You’ve been planning your big event for weeks and now here you are, the day before, fraught with nervous anticipation and excitement!
Are you fretting you’ve forgotten something? Feeling hyped up and worried you won’t be able to sleep tonight? It can be hard to relax when so much is at stake. Learning how to prepare for an event mentally is an art in itself.
To calm your body and mind, follow the 10 steps below and make sure you don’t just pull off a great event but that you actually get to enjoy it too!
The 10 Steps to Prepare for an Event
Step 1 – Be Organised
Having confidence that everything is in order is the number one way to keep nerves under control before an event. This means double-checking all the important details, gathering and organising paperwork and making lists to ensure nothing is forgotten.
Stationary is your best friend! Files, folders, highlighters and Post-It notes will help you to stay on top of proceedings and enable you to immediately call to hand any information you might need on the day. Being as organisationally prepared as possible will give you great peace of mind.
Step 2 – Feel Supported
Knowing that you’re not in it alone can work wonders for soothing anxiety. Meet with your team the day before your event to run through the schedule and all the tasks that have to be undertaken. The support of your team acts as a mental safety net – you can relax if you know they’ll be there to catch you if you fall.
If you have anything niggling away at you, air your concerns now. Even if it’s a risk that can’t be mitigated, like you’re worried about your choice of speaker, talking about things usually helps. Your colleagues will be able to give you a pep talk that helps you have faith in your decisions.
Step 3 – Equip Yourself
You wouldn’t go into battle without any weaponry, so prepare a kit that will make you feel well-equipped for your big event day. Items that can turn out to be lifesavers include charging leads, adapters, back-up batteries, ethernet cables, plasters, painkillers and a sewing kit.
Think too about items you might need while setting up, like scissors, duct tape, Blu Tack and a marker pen. And don’t forget about the essentials you need to put your best face forward like a brush, mirror, deodorant, chewing gum, tissues, wet wipes and emergency change of shoes and clothes. Snacks and water are also important since you might not get time to stop for sustenance.
Step 4 – Focus Your Mind
Positive visualisation can be an amazingly powerful tool and totally change your mindset when negativity encroaches. Set aside around 10 minutes to do it, sit or lie down and close your eyes. Now picture yourself successfully running your event, visualising each step, from the moment you get up in the morning, to when you go to bed at night.
Really try to experience each element; see the sights, smell the smells and hear the sounds. Give people imaginary dialogue so it becomes like a movie in your mind – and remember, you’re the director so it can play out exactly how you want it to. You will be surprised by how buoyed you feel after this exercise.
Step 5 – Skip Coffee and Alcohol
When we feel stressed or nervous it’s very common to crave a strong coffee or a big glass of wine. However, with both of these being stimulants, neither are a good choice to calm an already-excited central nervous system.
Not only will they interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep, which is so important, they will also leave you in a slump when the stimulating effects wear off. And because they’re diuretics, you’ll start your big day dehydrated and possibly with a headache. Stick to water and herbal teas instead.
Step 6 – Have a Nourishing Supper
Event days are notoriously hectic so it’s likely you’ll end up eating late, grabbing something on the go, or skipping meals altogether. Prepare yourself by eating well the day before. Choose an evening meal that’s easily digestible so you don’t end up feeling bloated and sluggish.
Something packed with plenty of veg and protein, like chicken and ratatouille would be ideal – make a batch in advance so you don’t have to worry about cooking the night before your event, or the day after. Don’t neglect to eat breakfast either. While you might not feel hungry, it’s important to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Step 7 – Soak in the Bath
Yes, it’s a cliche but a nice hot bath really does help you to relax. Light some candles, put on your favourite music, pour in that aromatic bath oil – it’s all about making a bit of time for you. An indulgent bath can also be the ideal time to practice the positive visualisation detailed in step four.
Not only is a bath therapeutic for your mind, the hot water relaxes your muscles making it easier for you to drift off to sleep once you get into bed. Don’t forget to lay out your clothes for the next day so you can save time and stress in the morning.
Step 8 – Read a Book
If an overactive mind threatens to keep you awake, don’t just lie there. Keep a pen and pad next to your bed so you can write down anything that comes to you and get it off your mind. If you still can’t switch your head off, read a book to distract yourself from your thoughts until you feel properly sleepy.
This process can take a while so it’s a good idea to try – if you can – to go to bed reasonably early. If you can’t get to sleep immediately and it’s after midnight, you’ll feel stressed about your early alarm call – in turn this will make it harder for you to get to sleep.
Step 9 – Centre Yourself
Your day is going to be an exceptionally busy one. Although you need to hit the ground running, try to factor in 15 minutes first thing to enjoy a peaceful moment of calm in order to mentally prepare yourself for the day.
A little yoga, stretching or meditation can get your day off on the right foot. If you’re feeling anxious, reciting some positive mantras out loud can help trick your brain. Try statements like, “This is going to be a great event”, “I feel really positive about today” and “I feel fantastic this morning.” Your family might think you’ve gone mad but you’ll feel much better!
Step 10 – Breathe and be Grateful
While you’re bound to be pulled from pillar to post during your event day, whenever you get a second, take that moment to stand still, look around and just breathe. Take in the scene around you – how are people interacting with your event and each other? Look at the expressions on their faces. Are they having a good time?
It’s easy to think that because you’re stressed and under pressure, the guests are feeling that too. Or that they’re noticing every little problem you’ve noticed, but nine times out of 10 that’s simply not the case; they’re too busy having fun to see any of it. So instead of picking out problems, mentally file the positives and express gratitude for them. This technique will leave you with some great memories of the day.
After all the work that’s gone into your big event, you want to enjoy it. Don’t let the day rush by in a haze of delegate badges and time checks. By including mental preparation in your pre-event schedule you’ll be as cool as a cucumber and able to make the most of your experience.