Self-Care For Show Managers

The act of taking time to care for yourself, known as self-care, is an important practice that is essential to well being.

It’s deliberately setting time aside out of your busy schedule to focus on your needs.  

It sounds refreshing.  It also sounds elusive.  

With your schedule as a Show Manager, you might already feel like sticking to a routine during a normal work week is akin to performing a juggling act.  Following a routine, while on the road for a trade show, can be a downright struggle.

And it’s real.

So, how do you keep up with the endless demands of your job, while away from home, and still maintain a sense of self?

It goes back to that d-word I mentioned above.  Deliberate. You have to consciously choose to take time for yourself, even if it’s only a few minutes at a time.

Burn-out is no fun.  And that’s what you’ll face if you continue to go, go, go, twenty-four-seven, without taking a time-out for yourself.  

Here are a few tips to practicing self-care while on the road.  You’ll thank yourself for it.

Breathe and Focus

Breathing is crucial to our existence, but did you know that you can breathe in a way that can help improve your mood?  This is what is known as mindful breathing and it’s a strategy that is designed to take your level of stress down a notch.  All you need to do is focus on taking a deep breath and then releasing it slowly. Shallow breathing can make you feel anxious.  Taking deep breaths can help decrease tension and encourage stabilization.

There are apps designed to help you take a break and practice purposeful breathing.  Apple watch has a feature called calm session that is designed to help you refocus, breathe, and clear your mind of stressful thoughts.  Headspace is another good app for short meditation sessions.

Happy Feet

Happy feet are comfortable feet, and when you are walking around twelve plus hours a day on hard concrete floors, sensible shoes are a must.  I know it’s tempting to wear those super stylish shoes that match your equally smart outfit but trust me, it’s not worth it.

After a few hours, your feet will be begging you for some comfortable shoes.  Don’t skimp on comfortable shoes. Buy a good quality pair that you can rely on for support and durability.  

Get In The Zone

Some shows have a space designated for relaxing and recharging.  Attendees and exhibitors are encouraged to use this area to freshen up with beverages like fruit infused fancy water and relax with those coveted massage chairs. You should take full advantage of this relaxation zone, even if it’s just a short break to sit on a comfortable sofa, while you charge up your phone at the electronic charging station.  No one is going to judge you.

In Defense Of Healthy Food

As tempting as it might be to grab convenience food, try to resist.  The best way to ensure that you aren’t grabbing whatever processed food is readily available is to plan in advance.  It takes some effort, but it will help stave off hunger until you can get a meal that isn’t from a concession stand.

Some healthy snacks to keep on hand include almonds, fruit, and protein bars, like Epic or Kind.  Your diet doesn’t need to suffer because you aren’t at home. Bring a reusable bottle of water to stay hydrated throughout the show.  If you plan on attending any parties, stay away from the booze.

Work Out

Working out while on a business trip can be one of the hardest things to be deliberate about.  Whether it’s jet lag or exhaustion from the trip, it’s easy to let exercise fall by the wayside.  While it can be hard to be motivated to work out, once you start moving it will provide you with energy to start your day.  Even if it’s only twenty minutes in the morning, it’s enough to help you stay on track. And most likely your hotel has a gym, so no excuses.

A Dash Of Pampering

*Gasp* is that allowed?  Yes, yes it is. And you have permission to not feel guilty about it.  I do not suggest playing hooky to go to a day spa.  But I do recommend squeezing in a quick hand massage or manicure at a local beauty school.  Students get school credit and you get a discount. Win, win.

Using essential oils are another easy and inexpensive way to help you feel relaxed or energized.  Choose lavender or bergamot for stress relief or one that will give you a boost in energy, like peppermint or grapefruit.  Simply dab some on a bracelet or necklace that is meant for diffusing oils and you can breathe in the aroma all day.

Routine, Routine, Routine

Whatever you do as part of your regular routine, try your best to maintain it on the road.  It helps you maintain sanity and can help you feel more in control. Anything you can do to manage your stress level, do it!  If the first thing you do when you wake up is to drink an herbal tea and do yoga, then don’t stop. Whatever you can do to normalize the atypical, the better.

Let It Go

You can only control what you can.  Let go of what you can’t. It’s the most freeing thing you can do for yourself.