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Taking Care of Yourself in Times of Crisis

With countries around the world locking down and issuing stay-at-home orders, there’s a good chance you’re reading this from your home office — whatever that looks like for you. This crisis has caused our community to experience all sorts of emotions: fear, uncertainty, and sadness — but also hope, inspiration, and togetherness.

For many, this time of year means preparing for peak season and the jam-packed schedule that comes with it. Yet, we’re now faced with weeks—even months—of events being postponed or cancelled, leaving us with time to work on our business instead of in it. Perhaps you’re using this time to plan a new product launch or maybe you’re finally catching up on those backburner tasks. Regardless of how you’re filling your time, be sure to take time to prioritize rest and self-care.

Self-care isn’t just about empowering quotes on Pinterest and hygge-inspired aesthetics — it is a very real and effective way to combat stress and fortify your ability to serve clients satisfactorily. If you’re reading this and scratching your head, you’re not alone. Many event professionals struggle to find time for themselves, but it’s time to figure it out for yourself, your team, and your business.

Here are a few ways to prioritize your wellbeing for the sake of mental health and business health.

Crack open a book

Reading is fundamental — and proven to be very good for your brain. When you’re reading, it gives you space to decompress and focus your attention on one thing. It’s a relaxing experience, but you can stay productive by choosing informative books that will help you understand and grow your business further. Better yet, grab some audiobooks for your daily commute and let yourself zone out while gaining knowledge at the same time.

Keep your life organized

I mean it when I say that block-scheduling has quite literally kept me sane during my years in business. This means planning out your day and staying on track – for some this can be easier said than done. To make sure I stick to it, I find that it helps to designate tasks for certain days. Maybe you’re catching up on emails on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and saving client appointments for Tuesday and Thursday. Whatever method works for you, start working it into your calendar.

This also goes for self-care, as it should be as much of a priority as your work. Make a promise to yourself to set boundaries with employees and clients alike, and pencil in a catch-up with your true crime podcasts if you need to.

Consider automated alternatives

There are so many apps on the market that can increase the efficiency of your workflow and the productivity of your team. It’s best to research alternatives before things get too busy so you can have them in place when business picks up. This might feel like busy work, but it can save you lots of time when you need it most. Think about the tasks that always seem to pile up and take up valuable time — then hop online and look for programs that can simplify and automate those tasks so you don’t have to waste any more time on them.

Great candidates for this include social media management, client management, bookkeeping, email funnels, file sharing, and project management. You know your team’s needs best, so get with your employees and find a solution that will help everyone work more efficiently. nine times out of 10, you’ll have more instances in the coming months where you’re away from your desk and need to access something remotely, all while sharing the update with your team.

Some of my personal favorites are collaborative apps like Google Suite, Dropbox, and programs that streamline the scheduling of meetings. Let’s face it, the emails back-and-forth of figuring out a flexible appointment date and time should be a thing of the past!

Take off your business hat

For creative entrepreneurs, it can be especially hard to “turn off” when we’re not actively working — especially when you’re working from home. It’s easy to let your day spill into the night and, before you know it, you’re churning out 80+ hours of work each week. It sounds productive, but inside, you’re burning out and dying for even just a moment to sit down and unwind. Here is your permission to give yourself that time.

Burnout is counterproductive to productivity and will quickly zap you of the energy you need to keep running a successful business. Allow yourself to shut down your computer and step outside of your mental “office,” even for a few hours. Take in a virtual yoga class or try out a new recipe for dinner. Read a book, play an instrument, or just sleep the whole weekend away. Whatever you feel that you need, do it! Trust that nothing will burn down while you rest; your work will be there when you get back.

You may be a busy event professional but, first and foremost, you are a human being. Humans have biological and emotional needs and, when you aren’t meeting them, your body will respond in suit with stress, illnesses, lack of energy, and so on. Rest assured that taking a break to rest and reset will serve you and your business far more than an extra ten hours of work each week.

Kylie Carlson

Founder / CEO, The Wedding and Event Institute

Kylie Carlson is the CEO of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning. With six locations globally, the academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.

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