How to Win the Battle of Fatigue at Your Next Event

Event set up day is here.

It’s the time all event managers live for.

Planning is done and it’s on to execution and delivery.

As tired as you are from dealing with the last minute changes and packing up to move on site, you know that the longest of hours are yet to come.

Months, sometimes years of preparation give way to a hectic and often marathon-length set up, followed by long days during the event and then load out.

But you love it!

It’s the time you are at your best. You deftly handle every detail and issue and crazy last minute request…and all with a smile on your face.

There is just one minor detail that sometimes gets in the way.

You were already tired coming into the set up. And the long hours are just starting.

Sometimes, without even realizing it, the fatigue catches up.

It can manifest itself in small ways. Maybe you aren’t quite as patient as you normally are. Or as cheerful with others as you’d like to be. Maybe you even feel headachy lack your typical energy.

None of these are good. Especially on site at your event when you want to be at your best.

Don’t let fatigue ruin your moment or get the better of you.

Plan ahead to win the battle against it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Drink a lot (mostly water)

If you want to wage war on fatigue while you are working an event, this is the best and most important strategy.

Often when we are feeling tired, it is directly related to dehydration.

Drinking water consistently throughout the day (and into the wee small hours) works wonders at helping to keep you alert and strong. Dehydration can cause many symptoms of varying severity including headache, tiredness, dry mouth, lips and eyes, lethargy, weakness and dizziness. All of these can happen without us recognizing dehydration as the cause.

Don’t let it get the better of you. If you start experiencing any of these symptoms sit down for a few minutes and drink a good amount of water. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when it kicks in. And then keep drinking.

Avoid the temptation to drink too much coffee without also drinking water. We all love our coffee for the energy boost but don’t get lulled into thinking you have had enough to drink just because you’ve had a couple of cups of coffee. You would still benefit greatly from drinking lots of water.

Nourish yourself

It can be a challenge to eat properly on site; particularly during load-in. Meals may not be readily available and if they are may be of the fast-food variety.

In addition, you are probably on a tight schedule and taking time to eat may seem like a “nice idea” that’s never going to happen.

That being said, eating something will go a long way to fighting fatigue. Take a few minutes to nourish yourself. There is no prize for starving - and it will probably make you cranky – not what you need on site.

  • Eat small meals or snacks frequently rather than one big meal. This will help keep your energy level consistent. A big meal may make you feel tired.
  • Pack some healthy snacks that you can grab on the go. Fruit, cheese, nuts, protein bars, veggies, yogurt are all great options. (The fruit and veggies will also help with your fluid intake.) A few minutes of planning to have these on hand will pay off in a big way
  • Eat as healthy as possible and for nutrition. Be good to your body. It’s under a lot of stress and needs taking care of. You will be rewarded by feeling and performing at your best.

Take brief breaks

Running an event is an immersive experience. So much so that our ability to remain calm, objective and quick thinking can be challenged.

Just a few brief minutes of quiet time can go a long way to keeping you on an even keel and on top of your game. This is especially important if things are frantic.

It sounds counter-intuitive but give it a try. This isn’t about walking away for an hour or even a half an hour. Literally just a few minutes can have a surprising effect on your focus.

  • Put in the earbuds and listen to your favourite tune that inspires, relaxes or gets your energy up.
  • Get some fresh air. Breath deeply for a few minutes. Venues can be dark and the air stale and drying. A quick trip outside can be very restorative.
  • Walk briskly for 2 minutes. Often times there can be a lot of standing around as set up occurs. A quick walk will get the blood flowing and leave you feeling energized.
  • Stretch. It helps relieve stress and tension and relaxes your muscles.


Symptoms of fatigue are not always obvious. Watch for the small signs or better still stay ahead of it by drinking lots, eating well and keeping your frame of mind fresh.

You’ll enjoy your time on site so much more. And be an unstoppable event manager in the process!


Post by Margaret Johnston,

As a career event professional, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.


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