Event planning is one of the most stressful jobs. Still, anyone who’s ever attempted to plan and execute the perfect event has experienced event-related stress.
Stress comes in many shapes and forms, ranging from long-term or low-grade to acute stress, with each version feeling even worse than the previous. Stress is so detrimental to one’s health that the American Institute of Stress estimates that over 120 000 Americans die of it every year. And if you were wondering about the setting where stress is the most prevalent, it comes as no surprise. The Center for Disease Control/National Institute on Occupational Safety & Health states that the workplace is the main culprit of stress – who could’ve guessed?
When experiencing stress, the body responds by initiating a fight-or-flight response, increasing blood pressure, respiration, breathing tempo, and creating a heightened sense of anxiety and alertness. This response is very effective when avoiding dangerous situations like a bear-attack or a derailed train, but less so when having to multi-task several vendors simultaneously. Therefore, stress management is a crucial skill that one must develop, especially in the service and event industry.
The following information serves as a guide, with which you can try and hone your event-related stress management abilities and avoid conflict and burnouts more effectively:
1. Avoid Alcohol, Drugs, and Stimulants and Get a Good Night’s Sleep
First of all, try to avoid alcohol, drugs, and stimulants before and during the event.
- Consumption of substances like these decreases focus and alertness, resulting in forgetfulness or slowed mental performance.
- This goes hand-in-hand with a good night’s rest, as the latter would make you sluggish and irritable.
- By assuring you are well rested and fresh for the big day, you have already taken precautionary measures to avoid event-related stress.
2. Stick to Your Planning
- By breaking projects into small steps or objectives and completing them accordingly, you will systematically keep track of what has been done and what has to be done.
- If things go awry somewhere along the line, prioritize the most important tasks and attend to the lesser tasks later.
- It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, so try and keep your sense of humor. It will help you shrug off unnecessary thoughts and worries.
3. Communication is Key
Remember to talk to others; you’re not a lone wolf.
- By continuously communicating with team members, vendors, or colleagues, you can stay up to date and avoid mishaps.
- Recognize when you need more help, and ask for it.
- It’s much easier to share the workload and responsibilities, but just make sure to assign the right person for the job.
4. Take a Break
If you are feeling overwhelmed, take some time to breathe. This is important to avoid event-related stress. There is a big difference between being reactive and proactive. Take stock and start over.
Try and follow the 4 A’s of Stress Management: Avoid, Alter, Adapt & Accept.
- Avoid: Stick to your limits, whether personal or professional, and decide what is acceptable by taking control of the situation.
- Alter: Express your feelings, but be willing to compromise where absolutely needed. It’s all about balance.
- Adapt: Reevaluate the situation from a neutral perspective and look at the bigger picture. By doing this, you can adjust your standards and practice gratitude.
- Accept: Some things you simply cannot control, so don’t even try. Accept what has happened, try and look for positives and learn to forgive.
5. Slow Down
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you aren’t building it.
- Panic is a natural feeling to experience when things start moving, and it can become a lot sometimes.
- Instead, focus on the task at hand, complete it and move on.
- Small victories can act as a confidence boost while in the mix of things – so don’t be so hard on yourself!
6. Make Use of Others
People are generally inclined to help where they can, make use of them.
- This not only extends to your staff but also to associated vendors like the DJ or venue manager.
- These individuals can be used to manage smaller tasks and enable you to keep an eye on the important stuff.
7. Stay Hydrated and Remember to Eat
Food and water are fuel, and without them, you’re walking to the gas station. And when you’re “hangry,” you’re susceptible to event-related stress.
- Regularly drink water to stay hydrated and have a snack to keep the blood sugar levels constant.
- If you become physically fatigued, you are bound to hit a mental barrier at some point.
8. Positivity is Progress
Stay optimistic and excited about your event, no matter what the circumstances are.
- A positive attitude could mean the difference between a full-scale mental breakdown or a light-hearted chuckle, so chin up!
- Your mood, believe it or not, is infectious and can contribute to a team’s general performance and confidence.
9. Triple Checking
Be attentive to often-overlooked details. People will appreciate it more.
- When you’re happy with how your event is running and in regular communication with the various individuals in charge, you can ensure that the event will conclude smoothly.
10. Take Time to Enjoy What you made Possible
You’ve done it, now bask in it.
- Remember to enjoy what you have created and enabled. It might be someone else’s favorite memory.
- At the end of the day, no matter how hard or stressful, one should take the time to appreciate what has been achieved.
By practicing these ten points in combination with one another, you can not only avoid event-related stress but, better yet, be able to deal with it once it does arrive. Stress is an inevitable reaction that every single person has experienced, but when you know how to identify and deal with it, nothing will be able to shake your foundations.
Meet the author:
My name is Duan Nel, and I am currently occupied as a Publishing Honors student. I would say that humor is one of the most important aspects of being human. Without it, I’d probably be a Graham Cracker.
Robinson, L., 2021. Stress Management – HelpGuide.org. [online] HelpGuide.org. Available at: <https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm> [Accessed 19 March 2021].
SLMA. 2021. The Science of STRESS – SLMA. [online] Available at: <https://www.slma.cc/the-science-of-stress/> [Accessed 19 March 2021].