“Secure your oxygen mask before helping others.”


Even if you aren’t on an airplane very often, you know it well. Yet, something happens when you step off the plane and into everyday event life. Somehow the meaning behind the instruction gets reversed and before you know it you’re helping everyone else.


Burnout is something that can creep in slowly, without you even realizing it. The oxygen mask metaphor brilliantly uncovers why this is particularly true for hard working event planners, and their desire to serve and to be helpful. In an effort to do all of these things, there is a steep price to pay. Burnout is something that can creep in slowly, without you even realizing it. There is a misconception that taking care of yourself isn’t nice. That somehow depleting yourself while serving the client is virtuous.


Many planners work hard to do their best on behalf of their client, but it’s easy for even the most passionate employees to get overly taxed and burn out. If you’ve burnt out, you’ve learned the hard way that there is no glory, reward or virtue in having your light go out.


Actively learn to start saying no to anything that gets in the way of you putting your oxygen mask on. Here are some strategies you can take to reverse mental and physical exhaustion and ditch the tendencies that led you there.


1. Learn what ‘oxygen’ is to you

Beyond literal air, the personal answer is different for each of us. Spend dedicated time observing what people, places and activities in your life are as vital as the air you breathe and the work you do. What happens to your energy and emotional state of being when you are deprived of them? Write them down and refer to them daily as a reminder.


2. Prioritize your needs before your work day

If your needs have fallen to the bottom of the list, this might be tricky. Try scheduling daily personal appointments to engage in the activities or interact with the people who are vital to your wellbeing. Honor the time you set aside for yourself as you would if you had a meeting with the CEO of your organization.


3. Practice eating with others

“Eating at your desk is unhealthy and isolating, and yet so many workers squeeze in more work by doing just that,” says Dana Campbell, a New York-based career strategy and burnout coach. Campbell suggests building a sense of community in your organization with communal meals or having a separate dedicated dining area. Even having the option available has shown people are more apt to take it.


4. Take a moment for mindfulness

Consider mindfulness breaks during the day. “Offering an option to take a break for mindfulness activities at work can benefit everyone on your team.”  Campbell advises hiring a local yoga studio teacher to use an empty conference room, arrange chairs into a circle, and guide people through techniques. You can allow time for questions and comments at the end. The whole practice typically takes about 30 minutes.