Feeling exhausted and on the brink of burnout? You’re not alone. Many event professionals are experiencing the effects of the post-shutdown wedding boom, with little energy to spare (and a schedule that never seems to settle down).
When you’re always in go-mode, it can be hard to identify when you’ve reached your limit. After all, a midday nap is justified after a busy weekend of events! But if your energy levels remain low and you feel zapped of motivation, it’s time to look under the hood and see what’s holding you back.
Here are four signs of burnout to take seriously, as well as how to pull yourself out and regain your footing as a competent, successful event professional.
1. You’re making more mistakes than usual.
We’re all humans who make mistakes, so a missed email here or there is normal. But if you’re noticing an increase in slipups, it’s a good sign that you need to take a break and recharge your batteries. Think of yourself like a computer: If you run it for weeks (or months!) on end without shutting it down, it’s inevitably going to run slower and start causing problems. Give yourself permission to “unplug” and decompress so you can return to your work feeling fresh and capable after a hard restart.
2. You don’t get excited by the creative work.
When you’re in the throes of burnout, it can feel like nothing sparks your internal flames. What once filled you with passion starts to feel overwhelming and much less fun than another episode of your favorite TV series. In most cases, it’s not that you don’t enjoy the creative work—rather, you just need a change of scenery. It’s like eating your favorite food every day: Yes, it’s delicious–but can someone change up the menu, please? After a while, you start dreading the same-old, same-old.
3. You feel irritable (and others are starting to notice).
Overwhelm has a way of testing our emotional control in every situation, not just where it started. So what begins as an overly-demanding client can quickly turn into arguments with the kids or a few choice words for the driver who cut you off on the way home. If you’re constantly feeling on edge and ready to snap at minor inconveniences, it’s time to reset and focus on recalibrating your priorities with your energy levels.
4. You’re scrolling through job listings.
Burnout has a way of turning doubts into regrets, which may have you rethinking your entire career path. “Maybe I’m just not cut out for this job.” Or perhaps, “Why did I ever decide to start a business?” But before deciding to overhaul your career, step back and give your brain a chance to rest. While imposter syndrome may always be present, you’re far better equipped to ignore fear and insecurity when you’re feeling recharged and confident in your skills.
If those signs had you raising your hand and nodding your head, let’s look at a few solutions to revitalize your creative energy and get back to a place of positivity.
Reflect on what boundaries mean to you.
We hear it all the time: Setting boundaries is a vital part of self-care. Yet nobody ever tells you where to draw the line or how to reinforce it! That’s because boundaries are very personal, and only you can decide what you’re OK with (and what you’re not). Your business bestie may be fine taking evening calls, but you have every right to put your foot down and say no! Sit with yourself and write down your non-negotiables, both in personal and professional relationships. Then, put them into action and don’t back down!
Build a schedule for you—and nobody else.
When it seems like your entire network is hustling during the standard 9-to-5 workday, it may seem like you have to show up during those hours just like everyone else. News flash: You don’t. As a business owner, you set all the rules. If you’re at peak creativity from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., lean into it! If you have kids to shuttle from school to practice, take the time off! Find a schedule that lets you be your best self at every moment of the day, rather than forcing yourself to fit into a mold that doesn’t fit your needs.
Get your workspace into shape.
Whether you work from home or in an office, there’s nothing less motivating than piles of clutter. If the energy feels stale, you’re not going to feel creative. So instead of sitting down for something you don’t want to do, spend time cleaning your office space. File away paperwork, scrub that coffee stain away, alphabetize the bookshelf—do whatever you need to create a space that flows! While you’re at it, clean up your desktop and organize your phone’s home screen. Digital clutter is just as discouraging as a physical mess, so you’ll feel much more at ease and productive once you’ve tamed the chaos.
All of this to say: When you’re feeling burnt out, put yourself first in every way. Yes, even before the business—because a business needs a leader who is inspired and ready to take action. Work-life balance is a myth and nobody is getting it right, so allow yourself grace and flexibility as you navigate through the seasonality of life!