Choosing a career in the event industry is not for the faint of heart. Let’s face it: event planning is stressful. The last-minute changes, demands from clients, and mounting urgency of a quickly approaching event can make it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
As a new mother, I’m right there with you, and need just as much help developing a healthy work-life balance. In my experiences working in events, I’ve found the following to be helpful ways to care for my mental health amid a stressful profession:
Events should reflect the beliefs of both the clients and the planners. Companies are increasingly realizing that a healthy work-life balance is one of the most important ways to retain employees. Industry conferences are taking note of this and incorporating mindfulness breaks into events, including yoga and breathing techniques. I’m glad to see that as an industry, we are making self-care and mental health a priority. To improve your own work-life balance, start by incorporating it into your events.
When the work piles up, it’s easy to sequester yourself inside with the stress. One of the best ways I’ve found to relieve stress is by stepping away and getting outside—where you can breathe a little deeper. One of my favorite spots to get away from it all is Elm Creek Park Reserve, where I go with my dogs for long walks. Not only does getting outside help calm my stress, but it also helps me put on a better event. Getting some (literal) outside perspective allows me to think through the big picture of the event, instead of getting lost in the details and last-minute changes.
If you’re able to choose your event location, pick one that will cut down on the amount of details you’ll need to handle. This may sound obvious, but I see event planners add unnecessary stress to their events all the time. You can avoid this stress with small-detail choices, like picking an event site in a downtown area instead of somewhere just outside the city, or choosing a venue and accommodations that offer walkability. Another stress-reducing choice would be selecting a venue that has free and ample parking.
A healthy body reflects a healthy mind. It’s easy to get so caught up in an event that you forget to take care of yourself, but the reality is that to put on a good event, you yourself must be healthy. Make regular exercise a priority and be conscious of what you’re eating and when you’re eating. It’s easy to slide into convenience meals when you’re stressed but taking the time to eat—and eat healthfully—will do wonders for your well-being. For that matter, encourage the same behavior in your event attendees; Work with caterers on healthy menus and develop a schedule that gives both the mind and body a much-needed break.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the needs of your clients and events. Selecting three-to-five priorities for each day allows you to focus your efforts instead of getting bogged down by the flurry of incoming emails and demands that come your way. Best of all, it gives you a sense of real accomplishment at the end of the day—something that can help fuel you forward and prevent burn-out.
Event planning is demanding, but when everything comes together, it’s extremely rewarding (and makes all of that stress worth it!). Nevertheless, it’s easy to lose sight of the end product in the midst of the pre-planning stress. Next time you plan an event, I encourage you to make your mental health and work-life balance a priority. When you’re the best you can be, your event will be, too.
About the Author
Ashlee Mueller is a business development manager at Minneapolis Northwest Tourism
and has more than five years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. A Minneapolis Northwest native and resident, she is passionate about bringing more people and events to the cities of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, and Maple Grove.
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally—event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact email@example.com.