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7 Mental Health Tips for Event Professionals

May 3, 2023

Event planning is exciting, fun, and rewarding. It’s also been identified as one of top 10 most stressful jobs in the United States. In addition to event coordinators, other event professionals like DJs, caterers, florists, and more often feel the crunch that comes with events.

Event Therapy Network, founded by Charessa Sawyer, offers therapeutic support resources for event and entertainment professionals. Charessa is a Certified Event Planner (CEP) and Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). This combination gives her a unique understanding of the challenges event professionals face, one of which is being comfortable enough to talk about their mental health.

No one in the events industry talks about their mental health, and we should. As event professionals, we worry about coming across as unprofessional and whether it would affect our ability to get clients,” says Charessa. “Now, I am not saying we should post our mental state on social media or announce it to the world. What I am saying is that it’s important to talk to someone, put ourselves first, and control what you can. Often, Event Therapy clients will blame their events and work—that there’s so much going on that putting yourself first is impossible. But, instead, we should start by looking at how we can make change within ourselves to create processes and boundaries to provide the grace we need to stay calm and centered.”

Putting yourself first is a big ask when so many event professionals tend to be people who put their own well-being and happiness second to that of their clients and teams. So, where do you start? Below, Charessa offers some actionable advice for event professionals, all of which she’s implemented herself as the founder of SCV Productions

7 Steps Event Professionals Can Take to Care For Their Mental Health

Controlling what you can isn’t about having all the elements of your event in hand. It’s about controlling the things around the event that cause stress—all-hours communication, no time for yourself, endless tasks that can be streamlined, lack of a support system, and blaming yourself for not getting enough done.

By taking these steps, you’ll protect your mental health and learn how to respond instead of react to everything happening around you.ettings.

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1. Block time for yourself.

Doing so was one of the biggest actions Charessa took to relieve the pressure and stress she’d been buried under. “I actually felt the weight of it leaving my shoulders!” What’s important is that you block time for yourself every day to center yourself for the tasks ahead. For Charessa, that means 30 minutes in the morning, when she does her stretches and does her affirmations. The key here is to make sure that you honor that time—don’t give it away to anyone else.ngs.
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2. Use the tools.

Calendars, schedulers, CMS, do-it-all event management platforms like Eventgroove…they’re all there to make your life easier. “Whatever tools save you time and streamline your processes, use them. Adopting new technology or services and training staff may take time up front (and add some stress!) but it’s worth it in the long run, since it will ultimately make things easier!”
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3. Set communication parameters and boundaries early on.

Charessa recommends setting boundaries with clients right from the start. For her own event business, this includes communication clauses in her contracts that state how much she’ll be available by phone, email, text, and, yes, even DMs (because of course clients try to reach you every way they can when they want an answer NOW). If communication exceeds that limit, there’s a fee. The policy informs the working relationship between herself (and her team)and her clients. The trick with this is to stand by those boundaries. If you have a hard stop on texts and calls after 7pm, then only make allowances during a true emergency. Advanced settings.
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4. Build break time into the event schedule.

Insert some time off to your internal event schedule shared with your team, as well as the one shared with your client. Of course, while some events require all hands on deck in the days leading up that doesn’t mean you can’t block out time that’s off-limits and only for you. On the day of, you and your team will need breaks for the restroom and to eat—you are human, after all! Make sure you build those breaks into the timeline. Remember, everyone does a better job and is more ready to meet challenges when they aren’t starving and exhausted. odule Advanced settings.
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5. Praise yourself.

Take the time to congratulate yourself on what you’ve accomplished. “You have to celebrate yourself throughout the day. Complete a task and tell yourself, ‘I got this down—on to the next!” says Charessa. “Cheering yourself on is especially important when you’re in a high-stress situation. I take a moment, stop, and praise myself for the things I’ve been able to accomplish instead of blaming myself for things I have not yet done.”
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6. Don’t go at it alone.

Having support on site is a must for so many reasons, but especially when you need a moment to gather yourself after a high-stress moment. Even if that person is an event colleague to whom you say, “I need 3 minutes for myself. I’ll be in the bathroom,” they’ll understand! Someone on your team who’s at your side is also essential for when you do have those crisis moments that seem to happen so often in events. Charessa shared this story of a recent event, “All the glassware for the bar shattered in the van. All of it. Instead of panicking, I laughed—it was totally out of our control! And then, because I already knew there was a Michael’s nearby and knew thanks to Honeybook how much it would cost, I sent my assistant to buy new glassware. I was able to handle the situation with calmness, mental clarity, and humor because I had help, actively maintain my mental health, and have systems in place to enable me to quickly problem-solve.”
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7. Reach out for help.

Therapy in any form is a great way to work through things, as are sessions with a trained professional who also understands the rigors of your work in events, such as the team at Event Therapy. Getting together with event friends and talking things through is also a great way to vent, process, and come up with steps you can take to put yourself in a stronger place for the next time.

As event professionals, it may seem scary to take some of the above steps—you might worry about getting hired or how you are perceived professionally. That’s totally understandable! However, by implementing the above to preserve your mental health, you’ll be more poised in times of crisis, as well as ready and able to meet the challenges that arise.

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