|Did you know that meeting planners
have one of the most stressful jobs in the nation as reported by
business news daily. The meeting planner profession is listed
fifth after military personnel, firefighter, airline pilot and
I believe it! I
only have one or two trade shows per year. Yet it is the times
before these shows that I get the most stressed. Below are some
“hacks” or strategies that will help you not only beat your stress,
but maybe channel that energy and eventually boost your
1. Do some breathing exercises every
night before you to go to sleep
Research shows that keeping
a bedtime routine facilitates good sleep. However, this is hard to
do when you travel. Likely most of your routine is subject to
change; your schedule is different, your room is different, your
diet is different… you get the idea. While you can try to keep all
of these as consistent as possible the one thing you can reliably
control is having a routine about how you use your breath during
bedtime. You’ve heard it before, in the face of stress and change
you can always just BREATHE. One idea for breathing exercises from
Prevention magazine is to exhale through your mouth, close your
mouth and inhale through your nose, hold your breath for 7 seconds,
exhale for 8 and repeat 3 times. This should settle you down and if
you do it consistently at home and during travel it will help signal
to your body that it is time to sleep.
2. Drink some herbal
tea about an hour before you go to sleep
Bonus points for bringing your own when you travel. This way you
will always have some on hand when all they offer in the plane or at
the hotel is black tea. Just ask for some hot water and you are set!
You can use the hotel coffee maker to make some or order it from
room service if you were not able to stop at Starbucks. Herbal tea
will help hydrate you after a busy day and you can get some that
will actually help promote sleep like chamomile. My favorites are
Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime and Yogi Bedtime (no they did not
pay me to say that).
3. Take a walk outside
In the morning it will help you set your circadian rhythm in a new
time zone. You don’t have to go very far, a walk around the block
once or twice is enough. In the afternoon it will help you de-stress
and re-energize before going back to work and it is much healthier
than that can of soda or candy bar you may be craving. In the
evening it will help you relax after a long day and keep you away
from email. During the summer months I like to get my kids and walk
to the park almost every day. Most of the time they don’t want to do
it, but once I get them outside they run ahead of me and I get a
little quiet time.
4. Do some yoga in your
You don’t need a mat if you happen to be travelling just use your
hotel towel. You can buy some of those funky sticky gloves and socks
if you really want to avoid sliding around when you travel without a
yoga mat. However, I usually don’t bother. I know people who are not
familiar with yoga often think it entails contorting yourself into a
pretzel and although you could do that as part of your practice it
can just be doing some very simple moves for about 20 minutes.
Medical Daily has a good article that shows some basic poses.
Bonus points: Use your phone to play relaxing music or sounds, or
use a meditation or yoga app on a regular basis.
5. Use a foam roller to
rub against all those tight spots in your back
What? You forgot or don’t want to buy one? Go ahead and roll up a
towel or use a tennis ball to use instead. You can also use the foam
roller to do some ab work or probably more realistically prop up
your legs while you are catching up on entertainment tonight in the
6. Get a massage before and after your event
I know you think you don’t have the time or can’t afford it.
However, consider that you can’t afford not to do it. Whether it is
a professional massage at a spa, a nice backrub from your sweetie or
just sitting on a massage chair at the airport, the health and
stress-reducing benefits will pay off with a healthier and more
efficient you. Mayo Clinic
reports that massage benefits include “reducing stress, pain and
muscle tension.” In fact they indicate that some studies found
massage to be helpful for anxiety, digestive disorders, headaches,
insomnia related to stress and more. Check, check, check.
7. Do some meditation.
I know it sounds a bit intimidating and time consuming, but…
You can meditate on your walk to the show floor instead of going
over the list of everything that could go wrong. Concentrate on
breathing in and breathing out evenly as you walk. You can meditate
as you are waiting at the baggage claim rather than giving the dork
in front of you who will not let you get your bag another dirty
look. Breathe in, breathe out. Swimming at the hotel pool for half
an hour can be a wonderful opportunity to meditate. I have heard
that going for a run can be meditative. I am too busy catching my
breath on the rare occasion that I run to meditate, but I do have to
confess that I feel better afterwards.
8. Have some chocolate!
I know this could be dangerous, but work with me here. I don’t mean
scarf down a whole bag of M&M’s. I mean buy a wonderful piece of
Belgian or local chocolate from your favorite vendor and then make a
special time to eat it, and enjoy it, slowly and mindfully. By this
I mean, do not eat it while you are checking your email or texting
your booth vendor. Instead, take the time to look at it, enjoy its
aroma and then eat it. Slowly!
9. Have a beer with
I am really getting crazy now. Bear with me. There is ample research
that social support can reduce stress. The national institute of
health says “Numerous
studies indicate social support is essential for maintaining
physical and psychological health.” Sooo… I guess technically you
don’t have to have a beer to reap the benefits. Wine or even
lemonade will do as long as you have a chance to talk to friends and
connect. If you are travelling you can take the opportunity to call
your sister, best friend or shrink if things have gotten really out
0. Create something
Some people knit when they are stressed. I think that knitting can
be a meditative activity. But part of the allure is making something
beautiful that is one of a kind. You can take those stressful times,
when you feel total lack of control from planning for a trade show,
and use that energy to take a break from planning and make something
tangible. Art can take your mind off your problems like few things
can – whether it is a watercolor, knitting a scarf or designing
something unique to display in your home or office. The project can
give you a much needed breather and a sense of accomplishment that
can be a lifesaver when there appears to be nothing but delays
beyond your control at work. Also, according to an article by
Magazine taking breaks can make you more productive!
As you strive to manage your work
stress with these “hacks” consider this. According to a study by
Shawn Anchor, the author of the
Happiness Advantage, you can use stress to your advantage. He
argues in an article published in the Harvard Business Review
Make Stress Work for You that individuals can be trained to
rethink stress and use it to improve their productivity and health.
A lot of the negative effects of stress are balanced by positive
effects, like creating mental toughness, improving memory and
speeding up recovery. By recognizing that stress is going to be part
of our daily lives and that it is something we can manage and even
take advantage of, we can take a deep breath and tackle our next
event planning meeting with a smile.
If you are worried about your next
trade show or event consider requesting our
ROI calculator to help you prepare for it properly so you can
take some time to relax and then measure your results.