the guests be impacted, or will they remember having a fabulous time...

5. Get out and Walk

In the weeks leading up to an event, you will often be working longer hours as the last-minute changes and additions just keep rolling in, these changes may cause an impact on how the event is delivered, affect costings, styling and so on... You will find yourself attached to every Apple product you own during this critical time and this is a sure-fire way to make you feel low and depleted of energy. This is the perfect time to get up and move!!

Exercise and fresh air increases endorphins and this is a great way to manage stress. Go for a wander, walk and talk, exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you are tired but will result in an overall energy and mood boost.

As Event Managers, there is no doubt We all love what we do, however, adrenaline and caffeine can only sustain you for so long, and that is probably too long - To keep your mind, body and spirit health in-check for the long-term you have to explore ways to maintain your mental and physical health.

If you have any questions about burn-out or managing stress within the Wonderful World of Events please do leave your comments below.

Selina x