Wellness is trending in the Meeting and Event Industry, and we can all understand why. Attendee and planner burnout is prevalent now more than ever. Events can be stressful for planners and attendees, especially coming out of a grueling pandemic. The pandemic led many people to take a deeper look at their daily health habits, creating high demand for wellness elements as we welcome live meetings and events back. Attention on mental health is no longer a “nice to have” at your meeting, but a must. You may wonder where to begin with incorporating wellness into your next meeting or event, so we created this list to get you started.
- Choose a Venue That Prioritizes Wellness
Venues are on top of this trend along with attendees and planners. Selecting a venue that prioritizes wellness will make your job that much easier. For example, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants recently announced their partnership with Talkspace, a leading online behavioral health company, to offer mental health services to guests and employees across the country. This partnership offers up to 1,000 complimentary video therapy sessions with licensed counselors to any guest over the age of 18 staying at one of Kimpton's 60+ participating properties.
"We know that travelers are facing more stress and anxiety than ever before, and employees in the hospitality industry have been pushed to the limit during the pandemic," said Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. "We take our commitment to heartfelt hospitality seriously, and we are proud that our Talkspace partnership gives us an opportunity to bring our Stay Human ethos to life while providing more mental health support for our people and our guests."
- Organize Wellness Activities
Yoga sessions, mediation, breathing exercises – activity options are endless. Yoga and meditation have been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, inflammation, depression, promote sleep quality, and improve overall quality of life. Wellness activities and experiences will vary depending on your group and whether your meeting is live or virtual but strive for in-person activities where you can. Something we discovered during the pandemic – mental health and human connection go hand-in-hand. Working from home and attending solely virtual meetings has pushed professionals even further into an isolated siloed lifestyle. Wellness activities promote human connection, creating an environment for togetherness and positive energy. The goal here is to foster meaningful and lasting experiences for your attendees.
- Outdoor Sessions
We all know the feeling that the “afternoon slump” brings – tiredness or brain fog that causes decreased energy or lack-of-focus. A great way to combat this is fresh air and movement! Get your attendees outside if weather permits. Allow your attendees to bask in the sun. The sun is your best source of Vitamin D after all. Maintaining proper Vitamin D levels lowers chances of depression, protects against disease, optimizes physical performance, and improves mental health. The relaxed setting of an outdoor breakout will likely increase participation levels as well. Incredible things happen when attendees are in a comfortable environment. Read more on how to energize attendees here.
- Incorporate Screen-Free Zones
The world needs more screen-free zones. Excessive screen time is reported to be associated with a range of negative mental health outcomes such as psychological problems, low emotional stability, and greater risk for depression or anxiety, according to research. Not only do screen-free zones promote human connection and networking, but they also increase information retention. Studies on screen time and the presence of technology like a cell phone or a laptop have shown to decrease attendees’ long-term retention of information. Further, the very presence of a phone – even if it's turned off – can sometimes reduce mental capacity.
- Pay Attention to Your Internal Team
We can’t forget about the people that make your meeting or event possible. Event Planner and Coordinator is frequently listed as one of the most stressful careers in America. Working with tight deadlines and budgets coming out of the pandemic, it’s important to promote healthy boundaries for your team to avoid burnout. It is worth it to invest in resources for your employees like therapy sessions, mental health training, and the promotion of self-guided tools and apps. Meeting Professionals International has an excellent wellbeing resource section with various apps, podcasts and more here.