There’s no denying that event planning is a dynamic, exciting and highly rewarding job. But, it’s also one of the most stressful, with a lot of responsibility and pressure. Dealing with clients and suppliers, working long hours, and constant problem solving and multitasking can take its toll. On top of that, planning events in this ongoing climate of uncertainty, where last-minute changes, cancellations, and staffing and supplier issues have almost become the norm, has certainly thrown its own set of unique challenges at us. If you’ve started the new year feeling fatigued and burnt out, you’re not alone.
Mindfulness is an easy meditation practice that can help reduce stress and anxiety while promoting focus, memory, mental clarity and overall wellbeing by grounding you in the present moment. Using mainly breathing techniques and visualisation, mindfulness teaches you how to be fully present, engaged and aware, without being overly reactive, distracted or judgemental.
Here are just five easy ways to bring mindfulness to your mental, emotional and physical state in the fast-paced world of events planning.
Rise and shine
Without getting too science-y, our brains are most sensitive upon waking up, and our subconscious mind is most active then, so what you do after you open your eyes can have a lasting impact on the rest of the day. Using your phone in the morning primes your brain for distraction, stress, and affects your ability to prioritise tasks. As tempting as it is, resist the urge to check your emails, social media, and the news for at least one hour. Instead, create a new morning ritual such as a gratitude meditation, journaling, or simply doing some stretching and breathing exercises to get you going.
Focus on one thing at a time
For events planners, multitasking is second nature, but mindfulness is the exact opposite of that because it requires you to focus on one task at a time. It may feel like you’re going against the grain at first but give it a go! If you’re in the middle of planning a huge event, break it down into separate projects and dedicate a specific time to each task – put your emails on mute and don’t let other distractions get in the way during that allocated time. Tackling a huge project this way will make you feel less overwhelmed, improve the quality of your work, and leave less room for error.
Take a break
Planning an event means we’re often guilty of eating our lunch in front of the computer and putting in overtime to meet those deadlines. But having ample breaks is crucial for your mental and physical wellness, so step away from that desk! Get yourself outside for a brisk walk around the block and be fully aware of your surroundings – notice how the fresh air feels in your lungs as you breathe it in, the warm sun on your skin, the sound of the wind through the trees, and the ground beneath your feet with each step you take. This is a great way to hit the reset button and beat that afternoon slump.
Event professionals are often working in a pressure-cooker environment and sometimes, even the best laid plans can go awry. While stress and conflict can be unavoidable, it’s important how we respond to them. Practicing mindfulness helps us to become more aware of our triggers and responses, enabling us to handle uncomfortable situations and feelings better without having a strong reaction. When negative thoughts and emotions come up, try this quick three-minute exercise:
– Bring yourself into the present moment by acknowledging your current experience, thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.
– Redirect your energy and focus on your breathing. Concentrate on breathing in and breathing out, anchoring yourself to the present.
– Expand this awareness of your breathing to the rest of your body, noticing the tension leaving every part of your physical being.
Juggling the demands of a busy job along with personal and family life can sometimes feel like we’re on autopilot. Setting aside some time each evening to be alone and decompress from a busy day is crucial for a good night’s sleep. Same as in the morning, refrain from looking at your phone in bed. In fact, end all and any screen time for an hour before going to bed, and instead, take an evening walk, run a bath, have a cup of herbal tea, write in your journal, read a book, or listen to a guided sleep meditation.