3 Stress-Busting Strategies for Event Professionals

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Annette Gregg, CEO of SITEEvent planning is stressful, but these stress-busting strategies can help keep event professionals on a more even keel.

Stress affects everyone both physically and mentally — and event professionals have more than their fair share due to the demands of their work. In fact, a recent survey found that 67% of planners cited stress management as a top concern. To recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, Event Minds Matter held a webinar on May 28 to bring everyday awareness to common mental health issues affecting event professionals, as well as some stress-busting strategies that can help.

Called Everyday Awareness, the online event featured mental health strategist, executive coach and management consultant Leslie Bennett, who posed a series of questions to Annette Gregg, CMM, CEO of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), who shared how she faces some of the everyday stresses involved in the hectic world of meeting and event planning.

Gregg shared a situation that she found to be particularly stressful — a proposed bylaw change that ended up being more controversial than SITE leadership had anticipated. This was particularly stressful since it arose shortly after she took the helm of the organization. Some strategies she said worked for her:

  • Try to take the emotion out of the situation and look at it objectively. “I tried to get myself out of the way and ask, what’s the worst that can happen here?” she said. In reality, if the new bylaw change didn’t pass, the world wouldn’t end, but it’s hard to see that when the issue is clouded by emotion. This was especially difficult as a new leader, she added. “I had a fear of having a big failure in my first six months of tenure of disappointing some of my membership.” Once she reached that core of what was triggering her, she applied a daily discipline of objectivity to take the stress and anxiety down a few notches.
  • Find trusted people to talk it out with. It’s all too easy to get lost in your own head when things begin to spiral, and it can really help to have people you trust who can give you different ways to look at the situation. For Gregg, her board of directors, and even her husband, helped her level-set and gain that objectivity she needed to regain equilibrium. Bennett added that it can be a colleague, a friend or someone in your community, as well as more official support systems individuals in the event industry can tap into. “I really don’t think we can do this alone,” she said. “We’re human. It gets messy, and we can get in our heads a lot.”
  • Take a breath. Instead of reacting in the moment, take a few breaths and give yourself a little time to calm down the reactionary part of your brain and figure out what specifically is triggering you, develop a more realistic perspective on the situation and potential solutions.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more during an interactive session on mental health with Cardinale Creative and Event Minds Matter Founder Janice Cardinale at Prevue’s Meet Well Summit, Aug. 7–9 at the Sunseeker Resort in Charlotte Harbor, Fla.

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