The start of the event season is always filled with excitement and anticipation, but there tends to be a point somewhere in the middle where the days start to blur and you feel like you’re barely scraping by. Welcome to peak fatigue season.
Fatigue is something that happens to the best of us because, as humans, we can only take on so much work before we burnout. It’s natural, so don’t think of yourself any less if you’re starting to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. There’s a good chance you just need to readjust your priorities and take better care of yourself and your schedule.
We spoke with event pros across the country about fatigue, self-care, and rest. The resounding message: You are not alone in this. That, and massages can be a lifesaver. Let’s hear what they have to say.
Start with basic self-care
All of the goals, celebrations, and vacations mean nothing if you’re not taking care of your basic needs. These are habits to build year-round, not just in the peak season — but will certainly help you slog through the toughest times that much easier.
“Make sure you, as the business owner, are getting enough sleep,” urges Oleta Collins of Flourishing Art Design Studio. “It’s hard, but try. Eat real food! Try not to eat on the run. When your digestive system is sluggish, so are you. Try to schedule weekly massages to get fluids moving and work out at least three days a week. This all seems to hard when all you see is work, but you must take care of yourself and your team.”
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Heather Rouffe of Atlas Event Rental agrees, affirming the importance of making time for these basic self-care strategies: “I try to schedule regular massages, going to the gym, going for a walk, anything to take my mind off of things. Carve out the time and schedule it into your week, just like you would schedule a meeting. Make sure you are spending enough time with the family and kids.”
Set your own boundaries
There’s no use in working 80 hours a week because your brain will really only be there about half of that time. Instead of pushing yourself past your limits, learn to set boundaries with yourself, your clients, and your loved ones. Personal time isn’t a negotiable factor, it’s a must.
“I try to make a rule to not work during certain hours,” shares Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates. “I have young kids at home, so I do not make meetings between the hours of 5 to 7 p.m. I’m happy to meet after or before, but I prioritize these hours as our family time when at all possible.”
“I do the same in the morning,” Maddox says. “The emails will still be there when I am finished working out, but the workout will not happen if I dive into work first thing in the morning. No wedding emergency is one that can’t get solved at 9 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. We are not discovering the cure for cancer here, we’re just putting on a magnificent event!”
A major part of setting boundaries is learning how to say no. A simple two-letter word that seems to be difficult for a lot of entrepreneurs who live for the hustle. Don’t feel like you must accommodate the social life and responsibilities that you do during off-season; prioritize your time whether it’s for getting ahead on work or taking personal leave to unwind.
“Remove anything from the schedule that isn’t imperative, like reducing the number of networking events and vendor lunch or coffee meetings,” says Shannon Tarrant of WeddingVenueMap.com. “Creating this extra time in my schedule is helpful to catch up or take a break for myself.”
Ask for help
You are not in this alone and, if you act like you are, you will find yourself burnt out sooner rather than later. Whether you need to delegate responsibilities to your team or you need to lean on your family for more support at home, don’t force yourself to be a superhero. We all need help from time to time.
“We make sure we have enough seasonal staff to manage the uptick in work,” explains Tarrant. “Posting the position early gives us enough time to interview, hire, and train enough team members to lighten the workload.”
“I ask for more help than usual from my family support system,” Tarrant continues. “When the amount of work hours increase, those life tasks still have to get done. My family picks up the slack in grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, errands, and so much more.”
Look forward to something
Just like the iced coffee you promise yourself after an early morning workout, rewards can go a long way in maintaining motivation and keeping you on the right track. The end of busy season might seem far off in the distance, but giving yourself an identifiable reward will make it seem far more reachable.
“When you are heading into the thick of it, make sure that you have a reward for yourself waiting on the other side,” encourages Ashley Greer of Atelier Ashley Flowers. “Every year, I go to Florida for Christmas. Yes, I know that that is in the thick of the holiday rush, but knowing that I will have that downtime coming puts everything in perspective.”
Greer adds: “I also have a monthly subscription to a Thai massage place and local yoga studio, so there are relaxing activities that I have already paid for and can look forward to taking some time for myself.”
Create a positive mindset
At the end of the day, you create your perspective of how your day, week, month, and season will go. If you wake up expecting a stressful day ahead of you, you will certainly find stress to dwell on. Be mindful of the messages you are sending yourself and adjust your mindset to embrace the challenges and commit to your goals.
“I remind myself to live in the moment,” shares Jennifer Charles of Something Fabulous. “Being present gives you a different perspective, so I look at my busy schedule and season as a journey. Each day can offer new experiences and there is always a happy, positive moment if you are open to it. Life is about the journey, not the destination.”
The common theme of these tips from event pros is that caring for your business starts with caring for yourself. Getting enough rest, leaning on your support system, and creating healthy boundaries are the key to getting through the thick of busy season — oh, and don’t forget to get a massage.