Relieving Stress: 4 Strategies for Meeting Planners

relieving stress
A healthy diet is an essential part of relieving stress. Avoid processed foods, dairy, grains and sugar.

If you love this profession and intend to stick around, then setting yourself up for success is necessary. Here are 4 strategies for relieving stress from a  fellow meeting planner.

Rated as the profession that is one of the most stressful it’s hard to believe that event planners align next to CEOs, firefighters, police officers and airline pilots in terms of stress.
Stress alone on a one day or a week long period can be managed easily, and might even be a little healthy to get you moving towards finishing and accomplishing your goals or
overcoming your fear. However, the real concern is chronic stress. The stress that builds up
over years, over many months, over many seasons of endless work, back to back to back
events and constant travel. Here are 4 strategies for relieving stress from Johanna Dahlman, founder of CORE Events, which supplies resources and event professionals for last minute or timely projects all over Europe.

1. Tune into your breath—The quickest technique for relieving stress in less than 10 minutes where you can see and feel the body’s reactions is boxed breathing. If you are a yogi, its also called pranayama. Boxed breathing is counting 4-4-4. Inhale for 4 breaths, hold for 4 breaths and exhales slowly for 4 breaths. Do this anywhere… in the car, between meetings and pre-cons, before showtime, at night when your monkey mind won’t turn off. Repeat as needed. This technique, is fast, effective, and free. It can be done anywhere. I have taught this to children, entrepreneurs and industry colleagues. High stress creates brain fog. Results are instant after just 5 rounds, allowing you to calm your mind, decrease cortisol levels and opening path ways to think clearly and make decisive choices.

Want to take it a step further? Try meditation. There are countless apps you can use that will help you start with 3 minutes, then 5 and so on, until you find what’s right for you. Getting back to your breath is the first step; next is sitting still and tuning into your body, the sensory exploration of how each part of your body is feeling, then allowing your brain to calm and focusing on being present. Meditation has multiple levels.

2. Diet—Diet is crucial for optimal health and relieving stress. Avoid processed foods, dairy, grains and sugar. All these items will hinder your health and also hinder your performance, not just for today but also long-term.

You as the planner, should avoid alcohol as well. With the little sleep you are getting, alcohol will only create more havoc. Avoid it.

Which leads me to caffeine: Our culture promotes it and loves its burst of energy; coffee is many times welcomed in the morning and in the afternoon when we are working late and tirelessly. Be cautious of this routine, which can lead to adrenal fatigue and other health concerns. Temper your coffee, opt instead for green tea and matcha. Overdoing it in coffee or espressos can lead to more health complications when you are constantly under fire and under high stress.

3. Boost your immunity—Stress depletes our energy, immune system and vitamins from our body. Nourish your body and protect it all year long with adding loads of ginger, garlic, vitamin C and lemon juice to your diet. As an avid international traveler and global event planner, ginger shots (ginger juiced to 1-2 oz) are immune boosting and in my regular diet pre and post travel to avoid getting sick while on the road and after I return. I have flown over 100,000 miles each year since I was 23 years, ginger has been my saving grace through sick days in flight, food poisoning and other bacteria and germs on the road.

4. Try supplements—If you are looking to destress, support your body, increase immunity and performance, you will need to support your system with vitamins and supplements because our current food supply isn’t at the level it once was. Some of my top recommendations include:
• Vitamin D3 and magnesium as mentioned above
• Turmeric, which fights inflammation
• Ashwagandha, which helps your body regulate stress
•Holy Basil & Licorice tea supports the body, immune system and supports cortisol levels
• Bach Flowers (Rescue Remedy), which comes in a mini spray or in drops and even in hard candies. Bach Flowers are natural tinctures that you can buy at most health food stores.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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