At this point, I think I have exhibited at about 10 trade shows in the last few years for my family’s company. While I always enjoy seeing what is new in the industry and talking with those that are so passionate about what they do I have definitely felt post-show burnout many many times.
When you are on your feet for 12+ hours running around, connecting, and presenting it wears you out. There is pressure. You are there to represent your industry, your company has probably invested a lot to be there, and you might even be trying to stand out from competitors. It is a lot.
With this pressure and exhaustion, it is easy to start letting go of the things we normally do to help us feel good. Burnout happens when stop doing what makes us feel good. By making space for these things and advocating for yourself you will be able to get through the trade show with much more energy, focus, and enjoyment. And also be less exhausted by the end.
6 Secrets to Preventing Burnout at a Trade Show
1. Don’t skip your morning routine
I know it is tempting to sleep until the last second when you are already exhausted, but believe me, you will have a lot more energy if keep up your morning routine. This will help ground you before a busy day. You will be in a better mindset to take on challenges, key conversations, and big opportunities.
My morning routine includes doing my skincare routine, making my bed, doing mindset work, eating breakfast, and then getting dressed for the day. I always do these tasks in the same order. It helps me get in my body so I can focus and perform at my best.
2. Advocate for yourself
When there is already a lot happening and a lot expected of you it can get easy to start skipping the important things. Don’t “take one for the team” by skipping lunch, breaks, or other personal needs. These are vital not only to your own well-being but to the company you are representing. When these valid needs are met you are a better listener, a better communicator, and a better teammate.
3. Wrap yourself in love if you make a mistake
If you are prone to burnout you are probably a perfectionist. But guess what… you are a human. Perfectly imperfect. And mistakes happen!
If you make a mistake here is what I would advise doing so you don’t emotionally deplete yourself. Since it might be hard to find the time and space to process and feel out what may have just happened begin by telling yourself “I honor these feelings.” This way you will be giving yourself permission to feel these feelings. Remember avoiding and repressing feelings only makes them worse.
Then when you do have a moment to yourself in private pinpoint where this feeling of being hard on yourself comes from. Then let yourself feel those feelings. Laugh, cry, punch a pillow, whatever you feel is okay. Doing this will help you release those negative thoughts and feelings. You’ll be able to move forward lighter and freer.
4. Keep the energy moving physically
Having the same conversation a gazillion times can be exhausting and it is easy to get stiff and tense.
Before you start your day at the trade show do some kind of exercise. It can be some yoga, a quick run around the block, or even a quick workout at the hotel gym. This will help get the blood moving and get you in your body so you are not just in your head.
Be sure to find moments throughout the day to get the blood moving again. This could be done by doing a few light stretches when you go to the bathroom or even a short walk outside of the show center.
One major thing I learned as an actress was how much we hold our breath without realizing it. We get put in a pressured and nerve-wracking situation and we get tense. Without even realizing it we practically hold our breath because it feels safer. Like we are less physically present somehow so that makes us feel safer.
Be conscious of your breathing. Make sure you are taking low deep breaths and not just shallow breaths. When you breathe think of breathing into your lower abdomen, lower back, and into your rib cage front and back.
Conscious deep breaths will help you relax and feel all around better.
6. Don’t be afraid to embrace your femininity
There is so much stigma around professionalism being masculine. Being that the trade shows I attend are very very heavily male-dominated I feel this. When I get insecure my femininity, which I so strongly love and embrace, starts to head out the door.
Remember feminine does not mean a lack of intelligence or ability. And when I say feminine I don’t mean pink frilly skirts and dresses. I mean the practice of doing what makes you feel good. That is what feminine energy is. Masculine energy is about hustling.
Speak in a way that feels good. Dress in a way that feels good. Present yourself in a way that feels good.
And you know what…? If someone doubts your abilities becuase you are being true to yourself it is less a reflection of you and more of them. If you ever feel dismissed for being yourself do your best to send love and healing to that person.
It is okay if you still need some time to recover after
It took me a long time to learn to advocate for myself and embrace myself at these trade shows. It is so easy for these experiences to totally deplete you mentally and emotionally (even physically if you are on your feet all day).
If you are going to a trade show soon and want help with anything I’ve suggested I’d love to hear from you. Heck, even if you aren’t going to a trade show and want to work on anything I suggested I’d love to hear from you. You can book a free Discovery Call here.