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8 Stress Management Tips for Special Event Planners

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Here is my guide to finding light at the end of the tunnel as a stressed out event planner. It does not include eating desserts until you are no longer stressed. I tried that, it doesn’t work.

Being an event planner is STRESSFUL! I used all capital letters and an exclamation point and it still doesn’t do the stress level justice. I’ve had many sleepless nights. My first summer as the event manager of the Rib Cook-Off I lost a lot of hair every morning in the shower. I gained 25 pounds. I’ve now lost 17 and I’m still working on losing the last few pounds now that I’ve learned how to manage the stress eating. The body reacts when it is stressed and it isn’t healthy. So here are a few (non-scientific) tips for combating the stress, and finding the light at the end of the tunnel that I use to get through the stress of event planning.

1. Look on the bright side. There are always positive things going on around you when you are planning events. Look around. Look for your blessings. One of my biggest blessings is that I work with amazing people. When I’m stressed to the max I will often go take a walk and visit with the banquets setup crew or other employees. The break gives me perspective and I truly enjoy the people I work with so it brightens my mood. They always make me laugh, which is important!

2. Learn to laugh at yourself. The good thing about special events is you know there is a hard deadline and it will all be over after the event is over. If you learn to laugh at yourself and all the craziness along the way, you will definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.

3. Get plenty of rest. I’m not a doctor so don’t take this as medical advice, but I highly recommend sleep and taking something to help you sleep if you need it. I should probably buy stock in ZzzQuil. I’m one of those misfortunate souls that needs at least 8 hours of beauty sleep. This is often hard to come by in event season so I need help, and I’m not afraid to ask ZzzQuil to put me to bed.

4. Exercise. No explanation needed, but here is another blog that can explain it if you are lost.

5. Think of the worst-case scenario. I will often sit down and brainstorm the worst-case scenario. It turns out I can usually handle worst-case. Once I have a battle plan it never comes to the worst-case. I think being prepared hedges my risk and puts me in a better strategic position.

6. Ask for help. This one I’m not so good at, but it is very important to have help to find the light at the end of the tunnel and get through the stress. Learn how to ask for help. If you are stressed take a minute and see what help you could use. I once asked my coworker to just tell everyone not to talk to me for the whole morning because I needed alone time. It sounds crazy, but it helped. I was able to regain my focus and she felt good because she helped me out in my time of need.

7. Make a choice about how you will react. So many people fail to realize they have a choice in how they respond to challenging situations. There are a lot of challenging situations in event planning and you need to make a cognizant effort to decide how you will respond to these situations.

8. Fake it until you make it. This may sound like horrible advice, but it has worked for me. Not happy about a situation, but you know you aren’t in charge and can’t change anything? Make a choice to react by faking it until you make it. I may not be happy with how some things are going with the event, we may make mistakes, but almost 99% of the time nobody outside the organization knows. I don’t overreact to bad news. I respond, but I often temporarily internalize my frustrations. You also want to fake it if you are mad because you don’t want to blow up at the wrong time and in front of the wrong people. Find a way to let off the steam in private and a way that won’t offend or harm anyone. If you aren’t sure how to let off steam get on the treadmill and don’t get off until you’ve figured it out.

Being a special event planner is a very rewarding job. It can be stressful, but with the right stress management and by finding the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn’t anything you can’t handle. Do you have any special tricks to find light at the end of the tunnel or handle stress? Please post them in the comments.

Additional Reading:
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