An event may happen only once, but making it happen takes quite a lot of hours. That’s why it’s so important for those in our industry to practice self-care in lasting ways that help them come back to work refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the day.
Self-care is a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, it’s as simple as regular manis/pedis and massages. For others, it’s a big-picture issue of finding a sustainable and nurturing work/life balance and being able to stay mindful in the moment. Basically, it’s as micro or as macro as you need it to be.
Red Velvet Events (RVE) founder and CEO Cindy Y. Lo – who literally wrote the book on creating a successful event planning and creative agency – gets asked about self-care a lot, which is what inspired this blog post. “In my book, I discuss how I practice effective self-care quite a bit,” she says. “It’s really up to you as an individual, because finding balance is relative. But to summarize what it means for me: It’s about maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with my husband and kids, and surrounding myself with supportive people. My husband Scott is fantastic about balancing me out, which is a key part of why our relationship works so well. Plus, we strive to keep things organized and on a schedule – we add every family event, from sports practice to date night, into a calendar so we don’t miss anything. That really helps me manage stress and lets me feel like we’re making the most of our family time.”
Since developing a good self-care plan is such an individual process, we asked additional RVE staff members how they take care of themselves. Below are answers from Morgan Wolan and Sarah Y. Lo. We really appreciate how they took time out of their busy schedules to respond!
Event planning and creative agency work can be very time-consuming, and it’s so important to recharge and take time for yourself. What are your time-tested, favorite ways to practice self-care?
Morgan: Event planning and creative agency work requires you to be “on.” You need to be problem-solving and focused on your clients while also usually multitasking for various deadlines. I have found the best take on self-care is to make it a practice and part of your daily life. If it’s one more task at the end of your long to-do list, it no longer serves as self-care.
Personally, I have found the most success at this when I factor stillness and time to slow down into my weekly schedule. Hiking with my dog at the greenbelt is my go-to self-care activity. The escape from technology outdoors acts as a calming reminder to slow down my busy thoughts and be present. I also spend small, still moments in the morning to focus on what I am grateful for. Especially on the busy days, I believe that time has a large impact on a successful and productive workday.
Sarah: I will be honest – it is continuously a challenge, even to this day, to ensure that I practice self-care. I tried to fit everything into an 8 to 5 mold; and when it didn’t fit, I was disappointed with myself and ratcheted up the pressure to accomplish more in less time. I knew that in order for me to fully embrace any sort of self-care, I had to approach from a holistic standpoint first rather than reactive each time.
I started with redefining “work/life balance.” When I redefined my day, it was more about work/life satisfaction and embracing the fact that when I love what I do and feel good about what I accomplished, the pressure to do more in less time lessened, along with the stress of it.
But there was more to self-care than redefining it. I had to understand what steps to take and questions to ask myself to live this new redefined life philosophy. I started by practicing mental awareness and asking myself, “Is it really as bad as it seems?” I reminded myself that we are not brain surgeons and a life is not on the line with our work. Next, I had to stop feeling guilty or bad when I practiced self-care, especially when I knew my obligations were met already.
Most importantly, I strive to be 100% in the moment when I am not working, so I can fully enjoy the moment, what I’m doing, and who I am spending it with. It’s not fair to my loved ones and me if I am mentally elsewhere, stressing about things that I can’t immediately control or address.
And I don’t forget to sleep. The body and the mind need to recharge.