The event industry has long been recognised as a stressful one. In fact, a recent survey placed event planning as the fifth most stressful job only trumped by jobs which present life and death situations – pilots, firefighters, police officers etc. Though, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those in the industry.
There is a fair amount of stress with most jobs nowadays but as these recent findings suggest, it’s important to ensure you are aware of the potential of stress in an event role and to be aware of how stress can manifest. This way, you can take prompt action to improve your mental wellbeing whilst continuing to enjoy your career.
Why are Event Jobs Stressful?
It can be useful to understand what makes event roles stressful. Events can be complex to organise with many aspects and risks to manage. Let’s look at the example of organising an annual conference – an event planner has to organise everything from hiring professional speakers to which badging software to use each decision made carries risk and has an impact on the overall success.
Event coordination requires a lot of stress-inducing elements which require the post holder to poses some superhuman abilities – juggling multiple priorities, seamless organisation, tight deadlines, attention to detail, time management, budget restrictions, marketing, technology and let’s not forget, lots of demanding people!
Impacts of Stress
Stress is essentially your body in a tense and stressed state. Your muscles will be tight, your heart will beat faster, and your breathing is likely to be more shallow and rapid.
This is not a healthy state to live everyday life in. The overproduction of the stress hormone, cortisol, can have a harmful effect on your body.
If left unmanaged, stress can cause all sorts of longer-term health issues, including hypertension, migraines, weight gain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and many others.
Therefore, as soon as stress shows up in your life, it becomes essential to take measures to reduce it.
As a preventative measure, the more in tune you are with yourself and how you think and feel at any given time, the more likely you are to notice stress before it becomes a problem.
Investing in personal development courses or one to one support such as coaching, meditation classes etc can do wonders for improving your wellbeing.
Many employers encourage these activities as they benefit from a healthy and happy workforce, so do be proactive here and see what financial support your employer may be able to offer you.
There is also an organisation dedicated to supporting the reduction of stress in the events industry, which is worth bringing to the attention of your employer.
Self-Expectations and Boundaries
One of the biggest factors with stress is our own unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Just because someone else has high expectations of you, doesn’t mean you should allow that to make you feel stressed.
The best way to combat the demands of others is to set healthy boundaries and clearly state what you will deliver in a way that is realistic for you. For example, if you are asked to deliver a task by tomorrow and you have other deadlines which are a priority, don’t simply say yes and take the pressure, unless it is, of course, a life or death situation, but think about the real urgency and assess the risk. If it can wait, explain that you will be unable to do it tomorrow but can do it more realistically by xxx date. Make clear that this is because you want to ensure high-quality work is delivered, thus making it difficult for most people to argue with.
The more assertive you can be and the more realistic you are with your time, the more in control you will feel. This process will naturally alleviate that unnecessary pressure you often find yourself experiencing.
When we work alone and don’t seek out sources of support, we are indirectly causing undue stress. Often this happens without us even being aware that we are doing it.
Begin to notice how often you ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed or more likely how often you do!
If you are feeling the strain, reach out. It doesn’t mean you have failed, or you are somehow not good enough. It simply means you are human, and we all need support. In fact, as a community-based species, we thrive when we work together and support each other.
Don’t suffer in silence and seek support from your colleagues. Even if that’s as simple as sharing how you are feeling.
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