Whether you’re running a professional event planning firm, or you’re the go-to event guru in your company, there’s a common thread that ties just about every #EventProf together. It’s no secret that events require an ungodly amount of work, but the issue is that a massive, hectic chunk of the task load reaches its crescendo during the day(s) of the event.
True, we can plan for a year to make sure an event goes smoothly; but by the end of the event weekend, there’s just no escaping it: you’re wiped. You’ve pushed yourself to the limit, your attendees have approached you for a ‘thank you’ handshake, and the parking lot is in the process of emptying.
Even if you live for the thrill of planning and executing big events, especially the kind which have you going at full throttle and non-stop all weekend long, you’re still likely going to be obscenely tired by the time the auditorium’s chairs are stacked. There are actually a few reasons for why this is the case.
They’ve Finally Stacked the Chairs …Now What?
Because events will have you task switching from presentation support to networking, this is going to increase the cognitive load on the mind -which is basically the result of information intake reaching critical mass. When you get to a point of cognitive ‘overload’, that’s when your mind is storing too much unprocessed information, and it can feel like your consciousness is being weighed down. And if you’ve reached this point before the end of the event, then this is going to places stress on both the mind and the body. According to Healthline.com, stress does more than just take its emotional/mental toll, but its effects will manifest into physical changes:
“In the brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol.”
This is why it’s so important to allow yourself to relax after a big event, because not only does your brain need to decompress its cognitive load, it also needs to cut back on adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) in order to move back to healthy equilibrium.
#5 – Find a Quiet Spot and Recap
Since cognitive load is its own stresser, one great way to allow yourself to move into a state of relaxation is to take some time in order to process this recently downloaded data. At least this way, you’ll be able to sift through the event’s information, sort it into mental categories, generate a ‘Monday after’-style task list …and that way, you can let it go.
Find a quiet coffee shop or even head to the hotel lobby and take advantage of the wifi. Crack open the laptop, and while the events are still sharp in your mind, write down and record as much pertinent information as is necessary for you to place it on the backburner. Inc.com’s John Brandon wrote an excellent article on how to remember important details, and one of those is using the method of pre-categorization.
The nice part about this tip is that, while you’re sipping your traditional cappuccino, your review/recap session is allowing your mind to release the information from your consciousness -because it will be waiting for you in your tasking app for when you get back to the office on Monday.
#4 – Evaluate Reached Event Goals
Over the past few days, it’s entirely possible that you’ve achieved several sub-goals, including the primary goal: in that the event itself was a success. True, creating definitive goals is an important part of success, but reevaluation after they’ve been reached is just as important.
All too often, we simply move from goal to goal without ever realizing just how much progress we’ve actually made in the overall grand scheme. This is another method of relieving cognitive load, since reassessing where you stand in the grand scheme is a fantastic way to regain accurate perspective. In addition, this also provides a sense of gratitude and achievement, which will help your mind move into a positive mental state -thereby lifting a great deal of emotional stress that could be causing bodily tension due to the overproduction of cortisol.
This is another great thing to do as you sit in the coffee shop; because when you’ve finished, you’ll be able to sit back and sip that cappuccino with a healthy sense of release and accomplishment.
#3 – Throw a Simple Office Party for the Team
In a Forbes Leadership article from August 2013 called, How You Can Get Motivated to Reach Your Goals, the author makes it clear that there are few motivators as powerful as the kind of psychological mood booster we get from appreciating other people:
“Call, email or visit each one and let them know that you appreciate them and the value they have brought to your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help becoming motivated to achieve your goal.”
With that said, your team is likely just as tired as you are. So instead of just giving a slap on the back and a “back to the grind” speech before you all head back to the airport, replace the speech with a pizza party or some P.F. Chang’s takeout. And here’s the kicker…
No one needs to discuss the event, things to do, or anything else pertaining to the job. This is for relaxation and fun.
When we show appreciation, not only do others feel the reward for a job well done, but the emotion of gratitude is also a well-known stress killer.
#2 – Take a Nap, Meditate, Watch a Movie (and Other Chillaxation Activities)
When it comes to the usual nine-to-five, it’s entirely possible to shed the office cares on the thirty-minute drive home. However, if we’re talking about a recently executed major event, then you might feel it necessary to cut ties with the outside world for a few hours …especially for hypersensitives and introverts.
If this is the case, then you have every right to give yourself a little ‘cocoon time’. It means shutting that hotel door (with the do not disturb sign properly affixed), taking a long nap, breaking out the yoga mat, meditating, hitting up Netflix, or whatever is necessary for you to recharge those batteries. Especially since you’ve been absorbing the emotional energy and expectations of an auditorium full of attendees all weekend, then there’s a good chance that you’re feeling the urge to keep your own company for a while.
The trick to making this work is to think or do absolutely nothing pertaining to your job, during this battery recharge time. This is specifically why Zen Habits says that when decompressing after a high-stress event, the key is to disconnect from the outside world.
Meaning, your smartphone will serve you better in the ‘off’ position -at least for the next 5 hours of naptime REM goodness!
#1 – Go Home and Celebrate!
As we said before, rewarding and appreciating your achieved goals is a very effective way to ensure that you’ll have the motivation needed for reaching the upcoming ones. The reason why this is the case is because human willpower is a limited resource -and that resource is fed by our personal desires. When your willpower has been drained by accomplishing a major task, such as an event, then you’ll likely need a rather hefty dose of desires satisfied in order to replenish your ‘willpower-tank’ (so to speak).
To get your willpower back to full capacity, perhaps the best way to do this is to celebrate your major accomplishment by acting upon your personal desires …such as… going on vacation, taking your family to the zoo, enjoying a ritzy dinner date with the better half. Whatever your desire might be, now is a great time to reconnect with your life and rediscover why you set goals and have a career in the first place.
Relax, Because You’ve Got Whova
If anything, the reason why celebration is the number-one way to relax after an event is because this pointer reaches beyond the job, and touches upon the personal reasons about why we get out of bed and roll into an empty office parking lot at 6AM.
We find our deepest fulfillment apart from our careers, but it’s because of our careers that we’re able to discover fulfillment. Thus, taking your anticipated week-long vacation that’s scheduled to begin on the Monday after the weekend event …is actually a strong way of ensuring that the next event is yet another wild success, because you’re simply perpetuating the motivational cycle.
However, motivation isn’t the only key to achieving a successful event, because events are beasts of the logistical nature. This is why Whova is uniquely powerful at handling the challenges of networking with attendees and experience engagement, because it simply makes life easy for both the #EventProfs and those attending the event. It’s for this reason that, while you’re sipping on a margarita under the shade of some sun-drenched umbrella, you can relax. Whova can handle the logistics, and you’ve already got the skill of recharging your motivation-batteries down to an artform. This next event is going to your best one yet.
What About You?
But now it’s your turn to sound off! Do you have any unique ways to relax and recharge after a high-stress non-stop event? Do you have any experience with the tips mentioned in this post? If so, then be sure to leave a comment below and talk about your own methods and why you feel that they work for you. For those of us who get wiped out after a big event, your input could make all the difference when we get back to the office.
At least then, we’ll only need one shot of espresso, rather than dealing with the jitters of having two in our Monday morning latte.