Wedding planning is often compared to prepping for a marathon. It is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. So, what does this mean for planners who do this for a living?
Wedding planning burnout is real, and fatigue is a common phenomenon. There are days when you question your career, particularly after five days of grueling events and blisters on your feet that remind you of the 25,000 daily steps you did in heels.
This is a stressful job and, over time, too much stress can lead to mental and physical exhaustion or wedding planning fatigue and even burnout. The question is, what do you do once you get there or better yet, how do you avoid getting there in first place?
Know the Signs
Burnout can appear in different forms for different people. Whether it’s physical tension, poor sleep, anxiety, over-analysis of events, fatigue or feelings of isolation, you know yourself better than anyone. The important thing is to pay attention and listen to your body.
One of the first signs or symptoms is the “meh” mentality. Things that used to bring you joy start to feel like chores. You no longer find passion in creating a stunning table setting, for example. Procrastinating or putting things off could be another telltale sign. Stress can affect sleep patterns and weaken our immune system. If you’re constantly dragging or getting sick often, it might be time to take a step back. Lack of sleep can make you irritable and make it difficult to concentrate. This can lead to lack of confidence in making decisions and guiding your clients. Does any of this sound familiar? Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize that something is off and that you’re not quite yourself. Other areas of your life might be suffering because of this. If any of this resonates with you, here are some tips and advice on how to navigate and combat wedding planning fatigue.
Switch Up Your Routine
Behavioral techniques such as laughing, spending time with a pet and breathing exercises are a few simple ways to prevent stress from developing into full-blown burnout. Other things such as getting enough sleep (the Sleep Foundation recommends seven or more hours), eating well balanced meals, drinking plenty of water and exercising are all helpful tools, too. Make these things unique, exciting and challenging.
A frequent insomniac, I was constantly waking up with a foggy brain, fatigued and cranky. I am one of those people who needs at least seven hours of sleep, but relaxing with a bedtime routine and quieting my mind was always easier said than done. The thought of sleep became stressful and something I dreaded. My entire experience was revolutionized when I discovered the amazing apps that exist to combat insomnia. Perhaps I’m tardy to party with this discovery, but it has been life changing and mind blowing.
The apps range from ones that track your sleep such as ShutEye, which is one of my favorites, to options that will tell you bedtime stories, guide you through meditations or play soothing music. Finding these apps has made falling asleep fun, educational and helpful. I’ve been able to use the data that has been provided by my personal sleep patterns to make adjustments to help me get a deeper sleep. Good Housekeeping put out a detailed list of the best sleep apps to download in 2023, which might be helpful.
Eat Your Veggies
Eating a balanced diet is important, but nutrition doesn’t have to be perfect to be successful. This is an area where I’ve really tried to get creative especially when I’m on the go or traveling. With these tips and tricks, eating healthy has become more of a game than a chore.
When traveling, my number one tip is to plan ahead and pack snacks. Whether it’s a bag of almonds, a granola bar, or a banana, have something that’s easy to carry and quick to eat when those cravings set in.
There are apps for this, too. Food Tripping uses your GPS to help find healthy dining options in close proximity. No excuse to go through a drive through, which can often be tempting. The app is community-driven, which means you’re getting recommendations from locals. Healthy Dining Finder allows you to filter by dietary preference (keto friendly, vegetarian, paleo) across the U.S. Happy Cow will link with vegetarian and vegan restaurants and is great because it works worldwide. It also allows you to save places you want to try.
Take Up a Hobby
While the word planner and workaholic seemingly go hand in hand, it can seem quite literally impossible to think about taking any time off, especially if it’s to do something for yourself. Let’s be honest, though: we can all spare an hour a day. Whether you’re getting up a little earlier in the morning to try a Bikram yoga class or whether you’re taking a jog during your lunch break instead of working through it—do it. Take an art class, learn to knit or do something that brings you outside of your comfort zone. Learning new things and having new experiences get us out of our routines, which can quickly turn into ruts. Learn new things and realize the importance of taking time out a busy day to enjoy them.
Have a Tribe
Whether it’s friends, family, fellow planners or all the above, make sure you have a support system. Sometimes it helps to talk things out or say things out loud. Share your woes with a fellow colleague who can relate or grab your bestie—and a bottle of vino—and decompress. Open up to your significant other about your stressors. Be honest with them about what’s going on and what you need. I recently had someone tell me that “sharing a problem is halving a problem,” and this made so much sense. Lean on those around you. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing; it can be extremely cathartic.
If you find that this isn’t enough or that your tribe isn’t quite giving you what you need, consider setting up a therapy session. You don’t have to experience full burnout mode before seeking out a counselor, in fact, finding one before that point might make all the difference in the world. A therapist can provide an impartial sounding board who might be able to guide you. And, as we’ve established, there’s pretty much an app for everything, therapy being no exception.
Take a Break
In a perfect world, we’d all be able to take a vacation at the drop of a hat. Who wouldn’t want to run off to Maui for the week instead of work on a wedding timeline? That said, while it may not be feasible to hop on a plane to take a breather from your workload, it is feasible to take a day off or take regular breaks during the day.
Breaks come different forms and sizes. Whether this means going for short walk, taking a nap, doing jumping jacks—it’s not so much what you do, it’s making sure that you do it. A longer break doesn’t necessarily mean a better break. Micro-breaks, such as disengaging from work for a few minutes on a regular basis, can be just as effective.
If you need more than just a micro-break, but can’t quite make it to Hawaii, how about skipping town for a couple of days to decompress? A change of scenery can work wonders for the soul. Book a hotel room and recalibrate. Give yourself a work detox.
If you are on extended break such as a vacation, perhaps use this time to reset and reflect on your priorities. Be intentional with your time off. What aspects of your job are stressing you out? What are things you can change? What can’t you change? Altering one’s perspective can be eye opening.
The bottom line is burnout is real and can often feel overwhelming. We’ve all been there. Understanding the signs is key and implementing some of the above strategies might be useful tools in helping navigate it and guide you into a more sustainable work/life balance situation.