Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands of your career and personal life. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.
Burnout reduces your productivity and zaps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. I’ve witnessed many event professionals who have become burned out at some point in their career including myself.
Here are seven strategies to recover from career burnout:
1) Time heals all wounds
There was a time when I was so burned out from my wedding planning career, that I seriously thought about quitting. I had a few incredibly difficult clients along with working on a few more weddings than I should have. After a short vacation and a 3-4 weeks of easy office work, I found that I started feeling less overwhelmed and was actually enjoying my job again. I also took the time to set boundaries for the future so that I didn’t end up in the same situation again. I decided never to work with anyone who gives me a headache or stomach ache. Life is just too short for that.
2) Analyze what you love and hate about your business then get rid of your dirty work
Hire someone to do the work that bores you, whether it be paperwork or number crunching. It’s likely you can find someone who’s thrilled by the work that makes you want to rip your hair out. No money to hire someone? Perhaps you can delegate it to someone on your team or to an intern. Find ways to spend your time doing the work that excites and challenges you.
3) Look for a new challenge
There are always new design ideas, new markets to enter, new planning software to explore, new industry friends to make, new revenue streams to analyze, and new services to offer. While there is enough to do just maintaining the day-to-day operations and handling administrative tasks, keep your eyes on what’s next and beyond for your event planning business.
4) Get educated on something new
Attend a wedding industry conference, take a floral design class, learn cake decorating, take an online class about interior design, or order the latest marketing book. Get yourself a breath of fresh air and learn new skills that will get you excited about your business again.
5) Promote your work
Burnout can stem as much from a lack of appreciation as it does from dealing with ever-changing budgets and crazy clients. A potential remedy for this situation is to promote your work. Wedding and event planners can suffer from a lack of appreciation because so many brides and clients don’t understand how hard we work and how much emotional connection we have with our work.
We have to work hard to make our talent known and show what we can do. Some ideas you can do include updating your blog with your latest work, add new photos to your Facebook page, Pin images from a recent wedding, submit your best wedding to a popular wedding blog, submit an event for an award, and update your portfolio.
6) Remember why you wanted to become a wedding planner
Recalling why you embarked on an event planning career may give you perspective on why you love the field so much and why it is worth putting up with the daily grind. When I was feeling burned out, I had to remind myself that I loved the relationships I had with my good clients, thrived on running a successful planning business, and loved the lifestyle of a wedding planner. You may have to dig deep if you have been in business a long time.
7) Take care of yourself
When we are accustomed to putting other people’s needs first, we often neglect ourselves. Start adopting healthier eating habits, make time for regular exercise and get to bed earlier. When you eat right, exercise and get enough sleep, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands. Other ways to relieve stress and recover from burnout include taking yoga, writing daily in a journal, reading inspirational books, and meditating.
If these strategies for dealing with burnout don’t improve your feelings about your event planning career, it may be time for a vacation or, if possible, a longer sabbatical. It might also be time for a new job or even a new career. Have you ever felt burned out by your business or career? Share your story in the comments!