How to Keep Your Cool (Even When Things Get Crazy)

Stay calm and plan on

As event planners, we’re usually the first to admit we love our jobs. What other profession entails socializing, party planning, creativity and making a difference in communities? 

But despite having workdays that seem too good to be true, many other days come with their fair share of challenges. Whether it’s a hard-to-please crowd, attendees getting lost en route or any number of factors that could go awry, these situations can be hugely hindering to your productivity––and reputation, if you let your emotions get out of control.

Although some stress is inevitable (and even healthy!), there are ways to calm yourself during, and after, a particularly hectic event. From deep breaths to deep reflection, here are five tips. 

1. Take a cue from your yoga class

Although telling someone to calm down and take a deep breath can be one of the quickest ways to cause even greater agitation, science suggests that the activity has its benefits, at least when you try it on yourself.  

Studies have shown that paying attention to your breath can help lower stress levels, both in the moment and beyond. Just find a quiet space to retreat (the bathroom is fine, if you can’t find privacy elsewhere) and start to slowly breathe in through your nose, allowing your belly to expand, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Even a few minutes is helpful, but a practice of 10-20 minutes each day may help you feel more centered in the longer term.

2. Vent to someone close to you––but keep it there

If your stress levels are nearing the breakdown threshold, by all means remove yourself from the situation and vent to someone you trust (think more your mom; less your colleagues and boss) in a private place. And once you’ve verbally expelled all those emotions, keep them there. 

3. Try not to O.D. on caffeine  

If things are getting out of control, many of us tend to gravitate toward the seemingly all-powerful cup of joe for more energy. But if you have a lot on your plate, having too much of the substance in your system can actually produce the opposite effect of what you want. 

The Mayo Clinic says that, after the fourth cup, you’re likely to experience increased nervousness, irritability, restlessness and insomnia. So after a few cups, try stay hydrated with plain water. 

4.  Reflect post-event 

While it might’ve been a single scenario that caused your stress levels to spike, there are ways to simmer your emotions in future situations by spending quiet, considered time reflecting after an event. 

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, emotions are connected to our deepest values. If you became emotional when a slew of tasks were thrown your way and you were afraid of failing, you probably are deeply invested in your career and job––which is a good thing. Just don’t forget to take a step back and see your job as a single component of your life, not what drives it.   

5. Put the phone down

We all know that time spent checking emails or social media on our smartphones can be a huge time-waster. But the practice can have adverse effects on our mental health, too. Science found that too much engagement on mobile devices is directly linked to increased anxiety and depression. 

Although browsing through your phone might seem like a good way to unwind in between meetings after a long day of networking and leading, consider swapping your cell for a book or simply meditation time.